Haiku Happenings


An old pond and a fairly old frog. May all your holiday haiku be classics! Photo: Sandra Simpson, taken at Te Puna Quarry Park, near Tauranga

January 2020: Welcome to a new year, I hope it’s been kind to you so far, notwithstanding that war may be imminent in the Middle East and large parts of Australia are on fire.

Our thoughts in New Zealand are with those in Australia being affected by these terrible fires – the hellish scenes on our nightly news are hardly believable. Lest we forget, there’s often a whiff of smoke or a taste of ash to remind us, carried across on the gale-force winds that have marked the start of our year.

Haiku NewZ, befitting the summer holiday season, has been partially updated. Haiku Happenings contains new information, as does the Contest listing. However, the monthly article by Gabriel Rosenstock, remains the same.

I attended the funeral of André Surridge in Hamilton on December 27 and was honoured to read one of his haiku, joining Celia Hope, Moira Cursey and Mac Miller. His family spoke so highly of him and recounted his life with fondness and gratitude. When the tributes below seem complete, I will print them out and send to his family.

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

New Zealand Bird Haiku Feature

Sonam Chhoki, editor of the cattails online journal, is extending a special invitation to haiku writers in New Zealand. “cattails, the UHTS journal, is looking to feature local and migratory birds (land or water) of New Zealand, in its April 2020 issue.” Please send up to 5  jpeg photos (minimum resolution of 200 dpi, 300 dpi best), including the name of the bird/birds and the location of where the bird is found /where the image was taken. Previous issues have featured images from Australia, India, North America and Europe. See the April 2019 issue with the focus on Australian birds (opens as a pdf).
Submit: By February 29 to Mike Montreuil and Sonam Chhoki.
Please note that the journal is seeking images only, not bird-theme haiku.

Imperial Poetry Reading

Every new year the Japanese Emperor and Empress each share a tanka at an Imperial Poetry Reading. This year was the first such event for the new Reiwa era. Read the English translations of the poems here.

Vale André Surridge, 1951-2019 

It is with great sadness that I report the death of haiku and tanka poet André Surridge on December 23 in Hamilton. André, who was born in England and emigrated to New Zealand in 1972, was already a successful playwright and long-form poet when he took a haiku workshop led by the late Cyril Childs in Petone in 2002. His first haiku, two of them, appeared in Kokako 2 in 2004 (then an annual publication).

André quickly went on to establish his name in the worlds of haiku and tanka, winning numerous awards and being published around the world. In 2011 he was featured in the A New Resonance series, published in the US, which celebrates ’emerging voices’ in English-language haiku, and in 2016 a tanka by André was painted on to public steps in Dunedin – and remains there today.

He was a genial participant in haiku gatherings around New Zealand – including the launch of number eight wire, the fourth NZ haiku anthology in March – and will be much missed by his local haiku and tanka groups in Hamilton.

After successfully coming through a gruelling treatment for leukaemia in 2017, André experienced the return of the disease in October. Earlier this year he published a collection of his haiku, one hundred petals (see more below).

Our good thoughts are with his wife Timmy and their family. If anyone would like to share their thoughts or memories of André, please email me and I will post them here. See his Showcase page here.

A memorial service for André took place in Hamilton on Saturday, December 28. His family spoke of him with great warmth and affection. Some of André’s haiku and tanka were shared by Celia Hope, Moira Cursey, Mac Miller, Sandra Simpson and celebrant Don Oliver.

reminding me I am dust this shaft of sunlight

– André Surridge, Valley Micropress 16.1, 2013

there’s no right or wrong
just what is …
a fork in the road
without a signpost

– André Surridge, Tanka Splendor Award (US), 2008

When I was producing Valley Micropress, one of the highlights most months was to receive a string of maybe 10 haiku from André. His writing always seemed to resonate with me and he was undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s top writers of haiku. He just had that knack of turning something ordinary into an extraordinary connection. He shared many beautiful images through his writing, and I often found myself deep in contemplation some time after I was meant to have completed editing his work and to have moved on to the next page! Thank you André for all those precious moments.

Tony Chad, Whiteman’s Valley

I only knew André for a brief time, but he made a difference to my haiku experience. I travelled across with André and Elaine to the launch of number eight wire. As you have noted he was a genial presence. He seemed to me a man of great depths and presence, someone who demanded high standards of himself. I will miss him.

