Haiku Happenings

waitangi - copy

The New Zealand flag flies in central Tauranga. Photo: Sandra Simpson, please do not reuse without asking

February 2019:  February 6 is New Zealand’s national day, known here as Waitangi Day (the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and British was signed on February 6, 1840). Wikipedia has an informative page about our flag which was originally designed in 1869 and used on the colony’s ships but was quickly adopted as the national flag, and given statutory recognition in 1902.

The constellation featured on the flag is the Southern Cross, which is also used (with four or five stars) on the national flags of Australia, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. The Southern Cross is known by at least eight names in Māori (according to Wikipedia). Tainui Māori saw it as an anchor, named Te Punga, of a great sky canoe, while to Wairarapa Māori it was Māhutonga – an aperture in Te Ikaroa (the Milky Way) through which storm winds escaped.

The exact colours of the New Zealand flag are specified by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage as Pantone 186C (red), Pantone 280C (blue), and white.

After the sudden death of Aalix Roake in December, we must now also farewell Penny Pruden of Wellington. Read more below.

In this month’s article Michele Root-Bernstein, former co-editor of Frogpond, chews over the place of copying in creating. Well worth a read.

The Contest listing has been updated through to the beginning of May. Please remember that the list is refreshed as information comes to hand so it’s always worth checking back during the month.

Don’t forget that February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and, thanks to electronic communications, anyone, anywhere may join in. Read more below.

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.  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 them up to date if I can.

– Sandra

Vale Penny Pruden

Penny Pruden, much-loved and respected member of Windrift Haiku Group, Wellington died on January 7, aged 92. Windrift co-ordinator Nola Borrell says that until recently Penny played an active role, contributing as host, scribe, critic, and finding a ready source for haiku in the bird life near her Brooklyn home. “We enjoyed her pertinent comments.” Windrifters made such comments as: “Always so positive and encouraging and a sad loss to the group”; “So helpful to me, a great mentor”; and “A rare gem — I’ll truly miss her”.

all night   trying to sleep   going through my life history

Penny Pruden, Kokako 25 (2016)

Vale Aalix Roake

It is with sadness that we record the deaths of Aalix Roake (71) and her husband Richard (63) in a car crash near Rolleston in Canterbury on the morning of Wednesday, December 12.

Aalix, who was born in the US, came to New Zealand in 2002 and first lived in Waikato where she was involved with poetry groups. In 2016 she moved to Rolleston in Canterbury. She wrote in a number of styles, including haiku, tanka, science fiction, long-form poetry and technical work. Aalix was also an artist. Depending on the genre, she also used pen names, including Dana Bryce and variations of Sandra / SJ / Stuart Burkhardt.

Aalix won numerous awards for her haiku and her work has been included in several international anthologies. A selection of her poems will also appear in the forthcoming Fourth  NZ Haiku Anthology.

Read Aalix’s Haiku Showcase entry.

flute notes through the summer air sparrows

Aalix Roake, tinywords (2017)

The couple were cremated on December 18, with a memorial service held in Tauranga on February 16. Read the family notice here.

Fourth NZ Haiku Anthology

number eight wire has had the final corrections sent to the printer, yay! The volume includes the work of 70 poets and totals 330 haiku. The title comes courtesy of a haiku by Karen Peterson Butterworth.

Red Moon Anthology

The latest Red Moon Anthology- a hole in the light – has landed! Congratulations to Owen Bullock, Ben Clarkson, Jenny Fraser, Sandra Simpson, Andre Surridge and Patsy Turner who have haiku among the 179 featured. The annual anthologies, which also include essays, haibun and linked poems, claim to gather the best English-language haiku published in a calendar year. Ordering information here.

clouding over
the conversation turns
to cancer

Andre Surridge

Haiku Masters to End

The NHK (Japanese television) English-language programme Haiku Masters will, sadly, air its final broadcast in March. The programme has promoted the creation of ‘photo haiku’ with submitters either sending their own photo haiku or writing a haiku in response to a supplied photo. The series has also taken us around Japan.
Final submission: February 25.
Full details from the website.


February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and, thanks to electronic communications, anyone, anywhere may join in. The shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry. Read more here.

NZ Flash Fiction Day

To mark the occasion a contest is being held – maximum 300 words. Cash prizes in the adult section totalling $1500, plus winning and short-listed stories published. Judges are Siobhan Harvey and Lloyd Jones. Winners announced on June 22.
Closes: April 15.
Cost: $10/story or $24/3 stories.
Full details from the website.

A Haiku Poet in Pill (Wales)

Paul Chambers, editor of the Wales Haiku journal, took a visit to his hometown of Pill (part of Newport) and worked with some senior students on haiku. The area is often portrayed negatively in the media. Watch the BBC Wales film here (4 mins).

International Haiku Poetry Day

The Haiku Foundation has some ideas for individuals/groups/organisations to mark International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17.

HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival seeks submissions of slideshows/multi-media movies comprising 17 segments of 17 seconds each (enough time to read two haiku without rushing, according to the accompanying video). Watch it here.

The EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration will take place once again on April 17, using as its theme the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages.

NZ Poetry Day Seed Funding

If you have an idea for a National Poetry Day event (August 23), the organisers offer up to $200 in seed funding for free/koha/low-cost activities. Applications close on May 23. Read more here.

Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku

February 22 & 23, part of the Auckland Fringe Festival. “A new hour of story-telling from one of the most exciting emerging writers and comedians in the country” … “Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku is a tour-de-force of emotion, narrative and, most importantly, haiku … Can Uther be trusted to count 5,100 syllables correctly?” So not actual haiku then! Ticket details here.

Online Haiku Course

Intermediate: April 4-July 11, with Alan Summers. Five assignments and a maximum group of four, £145 (about $US184, $NZ273) if paid by March 7, otherwise £155. Full details from the website.

NZPS 2018 Anthology 

As of December 11 the 2018 NZPS anthology, The Unnecessary Invention of Punctuation, has sold out but names are being taken to decide whether to reprint. Read more here.

Spanish Haiku in Translation

Haiku from Iberia and Beyond is a 318-page anthology featuring poems originally written in Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Catalan and Galician, as well as a selection of haiku by first-generation Japanese migrants living in Latin America. Translated by Danny Blackwell, the volume include footnotes that contextualise the poems for an English-speaking audience. Read more, including purchase details, here. Kindle options are also available.

Publication & Contest News

1: Red River Book of Haibun is seeking submissions for the first of what is planned as an annual anthology. Send up to 3 haibun, published or unpublished, of up to 40 lines each. Authors selected for the anthology will receive a copy of the book.
Submit: By February 28. Full details from this website.

2: This French-language haiku contest is coming up:

3: Right Hand Pointing journal is doing a haiku/senryu edition with guest editor Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco.
Submit: By March 1. Full details from the website.

4: An Italian-language haiku contest for 5-7-5 poems:

5: Another Trip around the Sun: 365 Days of Haiku and Senryu for Children Young and Old is seeking submissions of season-themed poems. Send up to 15 poems for each season (northern seasons, the website contains a helpful list of which month is in which season). Payment for poems is a copy of the anthology (due out at the end of this year). Submissions sought from poets “at all levels”.
Submit: By March 31. Full details from the website.

6: After a year of being group edited, the BHS journal, Blithe Spirit, will in 2019 be edited by Caroline Skanne (also editor of her own journal, Hedgerow).

7: Atlas Poetica (tanka journal) is facing  the complete renewal of its website but editor M Kei has been able to hire a technical assistant. Read more here.


To Andre Surridge who has been placed Second equal in the Fujisan Tanka Contest (Japan) and Mac Miller, who has received an Honourable Mention in the same contest.

beautiful Mt. Fuji
the bullet train
appears to tilt to the right
as if in reverence

Andre Surridge

Read all the winning tanka here (opens as a very large pdf)

To Sandra Simpson who has been placed First in the Little Haiku Contest (Croatia) and Jenny Fraser who has a poem Commended in the same contest.

twilight –
humming as i weed
around the hive

Sandra Simpson

Read all the winning haiku here (409 haiku entered).

To Anne Curran who has had a haiku selected in the Basho-an International English Haiku Contest (Japan).

he waits for me
in the shade of the bushes –
summer fling

Read all the winning poems here (662 haiku entered). Anne’s poem is in Mr Hasegawa’s selection.

To Ben Clarkson (Taupo/Dunedin) who is a Prize Winner selected by Toshio Kimura in the Haiku International Association Contest (Japan). Ben’s haiku is

ducklings and blossoms
mingle in the pond
small talk I don’t understand

Read all the winning poems here.

Contest results

World Haiku Contest (US)

Polish International Haiku Contest

Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest (Japan, opens as a pdf)

Irish Haiku Society Contest

Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest (US)

Kusamakura Haiku Contest (Japan)

Books, New & Noted

1: Wishbone Moon ($US17, Jacar Press, 2018), edited by Roberta Beary, Ellen Compton and Kala Ramesh, an anthology of haiku by women in the international haiku community. Order from the website.

2: Persimmon edited by Stephen Henry Gill ($US18, Hailstone Haiku Circle, 2017). Read a review by Vanessa Proctor.

3: The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and See the World with New Eyes edited by Scott Mason, associate editor at The Heron’s Nest. The book has received high praise from Cor van den Heuval and Michael McClintock. “… it shows how the mindful and pleasurable practice of reading haiku poetry can help us reconnect with the everyday wonder we may have last experienced as children.” Read more, and order, here. 

Free e-Books

echoes 2 is a new e-book to celebrate 20 years of the Red Moon Press series, New Resonances, which introduces up-and-coming haiku poets. The 10th biennial volume was published in 2017, bringing the total number of poets featured across the 20 years to 170. echoes 2  includes work from all 10 volumes.

Snapshot Press has a number of recent e-books for free download. Visit the website to choose a title.

Ancient Bloodlines is a free e-book of collaborative rengay by Simon Hanson and Ron C Moss, plus artwork by Ron. Download here.


1: The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities 

March 29-31, Tokyo, Japan. For full details see the website.

2: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

April 4-27, Vancouver, BC, Canada, includes readings of the 2018 Haiku Invitational winners.

3: Haiku Canada 

May 17-19, University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, Vancouver. Further details from the website.

4: BHS International Haiku Conference 

May 31-June 2, St Albans, UK (close to London). Further details from the BHS Facebook page (no login necessary).

5: Haiku North America 

August 7-11, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. See the website.

6: World Haiku Association 

September 13-15, Tokyo.  The 10th conference marks the WHA’s 20th anniversary. See the website.

7: Haiku Northwest Getaway

October 24-27, Seabeck, Washington state, US. Further details from the website.