Haiku Happenings

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A garden festival table setting on the Bureta foreshore in Tauranga, with Mauao as a backdrop. Photo: Sandra Simpson

November 2019: All the garden festivals on in November have inspired this month’s photo – hope you can get out and find one to enjoy. There’s nothing nicer than enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labours!

And there are plenty of Contests to enter if you find yourself coming over poetic in a garden with the Contest listing updated to the end of January. Haiku Happenings, below, notes both the final iteration of the Moonbathing journal of women’s tanka and its associated contest, and the outstanding success of young New Zealand haiku writers in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational.

This month’s article is a plea from Susumu Takiguchito to throw away ‘the template’ when composing haiku.

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

2019 NZPS Anthology Launch

The Perfect Weight of Blankets at Night, edited by Raewyn Alexander, will be launched on Saturday, November 16 at 5.30pm at the Grey Lynn Community Centre in Auckland. RSVP by October 30 (by email).

Haiku Hike

Join outgoing NZ Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh on a free 4-hour ‘Haiku Hike’ as part of the Waiheke Island Walking Festival. From 9.30am on November 19, a decent level of fitness required. Further details here.

Haiku are not a Joke

The Spinoff has published an article about haiku by Sandra Simpson, prompted by a previous posting of a collection so-called haiku as the site’s regular Friday Poem. The fact Sandra’s article was published on Halloween means … 🙂 The author of the original ‘haiku’ gets a right of reply, so that may be interesting.

Yep, here’s the right of reply saying … well, read it for yourself.

Vale Paul MacNeil 1948-2019

Paul will be well-known as one of the associate editors of The Heron’s Nest online journal, where he was a faithful correspondent with those poets assigned to submit to him, and a great supporter and encourager.

According to his Haiku Registry entry at The Haiku Foundation: After battling pancreatic cancer for the past three months, Paul MacNeil passed away peacefully on October 30, 2019 in in Colorado, where he spent his final days in the company of his daughter, Meghan, her husband Aaron, and his twin granddaughters. He was 71 years old.

NZ Haiku Books

1: one hundred petals is a collection of 100 haiku and senryu by André Surridge, the Hamilton poet’s first collection.  The 64-page book is printed on recycled paper and is available for $20 within New Zealand (includes postage) and $NZ25 elsewhere. To order a copy email André. Read a review here.

2: Kirsten Cliff Elliot has published a collection, Patient Property: a journey through leukaemia through Velvet Dusk Publishing, a new US indie publisher. Patient Property includes 61 haiku and tanka, with a foreword by Owen Bullock and an afterword by Patricia Prime. Purchase from the publisher or from Kirsten ($20 , including postage within New Zealand, or $NZ25 for overseas). Email Kirsten for details.

3: number eight wire is the fourth NZ haiku anthology, containing 330 haiku by 70 poets of all ages and surveys the period 2008-18. Read ordering details here. The first review has been published, on the Australia Haiku Society website. Read Vanessa Proctor’s thoughts here. Short reviews are also available in Frogpond 42.2 and Modern Haiku 50.2.

The editors of number eight wire wish to apologise for the following errors contained in the volume: The haiku that appears on p104 credited to Rosemary Scott was, in fact, written by Lynn Tara Austin. Kirsten Cliff Elliot’s first name has been spelled incorrectly throughout the volume, apart from the bio notes at the end. Elaine Riddell’s haiku on p87 should be set out to resemble a star. Which rather reinforces the editors’ decision that this volume was their one and only foray into publishing an anthology!

4: Summer Haiku is a new collection from expat Kiwi Owen Bullock. Read more and how to order here ($A8.95). Read a review here.

Books New & Noted

1: Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 days of haiku for children young and old is published on November 9 by Brooks Books. Edited by Jessica Latham Malone, the book has a pre-order special offer – $US24 for the books and a 20% discount on shipping ($US15 for outside North America). Ordering details here.

2: Hog Wild, edited by Corine Timmer, is an anthology celebrating the Year of the Pig (46 haiku by 40 poets), with proceeds going to an animal charity in the UK. Ordering details here.

3: All the Way Home: Aging in haiku, edited by Robert Epstein (Middle Island Press), is an anthology available only through Amazon (and its associated companies including Book Depository).

