Haiku Happenings

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A waxeye gathers nectar from an aloe flower. Photo: Sandra Simpson Please do not reuse without permission.

August 2017:  As I write the sun is shining, the sky is brilliantly blue and the air is crisp, to say the least. A Kiwi visiting Sydney this past week was startled (and delighted) to find the temperature was a balmy (barmy?) 26 degrees Celsius. The television weather maps for the week ahead show more rain on the way so we’re glad we topped up our firewood supply yesterday.

Two writers in the Tauranga area have decided to take up the mantle and compile a Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology to be published next year, a decade after the taste of nashi was launched in Christchurch at the Haiku Festival Aotearoa. Margaret Beverland and Sandra Simpson put together the 2012 HFA in Tauranga and see the publication of the anthology as their final step as organisers of that event. Details around submitting may be found below in Haiku Happenings.

Winners of this year’s NZPS International Haiku Contest were announced on July 31 and appear in Haiku Happenings below.

The Contest page listings have been updated, while this month’s article by Ruth Yarrow ponders the use of haiku to reflect world events, specifically the global financial crisis that began in 2008.

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

NZPS International Haiku Contest

Congratulations to the prizewinners in this annual contest – First place and the Jeanette Stace Memorial Award goes to Margaret Beverland of Katikati (she also has a Commended poem). Second Katherine Raine of Milton (also 2 Highly Commended and 5 Commended!); Third Simon Hanson of Australia; Fourth Jan Dobb (Australia, plus one Commended) and Fifth Catherine Bullock (Waihi, plus one Highly Commended).

sowing mustard seed …
the brush of a bumblebee
against my skin

– Margaret Beverland, First & the Jeanette Stace Memorial Award

Highly Commended: Barbara Strang (Christchurch); Cynthia Rowe (Australia, plus one Commended); Vanessa Proctor (Australia).

Commended: Nola Borrell (Lower Hutt); Ron C Moss (Australia) and Karen Peterson Butterworth (Waikanae).

Read all the winning poems and the judge’s report here. These and selected other haiku will be published in the NZPS anthology in November.

New Zealand Poetry Day

Find an event that’s near you on August 25 by using this link. National Poetry Day is this celebrating its 20th birthday.

Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology

Margaret Beverland and Sandra Simpson take great pleasure in announcing that a Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology is to be published next year. The anthology will come a decade after the publication of the taste of nashi, edited by Nola Borrell and Karen Peterson Butterworth, which itself followed the two national haiku anthologies  edited by Cyril Childs and published in 1993 and 1998.

New Zealand residents may submit up to 10 haiku/senryu that have been published since 2008, including publication details. The anthology is intended as a survey of New Zealand haiku over the past 10 years so submissions of fewer than 10 haiku are also welcome.

Closing date for submissions is April 30, 2018. The editors require that only one submission be made. Email submissions and/or queries to the editors at Fourth NZ Haiku Anthology.

Online Introduction to Writing Japanese Poetry

Naomi Beth Wakan is running a course covering haiku (poetry of the senses – probably the most difficult form of poetry to write) and tanka (poetry of the heart – the longest continually written poetry form). Participants will be introduced to an understanding of both these ways to express one’s self in poetry and will receive supportive critique of their writing from the instructor. This workshop is suitable for both experienced and emerging poets.

The course runs from September 11 to October 8, is limited to eight participants and costs US$160. Register interest and see full details at the website. Naomi Beth Wakan She is the author of the prize-winning book, Haiku: One Breath Poetry and is Poet Laureate of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada.

Naomi is also the author of a new book – The Way of Tanka (Shanti Arts Publishing, 2017, $US15.95).

Children’s Story told in Tanka

Garvey’s Choice is picking up awards in the US, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. Written by Nikki Grimes, the book tells the story – in tanka – of bullied, lonely Garvey and how he turns his life around through song. Read more about the book here. The author has chosen to use the 5-7-5-7-7 structure.

Free e-Books

Snapshot Press has added another five e-books to its recent offerings for free download – Stone Circles by Cynthia Rowe (haibun), A Fence Without Wire by Simon Chard (haiku), thronging cranes by Allan Burns (haiku), The Eternity of Waves by Susan Constable (tanka) and All the Windows Lit by Rich Youmans (haibun) join A Dawn of Ghosts by Thomas Powell (haiku), A Colour for Leaving by Cherie Hunter Day (tanka), Goodbye by Roger Jones (haibun) and the unseen arc by Kala Ramesh (tanka). Visit the website to choose a title. There are other, previously published titles also available.

