Welcome to our February Newsletter. Thank you once again to all who sent in items of interest to share. Can you believe it, March already! We are approaching the Autumn Equinox occurring for us on the 21st of March. We are in the process of planning a Haiku String open to poets around the world. Stay tuned for further information.
Triveni World Haiku Utsav / Festival 2019
Report by Madhuri Pillai
There was something quite magical about the gathering of haiku lovers under the spreading shade of ancient banyan trees for the Triveni World Haiku Utsav /Festival. Held in the grounds of the International Centre on the campus of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) the festival unfolded over three days in an exuberance of haiku, tanka and haibun from the 1st to the 3rd of February.
After the traditional lighting of the lamp a minute of silence was observed in memory of Angelee Deodhar.
Kala Ramesh gave a brief welcome speech. We were honoured to have in our midst Susumu Takiguchi, who gave the Keynote address. He along with Dr Ashok Chaskar head of the English Department (SPPU), Vijay Khare, Director of International Centre and Kala Ramesh and Rohini Gupta, both editors of World Haiku Review, launched the eAnthology of World Haiku Review Fuga No Makoto, comprising the best of 25 issues from 2008 to 2018.
Photo by Shishu Pal
The Utsav included many interesting and enjoyable activities; here are a few of my highlights.
Haiku Charades was a concept devised by Kala Ramesh, where an artist mimed one of four haiku sequences (shown to the audience prior to the performance) as the audience attempted to guess the relevant haiku. Credit was duly given to the skill of the artiste, brilliantly performed by Padma Damodaran.
The Ginko walk through the newly opened secret tunnel in Savitribai Phule Pune University was something special. Our walk also along the Forest Bathing Path in Alice Gardens of the University was most memorable. Shinrin Yoku literally translates to Forest Bathing. Susumu Takiguchi explained the benefits of bathing in the forest air, breathing in the therapeutic aromas of phytoncides (essential oils given off by the surrounding trees) resulting in feelings of wellbeing. This was the first Forest Bathing Path in the country inaugurated at the University as part of the Triveni World Haiku Utsav.
Interestingly, Alice Gardens has an Australian connection. Named after Alice Richman, born in Melrose South Australia in 1856 and spending her teenage years in England. While visiting her uncle Sir James Fergusson (Governor of Bombay) along with his wife, she fell victim to cholera in 1886 and was buried in the gardens of the University. In his ‘Date with Alice’ talk at the gravesite, Prof Amit Ranjan of Delhi University spoke of his curiosity on first learning of Alice’s grave. It took ten years of research including journeys to Australia and England to piece the story together.
A pleasant surprise awaited our arrival at the Alice Gardens. Schoolgirls from St. Anne’s performed a flash dance routine which after our long tiring walk was invigorating.
A live kukai was conducted by Susumu Takiguchi according to Japanese traditions. Susumu Takiguchi also moderated a lively discussion on kigo, encouraging us to reflect on the place of kigo in haiku.
A SLAM competition with a twist was also among my highlights, in which competitors recited haiku, tanka or haibun from memory, for a full minute in the first round and then two minutes in the second, this proved to be a lot of fun. Again this was Kala’s innovation. The judges Chandrakant Radican, Nandini Nair and Kala Ramesh had the unenviable task of selecting a winner. Congratulations went to Akila Gopalakrishnan.
Workshops on haiku, tanka and haibun were conducted concurrently on the last day. Along with Kala Ramesh, I had the pleasure of mentoring school and university students on haiku. When Kala asked me I agreed with trepidation, it was my first at mentoring, which to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed. I was amazed at how quickly the young minds grasped the essentials of haiku. It was a learning experience for teacher and students!
As we neared the end of the Utsav, Susumu Takiguchi announced the winner of the R.H Blyth Haiku Award. Congratulations to Eufemia Griffo of Italy with:
the lost time
of another life
After a vote of thanks by Pranav Kodial it was time to say goodbye with promises to meet again, God willing.
The Utsav was organised as an eco-friendly event. Leaf plates, paper cups and steel cutlery were used and delicious vegetarian food was available throughout.
The festival was held in collaboration with The International Centre and the Department of English for Savitribai Phule Pune University, conceptualised and organised by Kala Ramesh. Members of the Indian Haiku Group helped with funds along with two other sponsors, Shut Up & Read and the Bank of Baroda.
My lingering memory of the Utsav are of the roots of ancient banyan trees, entwining, rambling, seeking, laying fresh roots and supporting each other, much like the haiku fraternity of the world.
Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group Presents
An introduction to Haiku
what are they
why we write them
Saturday 6 April, from 12:30 – 2:30 pm
Box Factory Upstairs
59 Regent Street South, Adelaide
The haiku is an ancient Japanese poetry form, but it is as relevant today as it has always been. Western poets have adopted and adapted the form to suit contemporary tastes, and the fact that the form continues to evolve in Japan is, paradoxically, entirely in keeping with tradition.
Bindii member Julia Wakefield will give a brief introduction to the combined complexity and simplicity of the haiku form. After a short break, there will be a series of group exercises that focus on composing haiku.
To book, contact Julia at Julia.email@example.com or call 0433975590
Groups and Gatherings
You can catch up on the latest reports from the following groups here
Naviar Music Challenge
For the last 5 years, Naviar Records have been running a project called Naviar Haiku, an online challenge which invites musicians to make music inspired by a weekly-assigned haiku in seven days. So far, over 3000 compositions have been submitted to this project. You can find out more about the Haiku challenge here and all the poems we’ve showcased so far are here.
Beginning in 2019 we have started a collaboration with The Haiku Foundation drawing on some of the poems published on THF Per Diem to inspire musical compositions made by Naviar’s community.
February’s features included the following haiku by Madhuri Pillai, Lorin Ford and Simon Hanson accompanied by music from a number of talented international musicians.
Music inspired by Madhuri Pillai’s haiku here
Music inspired by Lorin Ford’s haiku here
Music inspired by Simon Hanson’s haiku here
The Haiku Foundation re:Virals
Lorin Ford’s fascinating commentary has been selected for The Haiku Foundation’s re:Virals on the following haiku by Matsuo Basho.
Almost as high
As the crumbled statue,
The heated air shimmering
From the stone foundation.
— Matsuo Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, (trans. Nobuyuki Yuasa, 1966).
World Haiku Poetry Contest
Congratulations to Gregory Piko for an Honourable mention in the World Haiku Poetry Contest hosted by Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine with:
across the field
All selected haiku can be accessed here on the Lyrical Passion website.
Heron’s Nest Readers’ Choice Awards
Congratulations to all who had work nominated in the Heron’s Nest Readers’ Choice Awards 2018. Among them Madhuri Pillai was First Runner-up with:
I leave my voice
in every street
Madhuri Pillai (September Issue)
Ron C. Moss was listed among Other Highly Rated Poems with:
ocean of stars
the ancient humpback
Ron C. Moss (June Issue)
Martin Lucas Haiku Award 2018
Among the fine haiku awarded for the Martin Lucas Haiku Award Judged by Sandra Simpson, Ron C. Moss was Commended with:
pieces of whale bone
Ron C. Moss
You can read all the selected haiku along with Sandra’s insightful commentary here.
Members’ News compiled by Simon Hanson