A History of Haiku in Australia, written by Beverley George and Lyn Reeeves. The file is available for download in PDF here.
Rob Scott’s Masters thesis, “The History of Australian Haiku and the Emergence of a Local Accent” has been archived (in full) on The Haiku Foundation website, after being spotlighted there – in Garry Eaton’s ‘Librarian’s Cache’ feature – earlier in this month of April: it can viewed through this link –
An extract from this work – under the title “Australian Haiku in the Global Context” – had been published as a feature in “A Hundred Gourds” 4:1 December 2014:
As the Managing Editor for “A Hundred Gourds” – Lorin Ford – notes, “It’s an important piece, quoting many haiku by Australians.”
Now seems like a good time to report briefly on the state of haiku in Australia. There is much to say that is positive.
The Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz) is web-based and made up of many components. Its leadership comprises a patron, president, secretary, web manager and a small committee. Most input to the site comes from the leaders of the various small Australian haiku groups and from outside sources who send news of publication and competition opportunities.
As in Japan, small groups are at the heart and soul of Australian haiku writing. These are poems of observation, so it is fitting the groups are regionally based, allowing members to share urban or rural landscape.
These groups include Cloudcatchers (Northern NSW, led by Quendryth Young); Bindii Haiku Group (Adelaide, led by Lynette Arden); Mari Warabiny (Perth, led by Maureeen Sexton) Red Dragonflies (Sydney, led by Vanessa Proctor); Watersmeet (Hobart, led by Lyn Reeves) and Ozku (Sydney, led by Dawn Bruce.) The ‘paper wasp’ group (Brisbane led by Katherine Samuelowicz) is currently not meeting regularly but it is hoped that this will resume soon. It is not unusual for groups to go a little quiet and then reinvent themselves.
In Melbourne, Myron Lysenko conducts haiku walks ‘Ginko with Lysenko’ four times a year.
A report of the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference for Five Bells Vol 17 Nos 1&2, 2010 by convenor, Beverley George
together . . .
the way wind moves
One of the features that distinguishes haiku from some other poetic genres is its sociable nature, which often includes the sharing of its creation, and interactive linking. Originally the starting verse (hokku) of renga, a writing game, established time, place and season. This opening poem was given individual status by Bashō in the 17th century and renamed haiku by Shiki and friends around 1900. Haiku are often written on a communal walk (ginko) and pasted up for anonymous peer-judging (kukai).
To the dawn on the hill-tops…
The Vision of Spring!
Is this the first prize-winning haiku published in an Australian journal or newspaper? It appeared over the name ‘R. Crawford’ in the Bulletin’s famous Red Page on 12 August 1899 along with 13 other haiku and two haiku sequences. Crawford and his fellow poets were responding to an invitation, extended by A. G. Stephens (aka The Bookfellow), to submit ‘some haikais, which must have an Australasian reference’. Stephens offered 10s. 6d.—roughly the equivalent of a day’s wage—for the best entry received.
Stephens’ interest in the haiku form was piqued by a similar competition run in the British journal Academy and Literature. Both competitions probably stemmed from the publication in England of W. G. Aston’s History of Japanese Literature.
Haiku in Australia was in the doldrums for quite a time after Janice M Bostok’s pioneering work. By the late 1980s only a few isolated poets were still engaged with haiku. All that began to change in 1988 – the year of World Expo 88 in Brisbane. The impetus came directly from Japan when Japan Airlines (JAL) decided to be a major sponsor of the Japan pavilion by sponsoring a haiku contest for children and other associated activities. This followed other successes in America and Canada. Continue reading “Perspectives on History – Haiku History 1980 –”