Anne Curran, Hamilton

We will all miss André. He was a lovely man, wrote excellent haiku and tanka, which reflected his power of observation, and his wonderful sense of humour. I feel very sad that he has gone.

Margaret Beverland, Katikati

I remember André being present at many haiku gatherings over the years. He has indeed contributed much, and will be greatly missed.

Shirley May, Tauranga

The news saddens me greatly. I knew André on and off for about 40 years. I’m of an age to have been inured to the death of others – but not to someone like André. He was one of some I’ve been very grateful to have known during our journeys. He was always kind, gentle and generous. Definitely someone who left the world a better place for having been here. That is an understatement. I loved his writing.

Barry Smith, Hamilton

I am sad to hear of Andrė’s death. A gentle and philosophical poet. I am also thankful that he published one hundred petals (2019), despite illness. Now Andrė’s sharp awareness of the thinness between life and death sings more sharply.

icy wind
a shiver
in the blackbird’s song

– Andrė Surridge


its song
bigger than the graveyard
winter robin

– Andrė Surridge

Nola Borrell, Lower Hutt

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Andrė Surridge. Andrė and I became “email pals” after we were both selected to appear in A New Resonance 7: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Press, 2011).  We shared hundreds of correspondences covering a wide range of topics; from the monarch caterpillar count in his and Timmy’s garden, to the flora and fauna of Hamilton, to our favorite foods, to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and of course haiku.

This is an email, typifying our back-and-forths, from Andre that I received exactly one year ago today . . .

Dear Alan,

How wonderful to hear from you and thanks for the delightful poems.

It is Christmas here and fast approaching noon.  The weather today is kind, no rain so far.  We picked plums from the village tree across the road, one each.

For morning tea we had mocha with apricot and brandy tarts topped with brandy cream.

After our siesta we will go to Lake House to be with daughter Jill and family and enjoy Christmas dinner together.

Sadly not a monarch caterpillar, chrysalis or butterfly in sight today.

The last bone marrow biopsy in late November revealed that the leukemia is coming back.  I’m in good spirits.  This may be my last Christmas, maybe not, for it is a time of miracles.

My love to you and your family and best wishes this festive time and for 2019.


Andrė was such a good soul and poet and I treasure our correspondences. It was fun sharing haiku and comparing opposite seasons with him over the years.  He will continue to be an inspiration to me.

This is a tanka that Andrė sent me, published in Kokako 21 . . .

while you drive through snow
in night-time Massachusetts
I pass
cicada song
in the Waikato

Cheerz to you, my dear friend Andrė . . .

Alan S. Bridges, Littleton, Massachusetts, Christmas Eve, 2019

I had the opportunity of meeting Andrė a couple of times at the E-Ripple Haiku group in Hamilton. He was such a kind, friendly and creative person. May our good Lord give him a peaceful rest.

Adjei Agyeh-Baah, Hamilton

We knew of course he was ill and back in hospital but his passing is a great loss. I’m so pleased we swapped books and conversed a little about our mutual love of haiku. Andrė is a great loss to NZ and haiku community.

Ron Moss, Tasmania

I first met Andrė at Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2008 in Christchurch. I had been writing haiku for a couple of years and knew his name from publications such as Kokako. Although we both lived in Hamilton, I had never met him. After the festival we kept in touch through occasional emails and the Hamilton Poets Alive group.

Four years later, we were both at Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012 in Tauranga and a number of other Hamilton writers were there as well. I gave Andre a ride home and on the way we discussed how good it would be to have a Hamilton haiku group. Attending meetings was difficult for both of us: Andre had to watch his energy levels carefully and I was a full-time caregiver for my husband. We realised that an online haiku group of local writers could be the answer.

So began the e-ripples haiku group which has operated monthly ever since. Eighteen months after the start of the haiku group, a desire arose in 2014 to include tanka. Two online groups were unwieldy and circumstances had changed, so we chose face to face meeting for the tanka group, monthly in a cafe to share and discuss our tanka.

