Members’ News, July 2022

Dear Members,

This month’s edition of the newsletter is courtesy of the new secretary of the AHS, Leanne Mumford. Leanne has taken over the reins from Simon Hanson, who has performed in the role with distinction and grace over recent years. We thank Simon for his dedication to the role and wish him all the best for his future endeavors. Leanne is no stranger to the Australian haiku community, her haiku having been widely published over the past 10 years and the AHS is grateful to her for her enthusiasm for the position. Leanne will be assisted in her duties by Clem Byard, a haiku poet from Melbourne, who has kindly offered his services, providing assistance in the role when required. We look forward to working with you both. 

This month, we marked the winter solstice with a haiku string, which attracted almost 200 haiku from 95 poets. Thank you to all the poets who contributed from far and wide. We love reading your poems.

And finally, our community was saddened this month to learn of the passing of John Bird, the co-founder of the Australian Haiku Society, a deep thinker about haiku and one of our finest poets. Tributes have been flowing in and we thank Quendryth Young for the wonderful eulogy she shared with us about John. He is an important figure in Australian haiku and will be forever remembered.

Vale John Bird.

Rob Scott

President, AHS.


Alice Wanderer wins a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award

Melbourne poet, Alice Wanderer’s book, ‘Lips Licked Clean‘ has been awarded the Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2021 by The Haiku Foundation. This is a most prestigious award, being one of four books to be awarded the prize out of 81 nominations. The book was published by Red Moon Press and can be ordered online.

At a meeting of Fringe Myrtles in spring 2021, Rob Scott provided the following commentary on Alice’s book .

“Alice selected and translated the haiku as well as providing a fascinating summary of Hisajo’s life, highlighting the considerable obstacles she faced in the male dominated haiku scene of early 20th century Japan. Hisajo is a fascinating poet who wrote about the mundanities of everyday life with a female gaze. Writing like this had not been seen before. Here is a sample:

my pouting child
shakes my sewing shoulder
how hot it is

reading a play—
the winter evening’s crockery
left to soak

on her first school day
I fold and hand over
a paper hanky

For each poem in the book, Alice provides a helpful note on kigo (as well as an explanatory introduction) which gives us another perspective on the importance and practice of the use of kigo in Japanese haiku. It is a wonderful book.”


John Bird tributes

Tanka by Max Ryan, Art work by Denis Smith

Read tributes by Lyn Reeves, Quendryth Young and others.


Haiku Down Under 2022

Registrations for Haiku Down Under 2022 will open in August. Visit the web site for a taste of what the programme will offer and sign up for emails to get the latest news.

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