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

Free Haiku Writing Help

Quendryth Young of Australia has penned A Haiku Workshop guide, made available for free download through the Sydney School of Arts, for those new to haiku or wanting to revisit their writing practice.

And don’t forget the excellent Learning to Write Haiku booklet put together by Katherine Raine for the NZ Poetry Society, which contains lesson plans for teachers, as well being a ‘teach yourself’ guide. Click on the link to download the document for free. 

Contest News


1: The next round of the Cine Haiku Competition begins on August 1. Weekly prizes and one annual prize. Winning films from the previous 2 rounds will be shown in July at Festival Cinehaiku in Gordes (France).
Submit: Full details from the website.

2: This year’s winner of the Babishai Haiku Prize, announced at a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda on August 6, is Kenyan writer Kariuki wa Nyamu at  2017.

The prize is open to African poets who had not published a full-length collection of poetry by July 2017 and is for Africa-themed haiku. Judges were Adjei Agyei-Baah, co-founder of the Africa Haiku Network; Mercy Ikuri, a landscape designer and award-winning haikuist, and Emmanuel Kalusian, editor of the Mamba Journal.

Second and third were Anthony Itopa Obaro (Nigeria) and Kuadegbeku Pamela (Ghana).

The winning haiku is:

last night’s rain
in the morning mud
fresh toad prints

– Kariuki wa Nyamu

Read more here.


To Sandra Simpson who has received an Honourable Mention in the Robert Spiess Haiku Award (US) with

summer solstice –
pulling the earth
back round a zinnia

Read all the winning poems and judge’s comments.

To the Kiwis included in the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum Haiku Contest (Japan) anthology – Ernest J Berry, Anne Curran, Oilvia Holdsworth, Steven Clarkson.

mother’s bedside
the cherry blossoms falling
for the last time

– Olivia Holdsworth

Read the collection, opens as a pdf; in the English section 185 poets with 354 haiku.

To Dick Whyte who is featured in New Resonance 10: Emerging Voices in English-language Haiku (Red Moon Press, click on the link for ordering information).

no jobs
in the paper again …
first snow

– Dick Whyte

To Sandra Simpson who has been short-listed in the H Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest (US) with

stored in her phone photos of the unborn child.

Read all the results here.

To Ernie Berry who has been Highly Commended in the Apokalipsa Haiku Contest (Slovenia) with

the novice folds and unfolds
her hands

To Ernie Berry who has been Highly Commended in the White Stork Haiku Contest (Croatia) with

white stork
the sacred script
a shade whiter

Read all the results here. Poems by 170 authors from 38 countries.

Other Contest results:

Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award (US), 1,624 haiku from 359 poets.

Mandy’s Annual Tanka Contest (US), 84 entries.

Ito-en Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest (Japan), 18,248 entries in the English section.

Tanka Time (US)

Jerry Kilbride Memorial Haibun Contest (US)

Cherry Blossom Haiku Contest (Bulgaria)

Jane Reichhold International Haiku Award (US)

Books, New & Noted

1: Bushfire Moon, by Ron C. Moss, is subtitled “poems and prose by a Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Fighter”. To order a signed copy, and inquire about postage, email Ron. The book was launched in Hobart on March 24, read the speech made by Lynn Reeves.

2: Blowing Up Balloons: Baby Poems For Parents (Red Moon Press, 2017) is a new collection by Vanessa Proctor and Greg Piko. New Zealanders can order the book directly from the authors, $NZ24 for a single copy (PayPal available). For more information email Vanessa or Greg. Read a review here.

3: Dust Devils is the latest Red Moon Anthology; a collection of “the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English” in a single calendar year. Dust Devils is $US17 (plus postage). Find an order form here.

4: River’s Edge by Owen Bullock was launched in Canberra in December. 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. Read a review here.

5: This Explains Everything by Richard von Sturmer is part memoir and part prose poem as he recounts scenes from the lives of his grandfather, father and uncle, as well as own. 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.

6: 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 was launched on February 18 in Beecroft, northern Sydney.

7: Journeys 2017, the third anthology of international haibun edited by Angelee Deodhar, is now available on Amazon. Journeys 2017 contains 133 haibun, the work of 29 poets of international repute.

8: 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.

9: 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.


1: World Haiku Association Conference 2017

September 8-10, Parma, Italy. See a pdf flyer here (6MB)

2: Haiku North America 2017

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

3: Haiku Gathering at Wild Graces

September 30, Deerfield, New Hampshire. Full details posted here.

4: Seabeck Haiku Getaway

October 26-29, Seabeck Conference Centre, Washington State. Details posted here.