Haiku Happenings


Bar-tailed godwits at Miranda. Photo : Sandra Simpson (please do not use without permission)

February 2017: Hope you’ve all managed some kind of summer break in amongst all this ‘interesting’ weather we’ve been having. Up here it’s been strong winds for weeks on end but with some heat added in the last week or so of January.

I’ve had 2 short breaks – one to Miranda to look at shorebirds, including the amazing bar-tailed godwits and red knots (lesser knot) that come all the way from Alaska and Siberia (read more about the Miranda Shorebird Centre); the other to Wellington to catch up with visiting family members.

But my ‘staycation’ has meant that, apart from getting the garden into tip-top order, I’ve had time to get almost all the Archived Articles back in place. As at the beginning of February there are 5 still missing but I hope we can yet resolve that … if you find any broken links within an article please let me know. Time passes and websites disappear but clicking on a broken link is always frustrating so I’d like to keep on top of them if I can.

Congratulations to Owen Bullock (haiku) and Richard von Sturmer (memoir) who have both recently published books – read more about those below. And a kia ora and welcome to New Zealand to American poet and writer Roberta Beary, who stepped off a cruise liner in Auckland on January 27. Because of her extensive travels this year, Roberta has been appointed the inaugural Roving Ambassador for The Haiku Foundation. Read more here.

This month’s article is by Alan Summers and offers us a ‘slip realism perception challenge’ to kick off our writing year. Read it here.

The Contests list and the list of Publications have also been updated. See them both here.

Thanks, as always, to the New Zealand Poetry Society for giving us space on its site – free of charge. If you’d consider joining the NZPS, it would be a small repayment for the hosting and support that we receive out of kindness. For those within New Zealand, your membership fees are tax deductible, as is any donation you make over the top of the annual sub. Read more about joining and membership benefits here, including how to join if you live outside New Zealand.

If you’d like to recommend an article, offer to write something for these pages, or generally have something to say about haiku and its related forms, please feel free to get in touch with me.

– Sandra

THF Roving Ambassador in New Zealand

Roberta Beary is the inaugural Haiku Foundation Roving Ambassador and as she and her husband Frank Stella make their way though New Zealand she will be trying to contact as many haiku writers and groups as possible. So far, she’s had lunch with Pat Prime in Auckland and toured the Katikati Haiku Pathway with a local group. Read more and see some photos from the Katikati visit. After about 3 weeks here they will move on to Australia.

Red Moon Anthology for 2016

Congratulations to the New Zealanders and Australians included in the latest Red Moon Anthology, which collects “the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English” in a single calendar year.

Featuring in Dust Devils from New Zealand are Nola Borrell, Owen Bullock, Sandra Simpson; and from Australia Marisa Fazio, Lorin Ford, Jonathan McKeown, Mark Miller, Ron C Moss and Cynthia Rowe.

faraway rain
the chime of a nail
driven deeper

Ron C Moss

Dust Devils is $US17 (plus postage). Find an order form here.

Bonsai Anthology Update

From the editors Michelle Elvy, Frankie McMillan and  James Norcliffe: “We are full steam ahead and deep into the reading period for Bonsai: The Big Book of Small Stories. We have such a marvellous selection of submissions, we will be reading through February, with updates about inclusions in early March. In the first part of the year, we’ve been working toward securing our publisher and a publication date. We are also very pleased that Tim Jones and Graeme Lay have joined us as consulting editors, bringing their considerable expertise to the project.

“We thank you for your patience while we continue to read story submissions, previously published works and also essays that will be included in the final book. It’s sure to be an exciting collection, and we appreciate your interest and support.”

Haiku on National Radio

Jesse Mulligan had a short chat to Sandra Simpson about the Katikati Haiku Pathway and haiku in general on Monday, January 16. Listen to the interview (just under 10 minutes).

Owen Bullock Book Launch

Australia-based New Zealand poet Owen Bullock launched his latest collection of haiku – River’s Edge – in Canberra on December 5. Read a report from the event.

River’s Edge may be purchased online from the publisher, Recent Work Press; $A12.95 within Australia or $A17.95 which includes shipping to the rest of the world.

Richard von Sturmer Book

Richard has penned an intriguing book that is part memoir and part prose poem as he recounts scenes from the lives of his grandfather, father and uncle, as well as himself. Plus there is a selection of his new work. Read more here. Atuanui Press offers a preview option, as well as the chance to buy online. This Explains Everything is also available in bookstores.

