10th December 2022
On a lovely summer morning, eight of us gathered again for our White Pebbles meeting. As usual, before starting our ginko, we enjoyed catching up with each other’s news over a hot beverage at the Art Centre’s café. We missed Michael Thorley, who was unable to join us.
Whatever the season, it’s always a pleasure to connect with like-minded poets at the peaceful and vibrant Edogawa Commemorative Garden. A gift to the people of Gosford from Edogawa, its Sister City, the traditional ‘shuyu’ (strolling style) garden fittingly celebrates cultural exchange and friendship.
We each dispersed down winding pathways towards whatever sights, scents and sounds beckoned us – shadows flickering on the raked dry stone bed, a cheeky koi pursuing a duck, dry leaves dangling on spider silk and crazy paving triggering childhood memories of hopscotch.
A half an hour later, we gathered around the table in the downstairs meeting room in the gallery premises. As part of our homework, each person shared a sequence of three haiku and then absorbed thoughtful and considered feedback.
Marilyn Humbert had emailed us a very helpful worksheet with guidelines and examples on writing haibun prior to our meeting. So firstly, each person read out their attempts at creating their own and then exchanged feedback. This was followed by Marilyn’s workshop on the subject, furthering the introduction to haibun that she gave us in March last year. We browsed several publications that welcomed haibun. Marilyn spoke of the essence of haibun: the need to write in the present tense, the hook at the start, its “link and shift” nature, its descriptive prose, avoiding repetition, the poem requiring to connect to the story, yet taking it on a different direction, how to select an apt title etc. We thank Marilyn for her excellent workshop.
Our convenor, Beverley George informed us that our wonderful and highly talented founding member, Gail Hennessy, will be bowing out of White Pebbles. We will miss her very much and hope that she’ll be able to visit us occasionally.
Beverley then gave us an opportunity to talk about members’ recent creative efforts. Colleen Keating spoke of her new book, Olive Muriel Pink – a richly researched and beautifully written poetic journey. I spoke briefly about my debut novel, The Lyrebird’s Cry, a modern tale of self-discovery of a gay man trapped into an arranged marriage. While we ran out of time for more such discussion, our Haiga Picture Poet, Kent Robinson’s splendid work, featured on his new website, must also be mentioned.
Buoyed by our foray into haibun, we will most likely start to experiment with this form, apart from dabbling in haiku joy, until our next meeting in autumn.
Samantha Sirimanne Hyde