Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Filtered sunshine and leafy shadows—a perfect summer day at The Oaks as we began another year of haiku together. How good to be back again—Hazel Hall, Gregory Piko, Marietta McGregor, Glenys Ferguson, and Jan Dobb. Again though, we missed Kathy Kituai and our fond thoughts were with her.

Hazel arrived with extra copies of our recently published anthology The Ink Sinks Deeper and Marietta took several of these to post off to potential reviewers. As Hazel responded to questions about the Picaro Poets imprint of Ginninderra Press, she encouraged our publishing of personal chapbooks. Meanwhile, we have been delighted with Greg’s review of the Oaks anthology on his website      

As another year gets under way, Jan checked on people’s views about our gatherings. Any suggestions? Changes? Preferences? The consensus was to continue as is, enjoying the spontaneity and stimulation of each other’s company and input, and of not being bound by homework or obligatory expectations. All except Marietta—who admitted that she rather likes a bit of homework. With that, she was encouraged to undertake her own and to bring us the results. So that’s exactly what she did—immediately!

We laughed as Marietta flourished some handouts! A lively discussion soon followed sparked by the 2022 Tokutomi Contest, in which entrants are required to use a 5-7-5 syllable format and include one of the contest kigo. This prompted some thoughtful and positive observations about using limitations to refine our skills. Marietta followed up with reference to an essay by Joan Zimmerman ‘A Challenge to Try Fixed-form Haiku‘. The challenge was palpable. Thank you for your homework, Marietta!

Attention was drawn to a recent email circulated by the organisers of Haiku Down Under and interest is keen for this project planned for October.

Also noted was the email circulation of Simon Hanson’s intended retirement as AHS secretary. Our deep appreciation was expressed along with discussion of the role.

We browsed a copy of paul m.’s witness tree, a recent Snapshot Press publication that Greg had reviewed on his website. Jan distributed an extract from the introduction to paul’s earlier publication, called home. The introductions to both books are impressive for evoking the wonder of language and haiku.

With reluctance, we said farewell as the staff began stacking chairs. Till next time.

Jan Dobb

%d bloggers like this: