Paperbark Haiku Winter Ginko and Haiku Gathering

The Paperbark Haiku group met on the 26th June 2019 at the Dome Café (meeting room) in Maylands, Perth Western Australia for its Winter Ginko on a blustery day, the harbinger of approaching storms.

The early part of the meeting revolved around a discussion that debated the “Essence of Haiku”. Using a number of publications, including Blithe Spirit, Frogpond,  the British Haiku Society Anthology Wild, Third Australian Haiku Anthology, Spinifex by Beverley George and Walking The Tideline by Lyn Reeves, each participant chose a published haiku that resonated with them, and it was used to illustrate the differing ways haiku affect us, with emphasis on the spirit each invoked, and to get us all into ‘haiku mode’.

The group then braved the elements and spread out around the neighbourhood seeking inspiration and making notes of their observations and some composing haiku from those observations. The suburban surrounds offered surprisingly interesting and diverse subject matter for the poets and when they returned to the warmth of the meeting room many were read out and critiqued, and observations shared.

winter ginko photo june 2019
Left to right: Barry Sanbrook, Mardi May, Rose Van Son, Melissa Moffat

This all led to a lively consideration of the perceived rigidity of the rules of haiku and whether they can be broken. A check list, to be used in editing a haiku, was tabled, to highlight some of these acknowledged guidelines with the suggestion that such a list could be useful, particularly for people just beginning to write haiku, although it was argued that even experienced haiku writers can benefit from reminders. There was also a short discussion on Jane Reichhold’s Bare Bones School of Haiku.

Maureen also read a section on The Essence of Haiku from Haiku Inspirations by Tom Lowenstein, on the subjects of yugen and also kyo, which in part touches on the idea of experiencing subjects on their own terms, i.e. “To learn about the pine tree, you must go to the pine tree”, Basho, and “When you enter that object deeply, its hidden essence (kyo) will reveal itself”, Basho.

Those present were: Maureen Sexton, Melissa Moffat, Rose van Son, Mardi May, Barry Sanbrook.

A selection of poems from the day:

willy wagtail
the black umbrella
opens and closes

Melissa Moffat

suburban road
magpie lark
calls me back

Rose van Son

a mindful place
old men
drink coffee

Barry Sanbrook

slow movement
of the ceiling fan
winter wind outside

Maureen Sexton


Report by Barry Sanbrook

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