Review of Paperbark Haiku Zoom Meeting

Friday 30th April 2021
11 am Perth,Western Australia time
by Maureen Sexton

Seven people ‘attended’ the zoom meeting. They were Michael Dylan Welch (USA), Rose van Son (WA), Lynette Arden (SA), Liz Nicholls (WA), Wanda Amos (NSW), Madhuri Pillai (Vic) and Maureen Sexton (WA). Each attendee shared the details of their personal ginko, i.e. where they were, what the weather and surrounds was like and three each of the haiku they wrote from that ginko. There was lively and thorough discussion of each haiku with some generous and helpful suggestions offered. This was followed by some interesting and thoughtful discussion on various aspects of writing haiku, such as lineation, experimental writing and what makes a haiku, a haiku. Or in other words, what isn’t a haiku. Thank you Michael Dylan Welch for letting us use his Zoom pro account, so we didn’t have a time limit. Much appreciated.

Here is what each ‘attendee’ has to offer from the meeting:

I was thrilled to be able to join Paperbark Haiku on Zoom from my isolated haiku bubble (no covid here) on the mid north coast, Old Bar NSW. Interactions and assistance was really appreciated from the very knowledgeable members of the group.
My haiku was a hastily written one as a result of the beautiful weather and flowers in my garden that morning.

end of quarantine
the pinks of cosmos
against a blue sky

Wanda Amos

Pink Cosmos: photo by Wanda Amos

It was a very productive zoom meeting, where all the poets offered constructive suggestions to each other’s poems in a friendly atmosphere. Great afternoon.

picnickers…
the dog decides
to follow his nose

This was written last year, when the COVID restrictions were relaxed, and people could meet outdoors. The parks were full of socially starved picnickers having a good time, and in the off leash parks it was an effort to keep the dogs away from them. The enticing smells often got too much for our canine companions and they would wander off, most often than not they were rewarded with bits of food.

Madhuri Pillai


The plan for my solo ginko was a long walk on the beach, hopefully to write about bright sunshine and soft breezes. Instead, because of prescribed burn-offs, everything was very grey, very still, and extremely eerie. I walked along the deserted footpath for a while, but the combination of smoke and covid mask soon saw me scuttling home.
Joining the zoom meeting, discussing haiku and receiving friendly, constructive feedback was a most enjoyable experience.

Indian Ocean –
I know it’s still there
burn-off haze

Liz Nicholls

I look forward to an invitation to the Paperbark zoom meetings. It has been a stimulating and enjoyable experience, not only sharing some haiku but feeling part of a wider community across Australia and internationally. Zoom meetings are ideal for haiku workshops, as suggestions can be made and inspected by the whole group immediately. I enjoyed the broader areas covered about haiku and words in general. One doesn’t often get invited to discuss how to use words to communicate with a reader. I wrote a short haibun on the events of the preceding day.


A Parting Gift

My friend with an extended illness prepares for her death by buying gifts for her friends.

Now, someone I knew forty years ago flies back from the funeral bringing my gift. Our friend had connected us in one of those loose strings of acquaintances that unwind when the central figure moves elsewhere.

Over a cup of coffee, we reminisce about how my friend’s life affected each of us. Photos on the funeral brochure show her as a baby, a teen, a young mum, at a child’s wedding, and nothing of her illness.

Then I pry off the sticky tape from the brown paper parcel to reveal my gift—a clear artisan glass vase flecked with cerulean blue.

drifting cirrus
a seagull becomes part
of the sky

Lynette Arden

So much to be gained from Friday’s Paperbark Zoom meeting featuring haiku poets worldwide. Firstly, it was wonderful to see faces, of course, and to hear their voices: there is so much more to be said face-to-face than via emails.  I was able to describe more fully the weather conditions in Perth during Wednesday’s ginko – the smoke haze, the settling of smoke and fog blanketing the Swan River, the Derbal Yerrigan, created an unusual environment here in Perth where normally we enjoy blue skies for much of the year!  The quiet, the stillness, a feature of the morning – as sight was pushed back, and sound and smell were forced to take over, in our efforts to see.  Autumn here is subtle; the trees, mostly non-deciduous, so we look to the changing light, the cooler days, to tell us autumn is here.  

To discuss and receive advice from poets whose work I respect, and have respected for many years was a gift. Their suggestions offering new possibilities for verbs or specific nouns that could enhance the haiku jotted on the day were invaluable. A vibrant discussion on traditional versus experimental haiku, with out-of-the box examples and a list of journals that may take them was also food for thought.

empty playground
the uncontrolled chittering
of wagtails

Rose van Son

In these ongoing Zoom days, it was wonderful for everyone to talk a ginko walk and then to share the results online. It’s always interesting to hear responses to one’s haiku. I went for yet another walk through my neighbourhood park and took time to sit and contemplate, but as it turned out, the poems I shared were earlier poems. Such great conversation!

Michael Dylan Welch


As I’m housebound due to health issues, my ginko was conducted in my courtyard, among my orange, yellow and pink kangaroo paws, lavender, hollyhocks and grevillea. Unfortunately prescribed burns covered the city in smoke and the clouds held it there.

waking up
to the bitter taste of smoke …
approaching storm

Maureen Sexton