Haiku Happenings

A view from Stormy Point in Rangitikei, one of the best-preserved series of river terraces in the world! The oldest terrace was formed more than 350,000 years ago. The lookout is on SH54 between Vinegar Hill and Feilding. Photo: Sandra Simpson

September 2022: My thoughts have been with all those affected by the ‘atmospheric river’ of weather in August. As if record rainfall in many places all this winter wasn’t enough, the rainfall decided to really re-write the record books. Poor farmers, poor flooded home-owners and residents, poor whenua/land. Our little corner of the world has hardly been affected by global standards though, with the reporting at the end of August of massive flooding in Pakistan and record heatwaves in China. What use is haiku when we’re living through such unpredictable times (and with a war grinding on in Ukraine)?

All I can say is that I take heart from haiku, even when I’m not writing very much, I still enjoy reading. Making a cup of tea, pulling a book from the shelf I haven’t opened in a while (as, sometimes, in years), and finding somewhere comfortable and quiet is a treat. ‘Thy still dews of quietness,’ as one of my favourite hymns has it.

Charles Trumbull offers us this month’s article, which is a grounding in the ‘why’ of 5-7-5 in English-language haiku (whether that’s a question or a slightly subdued scream!). A good piece to read with that cuppa. Contest listings have been updated to the end of November and don’t forget to check the Publications page as another source of outlets for your work.

If you’re looking for some reading material or would like to spend some time with articles previously published here, please go to the index of Archived Articles; or try out the index for Websites & Resources, which includes links to Youtube videos.

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

Japan-related events in NZ

September 24: Haiku Workshop with Richard von Sturmer, 10-11am, Cornwall Park, Auckland, free but as places are limited, registration is essential.

September 15-October 9 Blossom Valley, includes night viewings, Aston Norwood Gardens, Kaitoke, Wellington, entry charge.

September 24-26 & October 1-3 Cherry Blossom Festival, 9am-5pm, Tamahere, Hamilton, entry charge.

Haiku Down Under: What are you waiting for? Hop over to the website to register for this free online event, October 7-9, and see the programme. There is also a Facebook page.

October 28-November 6 Tea Ceremony, 10.30am-noon or 5-6.30pm, in an authentic Japanese Tea House, New Plymouth. Scroll to bottom for the individual days.

November 6: Japan Day, 11am-6pm, Trusts Arena, Henderson, Auckland.

Tanka poet Richard von Sturmer has been interviewed by Radio NZ about his new book Resonating Distances (Titus Books, $30), of tanka sequences followed by prose. Richard describes it thus: “Each of the five sections consists of 10 three- or four-part tanka sequences; from which the nouns have been excerpted and then employed as seeds with which to write the 10 prose pieces which follow”. Listen to the interview here (11 mins).

Publication & Contest News

1: Haiku North America 2023 is seeking submissions of unpublished haibun that may be suitable for being made into a very short film. Films will be screened at HNA2023 in a Haibun Film Festival.
Submit: By October 15, limit 2 haibun. Full details from the website.

2: Pages is a new literary journal edited by Anna Cates, which will consider haiku, tanka, haibun, etc.
Submit: Full details from the website.

3: The new online journal Babylon Sidedoor, edited by Alan Summers, includes haibun and ‘tanka story’ and accepts one submission per author per month.
Submit: Full details from the website.

4: The Akita International Haiku Contest has called it a day after 10 years and there won’t be a contest this year. Read more here.

5: After 15 years and 48 issues, Shamrock haiku journal has published for the final time. Editor Anatoly Kudryavitsky says the Shamrock website will continue to display all the materials published from January 2007 until the end of 2022.

6: Haiku Corner is a project by The Japan Society in the UK. There is an open call for haiku each week with one selected as Haiku of the Week and presented attractively on the website.
Submit: Full details from the website.

7: Under the Bashō has resumed publication after a break last year, and takes many forms of Japanese genre poetry, including haiku, tanka, haibun and haiga.
Submit: Until November 15, full details from the website.

8: The Haiku Reader is a new anthology for haiku/senryu based on nominations. To nominate your own work, you must also nominate the work of others. Poems my be published or unpublished. The anthology will be published next year.
Submit: By December 31, multiple submissions accepted. Full details from the website.


To Elaine Riddell who has received an Honourable Mention in the Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest (US) with

no access,
along the path . . .
a crop so heavy
the mandarin tree leans
on the shoulder of my fence

See all the winning tanka here.

To the Kiwi place-getters in this year’s New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku Contest, won by Scott Mason (US): Katherine Raine (second); Highly Commended: Anne Curran (2), Marion Moxham; Commended: Sandra Simpson, Peter Free, Marion Moxham, Sue Courtney. Read all the winning poems and judge’s comments here. The contest attracted 618 entries. Results of the Junior Haiku Contest are here.

To Adjei Agyeh-Baah who has published a chapbook, Scaring Crow, a collection of 102 crow-themed haiku. Read more here.

Contest results

Harold G Henderson Haiku Award (US)

Gerald Brady Senryu Contest (US)

HSA Haibun Award (US)

Gourds-theme Haiku Contest (Croatia, 512 poems entered)

Heliosparrow Semagram Contest (Japan)

Virtual Japan Fair Haiku Contest (US)

Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award (US, 2,767 poems entered)

Santoka Haiku Award (Serbia, 213 submissions). Santoka Haiga Award: Not given in 2022.

HSA Rengay Award (US)

New Books Noted

An Open Parenthesis by Philip Rowland (Isobar Press). The book gathers short poems into meticulously arranged sequences … [and] flexibly interweaves themes of city life, parenthood and poetics through a series of nine sections that can in the end be read as one long, book-length work. While drawing on the poet’s notable engagement with the haiku tradition, this collection moves into new areas and – as the title suggests – into a new openness and open-endedness. Read more and see ordering details here.

everything with an asterisk by Bruce Feingold (Red Moon Press). “When I finished my last collection, arrhythmia, in 2020 I felt a sense of completion and peace and had no stirring of another book within me. However, the multiple impacts of Covid, political disruption, the climate crisis and a series of personal losses juxtaposed with many personal and family blessings gave impetus to this collection.” $US20 (within the US) or $US25 if being sent anywhere else. Ordering details here.  

2022 Events

October 7-9 Haiku Down Under, a free online event with workshops and presentations.

October 15-16 Japan Writers Conference.

October 27-30 Seabeck Haiku Getaway, Washington state, US. In person.

2023 Haiku North America June 28-July 3, Hilton Netherland Plaza hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Free e-Books

Sci-Ku: Explorations into the Poetry of Science by Jay Friedenberg, published in 2020, is now free to read online.

Prune Juice Book of Senryu, published in 2019, celebrates 10 years of publishing English senryu from around the world by 85 of the online journal’s contributors. The ebook features 337 poems.

echoes 2, published in 2018, celebrates 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 e-books for free download and regularly adds new titles. Visit the website to choose a title.