Windfall: Australian Haiku Issue 9, 2021 – Review

Review by Simon Hanson

How fortunate we are to have a journal like Windfall: Australian Haiku, showcasing as it does, the best of Australian haiku— bringing together familiar and new voices (and the new voices are exciting). This issue, like those before it celebrates many and varied aspects of Australian life in its country, coastal, urban and domestic settings accompanied by a host of perceptive observations around season, landform, flora and fauna and the lives of people.

we slow our stroll
to another time
outback town

Glenys Ferguson

perching magpie
the blackened stump
seamed with ash

Gavin Austin

In reviewing any journal or anthology one is invariably faced with the task of singling out particular poems for mention. There is some discomfort in doing this, made all the more acute in this instance given the quality of the entire collection. Let it be said that one could happily include any of the haiku presented in this issue as worthy of mention here. The inclusions I make here are a means of indicating something of the range of subject and style to be found in the whole issue— and a wonderful issue it is. The real task of selection has of course been done by its editor, Beverley George, choosing and sequencing 63 haiku from some 560 submitted poems, the size of the journal inevitably limiting the number of acceptances to the most outstanding haiku from the many received. We may be assured that the entire process of editing is heartfelt and undertaken with much thought and feeling over many, many weeks— as has been the case with each issue over the past nine years— what a contribution to our haiku community.

colour splashed
on a grey day canvas . . .
rainbow lorikeets

Gwen Bitti

warm breeze from south west
the main and jib on hard
beating to the mark

Brian English

An editor does far more than select and organise work for any given issue.  The challenge and value of quality editing is not only to give the published poets a recognised voice but to produce a publication which offers reader enjoyment and a large measure of inspiration for further creativity. Come June and July each year many of us turn our minds to Windfall: Australian Haiku, becoming perhaps a little more attuned than usual to the “…experience of urban and rural life in Australia…”. In revisiting past issues, we might gather amongst other things a sense of what might appeal, refreshed again by the creativities of others. Of course there is the occasion of ‘that moment’ behind what we do in writing haiku, but I know also— there are many haiku that are written because of Windfall. Poets only partly own their creations, much of what we do is done with others in mind and always in the larger context of the broader culture of art and poetry, local and further afield, current and historical— and for this I am grateful.

autumn stroll,
on the cement footpath
a gum leaf’s imprint

Samantha Sirimanne Hyde

outdoor pot plants
a sunshower
from the watering can

Judith E. P. Johnson

There are haiku here that speak deeply to the heart, move us in their poignancy.

op shop –
all the teddy bears
sold out

Lyn Reeves

I watched that day
her last walk by the beach
. . . ebbing tide

Colleen Keating

Others of a lighter note add a touch of humour, yet we recognise them as authentic, set in familiar circumstances.

beach picnic
a dog races past with
a ball in its grin

Norma Watts

country show
the pink stickiness
of a child’s smile

Glenys Ferguson

There are those that speak of deep time and turn our minds to the spirituality of this land and the ancient cycle of seasons

red river gums –
guardians of stone stories
in dry hollows

Susan Grant

frog chorus
the rhythm of raindrops
on the pond

Maureen Sexton

And some that may leave one agasp for their sheer beauty

snowy eve
amid cloud tatter
cold stars gleam

Kent Robinson

wood duck
cracking ice puddles
pink dawn

J L Penn

Then there is this gem that in so few words, brings home once again the fleeting nature of things, the passing of time, as the years flash by, evermore quickly so it seems.

in a puddle
for this moment
fast train

John Low

Windfall: Australian Haiku is literally pocket or handbag sized. It couldn’t be easier to take on the bus or train, to the park or garden bench, or when visiting friends. In fact, to take anywhere. With a handsome cover created by Ron C.  Moss, the whole booklet beautifully designed and laid out by Matthew C. George and the whole enterprise so ably managed and published by Peter Macrow for his Blue Giraffe Press. And as a nice touch the inside back cover lists an annually updated list of recent Australian Haiku Titles.  Pocket sized yes, but huge on stature.

The next issue of Windfall will be the last— it will mark ten years as one of our premier haiku journals; an Australian treasure; something to celebrate…

Simon Hanson
Secretary, Australian Haiku Society