Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Although only a month since we last gathered beneath the trees for a cuppa, there was so much to talk about that at first, we had trouble restraining ourselves to just one conversation! All of us were there again — Glenys Ferguson, Gregory Piko, Kathy Kituai, Hazel Hall, Marietta McGregor and Jan Dobb. And there again, with their lively conversations, were the magpies and cockatoos.

On request, Hazel had brought some copies of her recently launched book of tanka Moonrise over the siding, including artwork by Robert Tingey and some shared writing with other poets. Another treasure from Hazel to inspire our journeys into human depths.

Inspiration, however, was already running rather high! Earlier, Marietta had circulated a link to ‘Golden Haiku‘, the results of an online Golden Triangle contest. The quality of this collection took our breath away. We could only marvel at the sheer beauty, lightness and intricacy of these haiku! Some of us had scribbled samples to share with the group, though admitting it seemed impossible to isolate just a few. (Congrats to Marietta for being in there.)

Greg had brought some examples of Janice Bostok’s work from her book Amongst the Graffiti: collected haiku and senryu 1972 to 2002. This fuelled an animated discussion about such things as the evolution of Aussie haiku and the influence of global writers.

As the afternoon ticked on and the magpies and cockatoos added their bit (sometimes quite literally!), non-stop haiku talk crisscrossed the old wooden table. As always, thoughts were shared, opinions pondered, questions posed, information proffered. Kathy was asked about cattails editing, we discussed the temptations of quality/quantity, books were recommended, meditation considered, contests brought to attention, use of the first person was once again raised . . . Coffee-and-haiku is refreshingly open-ended; there’s always a next time to develop something further. Such is the joy of sharing haiku at The Oaks.

Jan Dobb

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