New Australian Books – Tanka & Haiku

1: A Temple Bell Sounds is an anthology taken from the first 21 issues of Eucalypt tanka journal, edited by Beverley George – 108 poems in total. Purchase for $A20 (post within Australia); $A25 (post to NZ and Japan); $A28 (post to rest of world). Find full ordering details here. The book is being launched on February 18 in Beecroft, northern Sydney.

2: Ron C Moss has a new book out – Bushfire Moon, subtitled “poems and prose by a Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Fighter”. To order a signed copy, and inquire about postage, email Ron. The book will be officially launched on March 24 in Hobart.

International Day of Forests & World Poetry Day

Mt Coot-ha Botanic Gardens, near Brisbane, are marking International Day of Forests and World Poetry Day by offering visitors to the Japanese garden a chance to try sumi-e painting and/or writing haiku. Full details here.

International Haiku Poetry Day

The Haiku Foundation is co-ordinating several events for April 17 (US time). See what’s on offer and how you may get involved.

Japan’s Imperial New Year Poems

The theme this year was ‘field’ and the Emperor and Empress, Crown Prince and Crown Princess all composed poems – read them in English and something about the background to the poems. The royals presented their poems at the Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading), a tradition since about 1267! The poems recited at this year’s event included those chosen from submissions by the general public, poems of the selectors, and poems by professional poets.

Haiku Masters TV Series 

Japanese television station NHK is featuring a “new form of visual literature called Photo Haiku”. Each month, the resident Haiku Master Michio Nakahara introduces submissions from around the world. Episode 9 was broadcast on December 26 and is available until January 30 and was filmed at the Hatakeyama Memorial Museum of Fine Art in Tokyo. The narration and commentary is in English. Click this link to see the video.

Submissions of Photo Haiku are encouraged. Submit: A photo haiku by February 13 for consideration for broadcast on March 27; and/or submit a haiku to go with a supplied photo.                                                                              

Dr Eric Amann 1934-2016

From Haiku Canada  comes news that Dr Eric Amann died on March 12, 2016, after suffering a stroke.  There was no formal announcement of his death. On July 7, 2016, friends gathered at a Toronto cemetery to farewell Dr Amann. Among those present was George Swede, who will give an honourarium at the Haiku Canada weekend in May.

Dr Amann was born in Munich in 1934, emigrating with his family to the United States in 1952. However, after he was drafted for the Korean War in 1953, he crossed the border into Winnipeg and stayed with friends from Munich. He earned his medical degree in 1961.

His interest in haiku was sparked by the six volumes written by R.H. Blyth. After reading and writing haiku for several years, Dr Amann edited and published the first Canadian haiku magazine Haiku from 1967-1970 which quickly became one of the most influential North American periodicals. After a break Dr Amann returned to haiku in 1977 with a new magazine Cicada (1977-1982). The same year he, Betty Drevniok and George Swede founded the Haiku Society of Canada with Dr Amann serving as first president (1977-79).

Read more from The Living Haiku Anthology entry for Dr Amann.

the names of the dead
sinking deeper and deeper
into the red leaves

– Eric Amann

Read more of his haiku at Terebess Asia Online.

Submissions & Journal News

1: For issue 13, Tigershark e-zine is looking for stories of 50 words, 100 words and 100 characters exactly. Plus haiku, tanka, haibun, limericks and other short form poetry. Any topic. Publication in April.
Submit: By end of February.

2: New online journal Stardust Haiku is looking for poems on the topic of blossoming plants (including trees).
Submit: From March 1-14. Full details from the website.

3: The Lyrical Passion Tanka Contest did not receive adequate entries, according to the website, so has been cancelled.

4: As of December, 2016 bottle rockets editor Stanford Forrester is no longer accepting email submissions. For people living outside the US, include an email address with your submission so Stanford may reply (no email address and the submission will be discarded!). For those within the US, include a SASE as before. Full details from the website.

5: Staff changes at Haibun Today have been announced in the December 2016 issue. Jeffrey Woodward (founder and owner of the journal) is stepping down as general editor, Ruth Holzer and Glenn Coats as haibun editors, and Claire Everett as tanka prose editor. Joining the team is Janet Lynn Davis, who becomes tanka prose editor, while continuing in their roles are Patricia Prime (resources editor), and Melissa Allen and Ray Rasmussen (haibun editors).

