Red Kelpie Haiku Group # 14 December 2017

On Sunday December 3rd the weather . . . specifically the threat of possible heavy rainfall . . . caused us to change our venue from the Botanic Gardens to the more easily accessible Federation Square. Four RKHG group members, Madhuri Pillai, Robyn Cairns, Janet Howie and I, met in the Atrium but held our meeting in a quiet hallway between the bookshop and a gallery: an ideal spot, thanks to Robbie’s explorations. Apologies received from Earl, Marisa and Taka.

Our discussion topic, prepared and led by Madhu, was ‘Senryu’. What is it? What might distinguish EL senryu from EL haiku? Is EL senryu just an inferior sort of haiku? Should we feel insulted if someone refers to our ku as senryu?

sketches from life –
my eraser
leaves smudge marks

(Lorin Ford, Failed Haiku#23, Nov. 2017)

The louring cloud cover on the day of our December meeting seemed to match the grey area in which, nevertheless, EL senryu has not only survived but thrived, often by any other name. Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group # 14 December 2017”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting # 13

Haruo Shirane’s ‘vertical axis’ continues to prompt members of the RKHG to find and query examples. Those who’ve read Bashō’s Oku no Hosomichi (奥の細道, originally おくのほそ道) (translated variously as Journey to the Interior, Narrow Road to the Interior and Narrow Road to the Deep North) will be familiar with at least one version of the opening passage, itself an homage to the work of the Chinese poet, Du Fu:

“The months and days are the travellers of eternity. The years that come and go are also voyagers. Those who float away their lives on ships or who grow old leading horses are forever journeying and their homes are wherever their travels take them.” (Trans. Donald Keene)

Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting # 13”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting #12

For those of us who might be experiencing a slump or fallow period in our haiku writing: we might take heart from a winter haiku by the all-time master:

 菊の後大根の外更になし
kiku no ato daikon no hoka sara ni nashi

After the chrysanthemums,
Apart from radishes,
There is nothing.

Bashō, trans. Linda Inoki, The Japan Times, December 7, 2005

R.H. Blyth also has a translation of this haiku in his Haiku Vol. IV, Autumn – Winter (He substitutes ‘turnip’ for radish since his EL readers were unlikely to be familiar with the daikon. These days, we can find the long white Japanese radish in any supermarket.) Blyth comments:

“(Winter) is a kind of off-season for poetry by the calendar of haiku. (This haiku expresses) simply and spontaneously the poetical emptiness that Bashō feels”.

Perhaps Bashō’s haiku might inspire us to write haiku on not being inspired to write haiku?

Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting #12”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting #11

red-kelpie-red-border

On Sunday March 19th, four RKHG members met at the Visitors’ Centre of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens for our autumn meeting and to welcome Takanori Hayakawa, our newest Red Kelpie Haiku Group member. We all made our way to a shady spot not far from Nymphaea Lily Lake, close to where we held our December meeting. Now that it’s autumn, the waterlilies had ceased blooming but we noted bright little yellow flowers of some kind of water plant as we passed the lake. Purple cosmos at their full height were swaying in a soft morning breeze. The sky was a clear bright blue, without even a trace of cloud, as is typical of Melbourne’s autumns, but the temperature this year was notably higher than usual, reaching the mid-thirties. Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting #11”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting & Ginko #10

As predicted, Sunday, 4th of December was hot and humid, Melbourne’s first hot summer day. Five members of the Red Kelpie Group gathered at our ‘home’ base, at the Melbourne Botanic Tearooms, but we moved, as planned, to a lawn area under deep shade of old trees, near Nymphaea Lily Lake, to hold our meeting in peace and quiet.

think tank
the pond floats
a waterlily

—Lorin Ford, Failed Haiku #12, December 2016

Our topic, suggested by Jen Sutherland, was an enquiry into kigo , which had been confusing for some. We focused on what kigo means to Japanese haiku practice and how it differs from EL seasonal reference.

Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting & Ginko #10”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting & Ginko #9

Over this past week of heavy rain on Melbourne, I’ve found that I finally have an intuitive and bodily understanding of a modern (gendai) Japanese haiku that has previously evaded me:

water of spring
as water wetted
water, as is 

— Hasegawa Kai

http://gendaihaiku.com/hasegawa/hasegawa-kai-haiku.htm

 Everything is so saturated that one experiences the sensation that the rainwater itself has reached a point of maximum saturation too! Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting & Ginko #9”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group Ginko & Meeting #8

As we did last year, the group met at Federation Wharf for our winter meeting, this time on a day full of umbrellas and continuous mizzling rain, which had the effect of muting the colours of the city and the river, but enhancing those of the deciduous leaves and the soft ochres and pinks of the Fed Square paving. Cormorants on the vacant tour boats hung out their wings despite the rain. The ever-present sparrows just shrugged it off.

We found a sheltered table outside one of the cafes by the river, where Robyn Cairns presented a copy of her recently published chapbook, In Transit (Picaro Poets Series, Ginninderra Press) to each of the other seven members present, then we moved on to our discussion.
Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group Ginko & Meeting #8”

Red Kelpie Haiku Group – Autumn meeting & ginko #7

The long-term lack of rain down here in Victoria has left the water-level perceptibly low in the artificial lake beside the Terrace Tearooms at Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens, prompting dusky moorhens to wade around pecking for food in exposed mud beneath the stone walls, exactly where eels could be seen swimming under normal conditions.

With a range of other people involved unable to attend for a variety of reasons – including our leader, Lorin Ford – four members of the Red Kelpie Haiku Group still managed to gather yesterday (Sunday, 6 March) for our autumn meeting. Even if civic gardeners would have appreciated rain, the weather was beautiful – warm and sunny – while group discussion was positive and fruitful to match.

The Red Kelpie Group members joining me yesterday – Janet Howie, Jayashree Maniyil and Earl Livings – had been invited to bring along a draft version of a new haiku that was proving to be challenging. Productive conversation followed, with constructive feedback and helpful suggestions appreciated all around within this work-shopping process.

A second element of the gathering involved group members having also been asked to share a valued haiku – written by another poet – as a prompt towards dialogue, with no particular theme or technical feature specified in advance.

Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group – Autumn meeting & ginko #7”