Andrė has been at the centre of the e-ripples haiku and tanka groups. With his generosity, personal warmth, encouragement and wise judgement he set the tone for the groups and because of his wit and sense of humour there has been a lot of laughter.. We have been enormously privileged to have within our group, a friend so respected and admired by the worldwide haiku and tanka communities. I am grateful that his haiku collection one hundred petals was published earlier this year.  I will miss Andrė enormously.

holding my breath
the length
of a skylark’s song

– Andrė Surridge, Second Prize, Robert Frost Haiku Contest 2007

Elaine Riddell, Hamilton

I am so sad to lose such a generous friend and mentor. I first met André when he started coming to our poetry group (Poets Alive), probably about 2005. I remember him reading his haiku and saying that he mostly wrote them as they were short and that’s all he could manage at that time with his energy level. I soon learnt there was more to writing 3 lines than met the eye! After trying one or two, André encouraged me to do more and to start submitting to Kokako. He generously presented a workshop on haiku at one of our group sessions and also through him we were encouraged to have Owen Bullock and Sandra Simpson come to Hamilton to do workshops. Later I joined ‘e-ripples’ and have continued to treasure André’s writing, friendship and mentoring.

Celia Hope, Hamilton

It was very sad to hear about the passing of André Surridge. I know he must have been a fine person because I spent 13 months in Hull as renga poet-in-residence, and there’s something very special about the city and its people.

I regularly come back to this haiku, not only because it touches on a single day, which is special in itself, but  because it’s packed with layers. A close reader and an empathic one, will continue to be astonished at how much is really here.

As With Words became Call of the Page we’ve continued to use this as a powerful example of looking beyond the words and into the human condition.

Remembrance Day –
the child insists on a poppy
for her doll

– André Surridge
With Words International Online Haiku Competition (2008), joint Third Prize

The ‘Remembrance Day’ haiku starts simply enough, but with a surprise in the ‘phrase’ part of the haiku. Many of us may think special memorial days are for ‘last century’s wars’ but without preaching, only showing, this poem reminds me that wars are still very much with us. I found that the scene with the little girl insisting on a poppy for her doll was very potent. Judge’s commentary here.

Alan Summers, UK, Call of the Page

I was privileged to share André’s company briefly at the launch of number eight wire. Every one around him relaxed in his genial presence. No matter how short the time was shared with him it felt like genuine friendship. He will be missed by many.

Catherine Mair, Katikati

Various members of the Small White Teapot Group had met André at various haiku get-togethers, liked him and admired his haiku. We are shocked and saddened to hear of his passing. For me personally, encountering his haiku in various publications as I often did, was like encountering André himself, it usually brought a smile to my face. It was only about a week ago that I read this one  in the Autumn Moon journal:

autumn moon
the rising aroma
of roast chestnuts

– Andrė Surridge

Barbara Strang, Christchurch

André was a treasured friend. We met through a poetry group and because of my short poems he suggested I may be interested in haiku. Over the years he became ‘my poet mentor’. We’d meet over coffee and he’d kindly suggest which of my haiku he particularly liked. This was a great support and I developed a better understanding of what creates a good haiku from his comments and excellent haiku.

In the earlier days because André had difficulty walking I’d coffee at his home. I found a bakery that sold top-rate doughnuts and there became a hilarious ceremony around ‘eating the doughnut’. André had such a wonderful capacity for humour and we would laugh and joke frequently.

The last time I saw André was in the Waikato Hospital in late October 2019. The nurses requested a short visit. Despite his serious ill health the meeting became just like we always had. Full of humor and fun. He said his mum kept phoning him from Britain to say ‘nil desperandum’. Then told me that for many years she’d sent Yorkshire tea over to him from England. Somehow, we came up with a chorus that with great glee we chanted:

nil desperandum
Yorkshire tea forever

And that’s what I kept chanting as I left. It seemed such a marvellous and uplifting statement.

It’s hard to think André won’t be with us and that I’ll not be able to share those special haiku meetings. He meant so much to me as a mentor and friend. His exceptional haiku, his encouragement, sense of humour, wit, graciousness and more. I shall deeply miss our special friendship.

passing clouds
the way thoughts
think themselves

– André Surridge, The Herons Nest, March 2019

Jenny Fraser, Mt Maunganui (formerly Hamilton)

I was saddened to learn today that André had died. Although we never met he was a great supporter of Poems in the Waiting Room, and was always happy for me to include his haiku in our seasonal cards. And then of course for our very first Poems on Steps – we used André’s tanka. It’s sited opposite the Dunedin Town Hall and has become a well known landmark in Dunedin. Please pass on my very sincere condolences to his family. I will miss our exchanges and his gentle humour.

