At the Word Storm Writers’ Festival in Darwin in 2004 I was privileged to run a workshop with eleven Northern Territory writers. The participants had varying backgrounds in haiku, from those who’d come across it at school to a couple of poets who had read much of the contemporary literature on the form. A few had strong background or interest in Zen Buddhism, which I believe is a valuable asset to accessing the haiku mind.
This article was first published in Five Bells: Australian Poetry, Summer 2006 Haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry, is becoming increasingly popular in the West. English-language haiku has been described as ‘one of today’s most exciting literary developments.’
To mention haiku is to elicit one of two responses among those who are not current readers or writers of the form. Either they have never heard of it, or they remember it (and may even teach or study it) as a three-line Japanese poem, consisting of seventeen syllables and having something to do with nature. While this description may suit past translations and attempts at writing haiku in English, many changes have taken place, not only in the way we write haiku, but also in our understanding of the genre.
I recently had the pleasure of attending Wordstorm, the 2006 Northern Territory Writers’ Festival held in Darwin (May 18 – 21) at the Museum and Art Gallery NT. The programme connected almost 60 writers from Indigenous, non-Indigenous and Southeast Asian cultures with a diversity of readers, writers, artists and lovers of life who came to share the experience and excitement of this unique festival.
It was a privilege to be included in the programme and an honour to be asked to run a workshop on the art of haiku. Opportunities such as this continue to raise the profile of haiku in our country and I was thrilled with the energy the small but committed group of workshop participants generated.
I look forward to keeping in contact with all of the participants and sharing their haiku journey.
Report by Myron Lysenko
On April 6th 2006, 36 haiku appeared on decals in Melbourne’s trains and they will ride the rails for the next four months. This exciting project was the brainchild of poet Leanne Hills, who approached Connex Trains about the idea in August last year. She recruited Haiku Oz members, Matt Hetherington and Myron Lysenko to help her with her proposal.
The selected haiku includes work by renowned haiku practitioners such as Carla Sari, Sue Stanford, Mary Hind and John West; established Melbourne poets such as Alicia Sometimes, Catherine Bateson, Ian McBryde and Phil Ilton; and introduces extremely young poets such as primary school students Taman Ulrich and Eva Kulessa-Spires. Melbourne’s omnipresent mayor John So is also represented with a haiku about Melbourne Square.
Temples of Angkor – Vanessa Proctor
Members’ Publications – Janice Bostok
- Banana Leaves – Privately Printed. Australia, 1972. Early Haiku. No longer available.
- Walking Into The Sun – Shelters Press, USA, 1974. Haiku and tanka. No longer available.
- Hearing The Wind – Privately Printed. Australia, 1976. Haiku. No longer available
- On Sparse Brush – Makar Gargoyle Poets Series, UQP, Brisbane, Australia, 1978. ISBN O 909353 23 5 Free verse and haiku. No longer available.
- Silver Path of Moon – PostPressed, Brisbane, Australia, 1996. 1996 ISBN 0 656 29477 6. Five erotic haibun. Available from PostPressed.
- Still Waters – EarthDance, Cape Patterson, Australia, 1996. Haiku and artwork (by Cornelis Vleeskens) Available from author. $5.
- The Farmer Tends His Land – Tiny Poems Press, Enfield, USA, 1997. A solo renga. No longer available..
- Shadow-Patches – Hallard Press, Auckland, New Zealand, 1998. ISBN 0-86477-045-6. Haibun by Janice M. Bostok, Catherine Mair and Bernard Gadd. No longer available..
- A Splash of Sunlight – Privately Printed, Australia, 1998. ISBN 0 9597523 2 3. Haiku. Available from the author. $7.
- Dimmed The Mystery – Snapshot Press, England, 2000. ISBN 0 9526773 2 6. Tanka. Available from the publisher — see their website.
- Reaching Out From Dreaming – Privately Printed. Australia, 2001. Tanka. Available from the author. $5.
- Amongst the Graffiti – Printed by Post Pressed, 31 Allara St, Flaxton, Qld 4560 ISBN 1 87668246 9. Haiku. 104pp. Available from publisher. AU$20.00 + AU$3.00 in Australian (see site for overseas prices) see publisher’s introduction
- Songs Once Sung – Available from PostPressed
- Two Thirds of Why – Impressed Publishing. Available from the author.
Members’ Publications – Lyn Reeves
- Speaking with Ghosts – Ginninderra Press, 2002. 68 pages. ISBN 1 74027 144 0. Price $18 plus $4 p&p within Australia Available from the publisher:- PO Box 53, Charnwood, ACT 2615 Publisher’s Order Formhttp://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/order.html
- Walking the Tideline – Pardalote Press, 2001. 52 pages. ISBN 0 9578436 0 7. Price $12 (includes postage within Australia) Available from 44 Bayside Drive, Lauderdale, Tasmania 7021
Members’ Publications – Graham Nunn
Contact Graham at: email@example.com
- a zen firecracker: selected haiku – Impressed Publishing, 50 Baynes St. Highgate Hill, Brisbane, Queensland, 4101. ISBN 0-9751618-1-4; illustrated by Rowan Donovan, with an introduction by Janice M. Bostok. Available from Impressed by emailing David Weekes – firstname.lastname@example.org -or- by emailing the author.
A Report by Nathalie Buckland
River and sea meet at Brunswick Heads, on the far North coast of NSW. On a fine autumn Friday, just a hint of autumn in the air, ten haiku poets gathered close to a sandy beach for a ‘ginko’. This was the second time that we had been privileged to get together with the two JBs, Janice Bostock and John Bird.
A Report from Tasmania by Ron Moss
The Mountain Festival was a great success with many excellent events and enthusiastic participants. Ross Coward and Ron Moss once again ran the haiku gingko walks over successive Saturdays and many people enjoyed the silent walking with occasional haiku and beautiful flute playing by our friend, Satyamo. We shared green tea together at our destination ‘Lone Hut’, on the slopes of Mount Wellington.
Australian haiku poet, John Bird, is a joint-winner of the British Haiku Society James W Hackett award for the following haiku.
a village stray settles
at the busker’s feet
James W Hackett comments: “A picturesque, unique scene, well suggested. The stray lying down at the feet of the entertainer is a poignant, ‘Wordsworthian’ moment.”
HaikuOz congratulates John on this fine achievement.