Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 12 May 2020

It was great to see that White Pebbles has also enjoyed meeting by email. Following our April success of an email-fest, this will now be the way of the Oaks mob on the second Tuesday of each month. Until further notice. Until we return to the table under the trees with its dapples and magpies and afternoon breeze. Ah. . .!

Meanwhile, email again worked well. Even though faceless, there remained between us that familiar sense of connection and haiku passion.

On the day before, Jan had circulated a quote she had found while browsing Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku (ed. Allan Burns).  Michael McClintock had said, ‘Nature is too often depicted as a toy, pet, or stage prop for some banal moment of human activity’ (p.137). We looked at examples of published haiku. Some demonstrated human immersion in nature and others an appropriate human juxtaposition to nature. Others, though, more or less fitted the above criticism. Thoughts zinged back and forth, some coming in while replies were still being typed. We were all talking at once!  We were off and away!

Hazel had previously suggested we look at Johnny Baranski’s Beads of Glass (Haiku Foundation library) and she had emailed the link. This brought mixed reactions to content plus a further discussion of one-liners in general. Hazel pointed out the irony of Baranski and the significance of the title, beads we can see through. What can such ‘beads’ show us–of ourselves, our beliefs, our society? Some favourites were shared, the winner being one full of images and suggestions:

praying mantis upon this rock he builds his church

With topics/responses ranging from serious to laugh-aloud, the emails kept zipping, e.g. How does a poet handle originality, especially when it comes to competitions about cherry blossoms? And all those moons and Indian summers. . .?

Eventually, having swapped a few reminders (with links) of essays, etc that are worth a reread, we agreed to call it a day and put our kettles on. What shall next month’s second Tuesday hold in store?

Jan Dobb

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