Ruth Arnison, Dunedin

University of Waikato Writer-in-Residence

Congratulations to Richard von Sturmer who has been named as the 2020 University of Waikato writer-in-residence. Richard says he has two projects in mind for his tenure. Read more 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.

Publication, Contest & Event News

1: Words in Bloom  will see the Haiku Society of America partner with the Chicago Botanic Garden to include haiku on the grounds – every year, more than 1 million people visit the collection of  27 gardens and four natural areas, situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. Thirty-two haiku signs will be placed in four of the gardens and natural areas at various times throughout 2020 and into winter of 2021. To have your haiku considered for inclusions send no more than 2 unpublished haiku for each Garden (labelled with the Garden name) in the body of an email to Julie Warther  with “Haiku at CBG” in the subject line and including your name, full mailing address and email address (haiku in other languages are welcome but must include an English translation). Selected haiku poets will be notified via email no later than February 28.
Submit: By January 31.
To assist poets, the following links contain information about flora and fauna to be found in particular gardens during particular seasons:
English Walled Garden in spring
Suzanne S. Dixon Prairie in summer/early autumn
Native Plant Garden in summer/early autumn
Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden in late autumn/winter.

2: A new year and new short-form journal! Richard Gilbert has been in touch to announce The Haiku Sanctuary’s online poetry journal Heliosparrow, edited by himself and Clayton Beach. “We will have ongoing submissions and publish poems throughout the year. Heliosparrow is publishing short-form poetry of all sorts (not only haiku forms)”.
Submit: Full details from the website.

3: The recent issue (13.3) of Haibun Today will be the last. General editor Ray Rasmussen has published a statement about reasons for the closure.

4: Thankfully, as one haibun journal closes, another opens. Based in Ireland, The Haibun Journal is a print-only journal which comes out twice a year.
Submit: Full details from the website.

5: And it seems the news of the demise of Moonbathing tanka journal was premature! Editor Pamela A Babusci has heeded the pleas of poets and decided to continue for another year. See the Publications page for details on how to submit (women only).

6: New Jersey haiku poet and educator Jeff Hoagland has been announced as the new associate editor for The Heron’s Nest, replacing the late Paul MacNeil. Poets who previously submitted work to Paul should now submit to Jeff.

7: NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) is back in 2020 – its tenth anniversary! The premise is pretty simple, write a haiku a day for the month of February. Further details from the website.

8: 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.

9: Contemporary Haibun Online has a new managing editor from the next issue, Rich Youmans, who is replacing Bob Lucky. Some of the former Haibun Today editors are moving across to CHO – Terri French, Pat Prime and Tish Davis. Read the journal here, including how to submit.

New 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 and $NZ25 elsewhere (both including postage) – Andre is now kindly donating all proceeds to Kokako journal. To order a copy please email Elaine including your name, postal address and how you’re paying. Payment for New Zealand orders may be made by bank transfer to Kokako 12 3071 0355785 00 using ‘petals100’ in the reference line. Unfortunately, due to changes in NZ’s banking system cheques cannot be accepted. International orders may be made using PayPal, Elaine will reply with payment details. Read a review of one hundred petals 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.

5: 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.

6: 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.

7: 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).

8: 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.

9: 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.

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


To André Surridge who has received a share of Third in the Kusmakura Haiku Contest (Japan) with

the sweetness
of autumn rain…
surfacing koi

Read all the winning poems and judge’s comments here.

To Barbara Strang who has been Commended in the Polish International Haiku Contest (Poland, 360 poets entered) with

overnight frost
your whiskers glistening
in the morning sun

Read all the winning haiku and judge’s commentary here.

To Jenny Pyatt who has been short-listed for the Soap Haiku Contest (US, 750 entries) with

beaming smile, open arms
grand daughter
covered in dirt

Read all the short-list and winning poem 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.

Contest results

Morioka International Haiku Contest (Japan)

Irish Haiku Society Contest (Ireland, 320+ poets entered)

Where Tanka Prose Grows Contest (US)

Autumn Moon Haiku Contest (US)

Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest (US)

EU-Japan NewSpace2060 International Illustrated Haiku Competition All the entries (150+) will be sent into space in 2021.

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!

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 at Walker House in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, US.

Seabeck Haiku Getaway: October 29-November 1, Washington State, US. Tom Painting is the guest speaker at this annual Haiku Northwest event.

Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Annual Retreat: November, Pacific Grove, California, US.

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