Five of us met at the State Library for a two-hour discussion and critique session. Members present were Julia Wakefield, Lynette Arden, Maeve Archibald. We had a apologies from Dawn Colsey, Marilyn Linn, Margaret Fensom, Jill Gower and Athena Zaknic.
We had two new potential members, Steve Wigg and Stella Damarjati. Steve drew our attention to the work of Richard Gilbert, who wrote ‘The Disjunctive Dragonfly’ http://research.gendaihaiku.com/dragonfly/DisjunctiveDragonfly.htm and the poetry of Eve Luckring http://www.eveluckring.com/publications2015.html
The theme was senryu, and attendees were asked to bring a definition of the senryu as well as a few examples.
We began by introducing ourselves and then went on to discuss the senryu definitions. Julia circulated a definition derived from the Akita International HST network https://akitahaiku.com/about/ but as we studied it we realised that there were some aspects of the definition that referred to Japanese senryu, as opposed to the English language senryu. After we all read out our definitions, it was generally agreed between us that senryu can refer to the natural world, and don’t have to be humorous. They always connect to the human condition, and they can sometimes make us smile at the irony of human folly without causing us to laugh outright. Lynette gave us some examples from historical Japanese senryu that demonstrated the depth that can be achieved by steering away from the satirical or lightweight humour often embraced in senryu. They came from an article on senryu by Anita Virgil which appears on the Failed Haiku website: https://failedhaiku.com/essays-on-the-form/
We looked at the published examples of senryu that people had brought in, including some from the latest issue of Prune Juice, https://prunejuice.wordpress.com/?ct=t(Issue_15_is_UP_3_1_2017)&mc_cid=ad180b8f2f&mc_eid=a9fd19695c then workshopped some haiku and senryu. We all agreed that allocating over an hour to look at each other’s work was time well spent. Discussing the ‘fragment and phrase’ aspect of haiku – which definitely applies to senryu as well – helped to clarify what was needed to pull a poem into shape.
We hope to meet again on Saturday October 26, again at the State Library. All members are invited to bring haiku and other forms that they are working on, and the suggested topic is the one that Echidna Tracks is currently calling for (deadline end of October): previously unpublished haiku and senryu about recreation, relaxation, holidays, sport, hobbies and pastimes.
Submissions for this issue of Echidna Tracks will be open from the beginning of October.
You can of course bring poems that are about other subjects as well!
Other suggestions for future topics and/or exercises are always welcome.