I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year, filled with the joy of writing haiku. 2020 has been a difficult year which has brought many challenges and much sadness. As I’m sure all of you would agree, reading and writing haiku has provided much needed sustenance in a year full of anxiety and grief. Moreover, the opportunity to reach out to the broader haiku community across Australia and beyond via Zoom was a particular and unexpected pleasure. I sincerely hope this vibrant and communal spirit continues into this year.
It has been a productive year for the AHS as we celebrated our 20th year, and we have more exciting plans for the year ahead, including the announcement of the winner of the inaugural John Bird Dreaming Award for Haiku.
Thank you all for you valuable support for my first year as President and I look forward to continued support and more of your wonderful haiku in 2021.
Happy New Year! Rob Scott
The AHS Summer Solstice Haiga Kukai has concluded with an excellent response from participants. Contributions are now being considered by the adjudicator Ron Moss. You can revisit the entries here for both the Seasonal and Non-seasonal categories.
Four members of the group were able to meet up at Gosford/ Edogawa Gardens on December 12th: Maire Glacken, Verna Rieschild, Colleen Keating and Beverley George. Armed with excellent completed work sheets sent ahead to us by Marilyn Humbert and Kent Robinson, we settled on the paved deck outside the café for a preliminary coffee, and passed these two sheets around reading the responses to the prompts aloud. We were inspired by them – a valuable and enjoyable start to our meeting.
What a celebratory time of friendship as we gathered for the final meet-up of the year! And what’s more, we were a full house: Glenys Ferguson, Kathy Kituai, Hazel Hall, Gregory Piko, Marietta McGregor and Jan Dobb.
As we settled beneath the trees to await our lunch orders, there was an explosion of thanks and good wishes. Out of bags appeared spontaneous little gifts and heartfelt cards which were delivered to-and-fro across a laughing table. Naturally, we found many a haiku tucked thoughtfully inside! When activity simmered down a little, we each read aloud the haiku we’d discovered, before clearing spaces for our lunch.
As conversation buzzed, Greg quietly smiled and produced a show-and-tell–a proof copy of breaking my journey his forthcoming haiku collection to be published by Red Moon Press in the new year. Surprise, surprise! Congratulations and questions flowed for some time. How encouraging, too, that despite the severe disruptions of Covid, haiku publication continues to flourish.
Echidna Tracks: Australian Haiku Issue 6 – on the theme of Shelter begins today. Thank you so much to all who submitted work to the issue. Even if your work was not included this time around, we greatly appreciate the offering and look forward to hearing from you again in April during the submission period for issue 7 on the theme of Light & Colour.
Victoria Park Reserve, Dalwood via Alstonville, NSW Thursday 22 October 2020
Victoria Park Reserve is at Dalwood, eight kilometers out of Alstonville on the Far North Coast of NSW. This was the group’s eighth visit to the rainforest remnant, a favourite venue.
There were seven of us. Although we kept our prescribed distance from each other, with no shared nibbles and no hugs, it was a relief to experience the familiar fellowship within the group as a ‘back to normal’ ginko.
The threatened rain held off, and a gentle drizzle on one occasion enhanced that fresh scent that arose from the forest floor.
Lucky again with the weather. So thought many other people! The Oaks was abustle with lunchtime trade beneath the trees. Adding to human chatter was that of the birds who seemed more numerous and up-close than ever, one magpie starting an avian squabble after stealing a chip straight from Hazel’s plate!
We were a smaller group this month, Marietta McGregor and Greg Piko being unable to join us–Hazel Hall, Kathy Kituai, Glenys Ferguson and Jan Dobb.
John Bird recently contacted us with an email addressed to Rob Scott;
‘I am delighted and honoured to have my name associated with the AHS International Haiku Competition. I am also delighted that you have taken the reins at the Australian Haiku Society – the Society has been blessed with excellent leadership teams which is evidenced in its progress. I know the AHS will benefit from your leadership and I hope you have lots of fun in the Chair.
Seven haiku enthusiasts gathered on a lovely warm morning at Tomato Lake in Kewdale for a ginko and sharing of our observations and first draft haiku – Coral Carter, Sandie Thorne, Timothy Parkin, Rose van Son, Barry Sanbrook, Melissa Moffat, Maureen Sexton.
We’re very fortunate here to be able to gather in public without the fear of community spread of Covid19 – currently. We began by introducing ourselves, as we had a couple of new members, who were also new to haiku. Then we discussed what haiku meant to us. These included ‘a calm space’, ‘being observant’, ‘awareness’, ‘awe’ and ‘connection’. Apart from using our 5 senses, we decided to also be aware of how we were feeling and what emotions came up during the ginko, and why we might have made particular observations.
Below the reviews of both events, is a selection of haiku and haibun from the participants and some of the emotions and feelings they were experiencing during that time.