6: A slew of new editors at cattails, the journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society. Founding editor an’ya (US) has handed over to Sonam Chokki (Bhutan) with Geethanjali Rajan (India) taking over as haiku editor. Read about the changes here.

7: Atlas Poetica is seeking submissions of cherita, “a cousin of tanka invented nearly 20 years ago”. Cherita comprises of six lines in three stanzas – a single first line, the next two lines appear together, the final three lines appear together. AP27   is also be interested in articles on cherita and the review of books and websites of cherita. Anyone who has published a book of cherita is invited to send a book note for the issue. Full details from the website.

8: The Sunflower Collective is a new, online journal from New Delhi and is seeking submissions, on a rolling basis, of poetry including haiku and tanka. Editor Goirick Brahmachari says: “We would like to mention at the outset that we are not interested in art that does not take risks… Nor do we care which journals have published your work before. All we are interested in is something that sings for itself without any props, something that grabs us by our throat and refuses to let go, something that shakes us out of our complacent stupor.”
Submit: At any time, see the website for details.

9: Presence has appointed Alison Williams as Tanka Editor. The UK journal has also changed its submission window and set new maximums for submissions. See the website for details.


To Sandra Simpson who has been placed Second in the Martin Lucas Haiku Award (UK) with

Christmas eve –
the pop-up book’s manger
missing its baby

Read all the winning poems and judge’s comments here. There were 477 haiku from 80 poets.

To Sandra Simpson who has a photo haiku featured in the December 31 broadcast of NHK Haiku Masters (Japan, in English). Episode 10 is available on demand until February 27, watch it here. (Sandra’s photo haiku appears about the 20-minute mark.)

To Ernie Berry (First), Aalix Roake (Second) and Sandra Simpson and Andre Surridge (both Honourable Mentions) in the Autumn Moon Contest (US). There were 150 haiku entered.

she tunes her violin
to the moon

– Ernest J Berry

sharp chirps of the last crickets autumn moon

– Aalix Roake

Read all the winning poems here.

To Jenny Fraser who has received an Honourable Mention in the Japan-Russia Haiku Contest (Japan) with

shifting light of winter sun the withered reeds

In the English section there were 382 haiku entered from 227 poets in 51 countries. Read all the winning poems here – English section towards the bottom of the page.

Other Contest results:

Little Haiku Contest: Pulses (Croatia), haiku from 98 authors.

Kusamakura Haiku Contest (Japan)

HPNC Haiku, Tanka & Senryu contests  (US), scroll down to see the results.

KYSO Flash Haibun & Tanka Prose contests (US)

Print Express Haiku Contest (UK)

Japan Information & Culture Centre Contest (US), 475 entries from 30 countries.

Polish International Haiku Contest (Poland), 396 authors from 57 countries, a record

Irish Haiku Society Contest (Ireland), 300+ haiku entered

HIA Haiku Contest (Japan)

Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest (US)

The Heron’s Nest Illustration Contest (US)

Porad Haiku Award (US)

Books, New & Noted

1: Naad Anunaad – an anthology of contemporary world haiku

Edited by Kala Ramesh, Sanjuktaa Asopa and Shloka Shankar. Read a selection of the haiku hereOrder a copy here if you live in India or from here if you live outside India. And it’s now also available on Amazon.

2: The Windbreak Pine by Wally Swist

New in 2017 from Snapshot Press, the volume includes 116 previously unpublished haiku written between 1985 and 2015, and is the author’s first collection since 2005. Read more and order here.

3: Seven Suns / Seven Moons by Michael Dylan Welch and Tanya McDonald

Read more, and order, here.

4: Learning to Write Haiku

NZPS member Katherine Raine has done a brilliant job in compiling a 47-page booklet for those teaching and wanting to teach haiku. Find a pdf document here. Not only does Learning to Write Haiku offer sound information and advice, it also features a number of prize-winning haiku from past NZPS Junior Haiku Contests as exemplars. Please make sure all the teachers you know receive the link!


1: Asian Conference on Literature, 2017

March 30-April 2 in Kobe, Japan. Full details here.

2: Haiku Canada Weekend 2017

May 19-21, University of Toronto, Mississauga campus. Full details here.

3: Haiku North America 2017

September 13-17, Santa Fe, New Mexico. More details posted here.

4: World Haiku Association Conference 2017

To be held in Parma, Italy. More details will be posted here.