Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 9 February 2021

A bit of a nip in the summer air as we gathered once again for lunch at an old round wooden table beneath the trees. Although the birds were not quite so vocal this time, our little mob certainly made up for that as we alternated between serious discussion and infectious laughter. Five of us were present–Glenys Ferguson, Gregory Piko, Kathy Kituai, Hazel Hall and Jan Dobb. We missed Marietta McGregor this time.

To the question How’s the book going, Greg? he responded with pleasure at the expressions of interest and sales he had received via his website for his recently published breaking my journey. We’d also noted with pleasure the review by Cynthia Rowe on the AHS website.

Over our fish & chips and Turkish rolls, Greg went on to mention Canberra’s upcoming Poetic City Festival from 15 March to 26 April, which includes a segment entitled Haiku 4 You. The blurb states ‘your haiku will appear around the city on tear-off-strip posters so passers-by can take one away’. Submissions are called for. A good chance to publicise haiku! Details can be found here and click on ‘Callouts’.

A few follow-up comments from last month’s discussion of The Wordless Poem showed that a bit of musing had been going on ‘tween times, and we briefly recapped ‘thinking in images’ and ‘writing our senses’. We recapped the impact of intuition and of just-what-is. We pondered how senryu might relate to such aspects and read some examples.

Haibun and tanka prose cropped up, too. Hazel’s reading had suggested conflict over a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ of tackling these, and again our thoughts, ideas and laughter were pooled on the table among the now-empty plates. This led on to ‘right way’ and ‘wrong way’ of haiku generally and the dubious variation (with examples) of some more obscure online publications. 

We ranged more widely, now, into short form poetry in general and how it is embraced by other cultures. Hazel outlined forms in Indonesia recited with Gamelan, and forms in other parts of Asia. Greg drew attention to the Greek Mantinades, a rhyming couplet to music that is prominent in Crete. A fascinating theme to follow up @ The Oaks . . .?

Punctuating our discussions were bursts of tear-jerking laughter as we enjoyed each other’s input and again shared something of our lives and our passion for haiku.  To quote Kathy’s feedback: ‘I was still chuckling on the drive home.  Such fun and with discussions that made me think, what could be better?’  Ah, the energy of haiku!

Jan Dobb

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