Dear Members, It has been another prosperous year for Australian haiku and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all poets for their poetry, company, comradeship and countless other contributions throughout the year. Australian haiku continues to grow thanks to your efforts both here and in the globalised haiku arena. It has been a joy to read your poems here, there and everywhere.
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.
I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to wish you all a happy, prosperous, and most of all, safe 2022. Filled with haiku, of course.
Nothing could have prepared us for the challenges of the past two years, as poets and humans. Covid has not only rearranged our lives, it has shone a light on our values. Writing haiku is a peaceful and creative pursuit – a process of discovery fundamentally driven by ingenuity and further enriched by opportunities to share and learn. In that sense, our values have not changed. In fact, in 2021, we have excelled in our endeavours. As a community, we should be proud of the riches that our collective, creative spirits have produced.
I would like to pay a special tribute to all the local haiku groups around the country that continued to meet and share haiku whenever and however they could assemble. I have enjoyed reading your group reports throughout the year immensely.
A huge thank you to all those poets who participated in the various activities and competitions run by the AHS this year. (There will be more to come next year. Stay tuned!) Of course, this year, we announced the inaugural winner of the John Bird Dreaming Award for Haiku – a competition that attracted 890 poems from 41 countries. Our regular haiku strings and kukais also attracted hundreds of writers from far and wide.
I would also like to thank all those haiku poets who took the trouble to contact me throughout the year for advice, encouragement, or just to share some thoughts. I am very grateful for this and look forward to more correspondence next year.
There are some exciting things to come next year for the AHS and I look forward to sharing them with you all.
Entries for the Spring Equinox Haiga Kukai have now closed and the process of adjudication is in the capable hands of Ron Moss. We are especially pleased to see this and other events run by the AHS to be growing in popularity. You can revisit the entries for the Seasonal and Non-seasonal categories at these links. Results will be announced soon.
Australian and international haiku poets were saddened this week to hear of the passing of Brisbane poet, Katherine Samuelowicz. Katherine, a talented and free-thinking poet whose haiku, tanka and other poetry was published widely, leaves a huge legacy for Australian haiku, particularly in her role as editor of one of Australian haiku’s most well-known and long running journals, paper wasp (1994-2016).
Katherine’s association with paper wasp began in the early 90’s as a founding member of the paper wasp group which she led for a number of years. From the very first issue of the journal in 1994-95 – a collection of erotic haiku – a feature of Katherine’s editorship was a willingness to engage fresh voices. Many of us are beneficiaries of this attitude, with paper wasp unearthing a generation of Australian as well as international haiku poets.
Katherine was a great supporter of the Australian Haiku Society, serving in its early years as Secretary in 2003-2004. She was a co-editor, along with Janice Bostok and Vanessa Proctor, of the Second Australian Haiku Anthology (2006) and the Third Australian Haiku Anthology (2011) along with Jacqui Murray. In 2013, she also co-edited an anthology of Australian and New Zealand haiku.
Katherine was widely regarded as a generous and compassionate person who enjoyed the company of fellow poets. Her role as a full-time delegate to the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference in 2009 was just one example of this.
Katherine is a significant voice in Australian haiku which deserves to be recognised. Some of Katherine’s publishing details can be found here. The Committee of the Australian Haiku Society wishes to acknowledge her contribution to Australian haiku and express our sincere condolences to Katherine’s family and loved ones.
another glass of wine twilight carrying the world away
Spring is coming, creeping through the twigs, silently seeping through the sap…
Ripples of Thought
Something different for your enjoyment— Ron C. Moss and Christopher Herold have collaborated in this YouTube production presenting haiku that they have each written in response to the other’s photographs accompanied by Cypress, music by Morpheus The result is something special.
window reflection the oaks he planted made of light
Photo and haiku by Simon Hanson
AHS Winter Solstice Haiku String
The AHS Winter Solstice Haiku String has proved to be another successful online event. Our Webmaster, Lynette Arden has noted that views and visitor numbers more than doubled during the Haiku String week accompanied by continued growth in international participation. Rob Scott, AHS President, was pleased to say that extending our international reach in this way is one of our goals and suggested that events like this and the John Bird Haiku Dreaming Award certainly provide impetus to this trend.
If you wish you can revisit this latest Haiku String on the theme of food & cookinghere.