4: NOON: An anthology of short poems has been reviewed for Haiku NewZ by Tony Beyer. Read the review here. The anthology is a collection of work published both in print and online by NOON: Journal of the short poem from 2004-17.

5: Broken Starfish is a new volume of haiku and art by Ron C Moss of Tasmania. Read more, and how to order, here. Ron has generously offered buyers in New Zealand the same price as that for Australia, $A22 (includes postage). Read a review here.

6: field of stars is a new collection of haiku and senryu by Lynn Reeves of Tasmania. Read more and see ordering details here.

7: Richard von Sturmer has created Postcard Stories, a collection of 100 old postcards matched with tanka-like poems or text. It was selected as Book of the Week by Newsroom in June. Read that article here.

Publication, Contest & Event News

1: Pamela Babusci, editor of Moonbathing, a print journal of women’s tanka, has advised that this year’s contest (closes November 15) will be the last and that the next issue of Moonbathing will also be the last. Go to the Contests page.

2: Kokako editors advise that subscriptions starting with issue 32 (to be published in April) will rise to: $35 (NZ); $A35 (Australia and Pacific) and $US35 rest of the world. See Publications for further details.

3: Robert Epstein is calling for submissions for an anthology of Signature Haiku (also senryu or tanka): “What is a signature haiku, you ask? Well, it’s one of those poems that you regard as your best, one that defines you as a poet or by which you wish to be remembered.” Unpublished poems accepted but only one poem only per contributor. Submitters must have had at least one haiku/senryu/tanka previously published in print or online. Your submission may include up to one paragraph of commentary about the poem, which is subject to editing. No remuneration for inclusion.
Submit: By December 31 to Robert Epstein.

4: Contemporary Haibun Online has a new editor-in-chief from the next issue, Rich Youmans. Read the journal here.

4: On October 6 Canadian poet Michael Dudley, who was recently in New Zealand, gave a reading in Ivanic-Grad, Croatia, with Dejan Pavlinović and Tomislav Maretić of their ‘Nexus Haiku’, composed collaboratively over the course of a year. Read more here.


To all the winners and placegetters in the NZPS International Haiku Contest (NZ).

Senior (judge Greg Piko, 532 entries): Jac Jenkins (Kohukohu, Hokianga) First & Jeanette Stace Memorial Award; Katherine Raine (Milton, Otago) Second; Vanessa Proctor (Sydney) Third; Sandra Simpson (Tauranga) Fourth; Laurel Astle (Australia) Fifth.

Highly Commended: Katherine Raine (2); Scott Mason (US); Nola Borrell (Lower Hutt, 3); Barbara Strang (Christchurch, 2); Debbie Strange (Canada, 2).

Commended: Vanessa Proctor; Laurel Astle; Barbara Strang; Margaret Beverland (Katikati); Keith Nunes (Pahiatua); Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui); Marion Moxham (Palmerston North, 2); Elaine Riddell (Hamilton, 2); Patsy Turner (Akaroa); Catherine Bullock (Waihi).

Junior (judge Anne Curran, 214 entries): Primary/Intermediate: Nikita Ballard (Waiheke Island) First; all other winners are from Christchurch! … Ameer Livne Second; Susanne Rajapaksha Third. Secondary: Evie Johnson First & Jeanette Stace Memorial Award; Finnian Bierwirth Second; Katie Zhang Third.

Read judges’ comments here.

To the New Zealanders with poems selected for the book of the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum Haiku Contest (Japan, 1277 haiku submitted – Ben Clarkson, Steve Clarkson, Barbara Strang, Andre Surridge, Keith Nunes and Farhan Behden. Read it here (opens as a pdf).

Contest results

Rugby World Cup Haiku Contest (Ireland, link takes you to Twitter)

Reichhold Haiga Competition (US, opens as a pdf)

Fleeting Words Tanka Contest (US, 414 poems entered)

Porad Award (US, 566 poems entered)

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (Canada), please note the extraordinary number of young writers from Canterbury who received Youth Sakura Awards and Youth Honourable Mentions!

Harold G Henderson Haiku Award (US)

Gerald Brady Award for Senryu (US)

HSA Haibun Award (US)

HSA Merit Book Awards (US)

Morioka International Haiku Contest (Japan)

Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest (US)

Kaji Aso Haiku Contest (US)

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.


Cradle of American Haiku: August 7-9, 2020 at Walker House in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Haiku North America 2021: Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, Canada.