At the Australian Haiku Society we are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of John Bird who, in November 2000, co-founded our society with Janice Bostok. John was much loved and admired as a poet, mentor and friend. His generous encouragement of the writing of Australian haiku continues to this day. The following eulogy by Quendryth Young and tributes from other Cloudcatchers, a group that John began, attest to this. His influence goes far beyond this haiku friendship group that was so close to his heart. Many of us have been touched by John’s impact on our own haiku journeys.
This page will remain open for two weeks for your personal comments and tributes for a man who passionately but humbly steered the development of a uniquely Australian voice celebrating the culture and environment of our place in the world of haiku.
Dr Jacqui Murray: Patron of the Australian Haiku Society, spent many years running the JAL Children’s Haiku Contests in Australia, thus forging a generation of enthusiastic and talented haiku poets. Alongside her many achievements in the promotion of haiku in this country and overseas she also co-edited TheThird Australian Haiku Anthology (paperwasp:2011) and the anthology still heading out: an anthology of Australian and New Zealand haiku, two remarkable collections amongst others that she was instrumental in producing.
Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head NSW
Thursday 5 May 2016
This was no ordinary ginko. Earlier in the year the committee of the Australian Haiku Society, with Vanessa Proctor as president, resolved to honour John Bird with recognition of the invaluable role he has played, not only in the formation of the society, but for his initiative and application in developing and promoting Australian haiku. The AHS requested the presentation be made at the autumn ginko of the Cloudcatchers, on the Far North Coast of NSW. Continue reading “Cloudcatchers Ginko No. 41 (autumn) 2016”
Jan had a special relationship with Wollumbin/Mount Warning which dominates the Northern Rivers landscape of NSW, the country in which Jan was born and spent most of her life. Her connection to the mountain was profound. In feisty middle age Jan drew herself as the mountain. Mountain as naked woman. Her sketch and accompanying haiku appeared in the first (summer 1994) edition of paper wasp of which Jan was a foundation member and editor.
Late in life, when Jan moved from her beloved Dungay farm, she chose her last home with care. She could not, she explained, live anywhere where she could not see ‘her’ mountain. As with the first people of this land, Jan believed that the mountain was not only her totem, it was her strength and source of energy. I never look at Wollumbin without thinking of Jan.
above the dark earth
Wollumbin’s dawn light
Over the past 15 years I was privileged to work with Janice on many haiku activities including the international promotion of her work. As a tribute I offer this summary paragraph taken from my nomination of her in 2003 for the Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Prize.