Haiku Happenings

jap anemone art

Windflowers, or Japanese anemones. Photo: Sandra Simpson, digitally altered using PhotoMania

April 2019:  I didn’t amend the most recent posting after the March 15 killings in Christchurch – mostly because I had no idea what to say, other than how bloody tragic it all is.

war in Syria –
how dare i write about

Dick Whyte, from number eight wire

Our Prime Minister has, on the other hand, known exactly what to say, what to do and how to say it. She and the Muslims of Christchurch and New Zealand have led by example with their generosity and kindness and so instead of finger-pointing, recrimination and fear, out of this terrible thing has come aroha nui (much love).

The world keeps turning and even as we mourn those killed, Christchurch will soon be coloured by the glories of autumn (how well I remember the beautiful days of Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2008) and nature may, at last, provide some comfort.

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

The Article remains the same this month, so if you haven’t yet read Haiku Diction: The use of words in haiku by Charles Trumbull, get going!

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

Fourth NZ Haiku Anthology

anthology cover - Copy

number eight wire is a 150-page book containing 330 haiku by 70 poets of all ages and surveys the period 2008-18. Read ordering details here. Previous anthologies have been published in 1993, 1998 and 2008.

Editors Sandra Simpson and Margaret Beverland are thrilled with the content from names both well-known and emerging voices.

They thank Windrift haiku group, Small White Teapot haiku group, NZ Poetry Society and Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012 for the seed funding that has helped bring the project to fruition.

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Haiku anthology co-editors Margaret Beverland (left) and Sandra Simpson (right) with haiku supporter Elaine Fisher of Katikati. Photo: Keith Frentz

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Andre Surridge (Hamilton, front) and Harry Frentz (Tauranga) at the launch. Photo: Sandra Simpson

See more photos from the launch here.

Tony Beyer has been interviewed by Taranaki Daily News about his involvement and the piece is available on the Stuff website. Read it here.

Well done, Evie

One of the contributors to number eight wire is Evie Johnson, a young woman with vision and a social conscience. Read here about how the Christchurch schoolgirl harnessed her talent for haiku to fundraise more than $1500 for Unicef.

Kirsten Cliff Elliot Collection

Kirsten writes: “My collection Patient Property: a journey through leukaemia is out this month, published by Velvet Dusk Publishing, a new US indie publisher started by Christine L. Villa: Patient Property includes 61 haiku and tanka, with a foreword by Owen Bullock and an afterword by Patricia Prime.

“The launch of my book is happening online via Facebook on Easter Sunday, from 1-3pm. It’s a public event, so I believe that even someone not on Facebook can see what’s happening. Here’s the link. Ordering details coming soon.”

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

Donald Keene, 1922-2019

The renowned expert on Japanese literature died in a Tokyo Hospital on February 24. Born in New York, Prof. Keene moved to Japan in 2011 and became a citizen the next year.

He graduated from Columbia University, where he began to study age 16, in 1941. After the Pearl Harbour attack, the pacifist heard that Japanese language was essential to the US war effort, but there were not enough proficient speakers so he applied for the US Navy Japanese school, studying for a year from February 1942 and then serving in the US Navy as a translator and interpreter of Japanese.

From 1948 to 1953 he taught Japanese at Cambridge University, undertook postgraduate study at Kyoto University, before returning to Columbia University in 1955 where he remained until 1992, retiring as a Professor Emeritus.

Among his many books were biographies of haiku poet Masaoka Shiki (The Winter Sun Shines In) and tanka poet Ishikawa Takuboku (The First Modern Japanese). Read a 2019 profile of Donald Keene here. And see a list of his books (with descriptions) here.

Haibun Workshop (US)

Haibun Workshop with Stanford M Forrester, May 4, in Hartford Connecticut, $US75. 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.

Publication & Contest News

1: Online journal KYSO Flash is looking for haibun and tanka prose for its next issue.
Submit: June 1-July 31. Full details from the website.

2: The Vladimir Devide Haiku Award is on hiatus this year (normally closes in March).

3: Colin Stewart Jones has taken the role of haibun, haiga and visual haiku editor with Under the Basho Journal.
Submit: March 1-November 15 for the 2019 edition. Full details from the website.


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.

Contest results

British Haiku Society Awards (437 haiku, 128 tanka, 46 haibun (no entries from New Zealand); opens as a pdf)

Touchstone Haiku Awards, shortlist (announced April 17)

Wild Plum Haiku Contest (Poland, 257 entries)

Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (US, 2,000 entries from 51 countries) The pdf file contains all the winning haiku as small posters.

Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest (haiga, 327 entries) (Japan)

Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest (haiku, 1,256 entries) (Japan)

DavenTree Ekphrastic Writing Challenge (US)

Martin Lucas Haiku Award (UK, 382 entries)

World Haiku Contest (US)

Books, New & Noted

1: would that that’d never been be is a book of ‘parallel haiku’ by Brendan Slater presenting many possibilities for the reader. Read them in the direction of your choice – either down the page or across two. “With this, his first book, Brendan Slater, who is owner of Yet To Be Named Free Press and editor of moongarlic haiku magazine, stamps his own unique style and distinctive voice on the world of haiku”, says publisher Gean Tree Press. The book, which was first published in 2013 now has a “special surprise feature” at the end. Read more, including purchase details, here. Available to read online for a limited period.

2: 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  available.

3: 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.

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

5: 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: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

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

2: Haiku Canada 

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

3: BHS International Haiku Conference 

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

4: Haiku North America 

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

5: World Haiku Association 

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

6: Haiku Northwest Getaway

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