Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

At last, after missing the last two of our monthly gatherings, the easing of lockdown saw us once again beneath the trees at The Oaks. What a joy to see this delightful venue back in full swing with chatting patrons and bustling staff. Even the birds were back in full voice, albeit overdoing their gusto to drown out conversations. The six of us all welcomed each other: Kathy Kituai, Glenys Ferguson, Hazel Hall, Marietta McGregor, Gregory Piko, and Jan Dobb.

After some friendly catching up with each other, the talk naturally veered to haiku. Despite the time gap, publishing was a topic that spilled over from our previous get-together. How does one select an appropriate publisher? How important is trust? Experiences were shared of preparing work for publication, of seeking comment, of making choices, of considering themes, of ordering sequence. . . So much to share, so much to learn.

A topic that evoked much lively interest was a collection of questionable one-liners by various authors that Marietta had copied from one issue of a popular online senryu journal. We found ourselves back to basics as we felt that many (most?) of these offerings challenged (ignored?) the concept of this genre. Indeed, the matter has sparked some further emailing in the ensuing day or two, no doubt destined for more follow-up next month.

Both Glenys and Marietta enthused about a Haiku Foundation feature by Scott Mason, New to Haiku: Advice for Beginners which includes two video presentations as well as text. Like Scott’s book The Wonder Code, this is an inspiring re-visit for all of us.

A review in Frogpond had led Greg to procure a copy of Natalie Goldberg’s Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku which was passed around and browsed. While Greg queried style and influence, he had found it useful and enjoyable, and it was soon borrowed from the table.

And so, to the raucous accompaniment of currawongs, the afternoon wore on as various haiku matters passed back and forth. How good, how very good, to be back together under the oaks!

Jan Dobb

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