Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Thursday 9 March 2023

A beautiful day with a slight hint of autumn in the air. Just the day to greet poet friends for another gathering @ The Oaks. A chorus of currawongs was hailing our arrival—though perhaps with other things than poetry in mind! Five of us settled down to lunch beneath the trees—Kathy Kituai, Hazel Hall, Gregory Piko, Marietta McGregor and Jan Dobb. We missed Glenys Ferguson this time.

During our chat and catch-up with each other, Hazel produced a copy of the latest Red Moon anthology Skipping Stones. Warm smiles were shared as we found work by four of us among so many fine selections in this issue. We applauded the ever-attractive presentation of the Red Moon anthologies. We bemoaned the exorbitant charges imposed by the postal authorities!

Soon though, we were thanking and congratulating Hazel, who had brought each of us a copy of her latest chapbook Breathe In, Breathe Out (Ginninderra Press, Picaro Poets 2023). On each page, in delicate language, one haiku and one tanka express a gentle and perceptive link, a light brush with the wonders we might easily miss. We were honoured by Hazel’s gift.

Marietta then surprised us with copies of an innovative publication The Cicada’s Cry—a Micro-zine of Haiku Poetry, in which some of her haiku have appeared. We were intrigued as we examined these little ‘booklets’ of one multi-folded page, and felt attracted to follow up the submission possibilities. More can be found here: https://www.thecicadascry.com 

To seek reactions from the Oaks mob—some of whom are editors themselves—Jan had brought along copies of some thoughtful correspondence from a journal editor to whom she had submitted haiku. Valuable ideas flowed as choices and suggestions were discussed, and appreciation was expressed of the initial communication.

By now, our haiku chat was well fired up, and various issues were sparked. One was the curious event of ‘déjà vu’ haiku—or, as it has been dubbed, ‘deja ku’. We agreed that with the prolific output of haiku, some of these oddities are bound to occur although (hopefully) unintentionally. Always important, though, is to be aware of this trap as we write.

How rapidly time @ The Oaks seems to tick! Till we meet again . . .

Jan Dobb

Author: leanneausthaiku

Secretary, Australian Haiku Society

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