Haiku Happenings

A northern royal albatross chick at Tairoa Head, Otago Peninsula, seen from a hide at the Royal Albatross Centre, the world’s only mainland breeding site of these magnificent birds. Photo: Sandra Simpson

May 2022: Just back from 2 weeks in the deep south of New Zealand – Otago Peninsula, the Catlins, Southland and Stewart Island / Rakiura, my first visit to the country’s third main island. The weather veered from warm sunshine to stinging, sideways rain, sometimes all in a matter of minutes, but mostly we were blessed with travelling weather (less said about the outward flight across Foveaux Strait the better; the return leg was fine). The trip to Rakiura was a happy byproduct of Covid. Unable to get to the Chatham Islands due to Auckland’s long lockdown last year, we decided to try for Stewart Island instead, further spurred by the re-opening of our borders to international tourists. Expressing interest in some plants in Oban, I had seeds given to me by the gardener, and almost said, ‘I can’t take those into New Zealand’, as it truly does feel like ‘somewhere else’. On a wet day Rakiura Museum in Oban and Te Hikoi Museum in Riverton are both recommended as fine examples of local storytelling done extremely well.

Having made jottings that may or may not lead to haiku, I will soon be revisiting Katherine Raine’s Learning to Write haiku pdf booklet as a refresher to help me focus my efforts. This month’s article by award-winning poet Brad Bennett is also a timely reminder/introduction as we prepare our entries for various contests, but particularly the New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Contest, as the author takes us back to first principles.

Contest listings have been updated through to the end of July but will likely be added to as the month progresses to cater for a couple of short lead-in contests that advise their closing dates this month. Don’t forget the Publications page as another source of outlets for your work and scroll down to the Publication news on this page to see some one-off opportunities.

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

The Four Seasons: Spring

During Spring 2021 seven Dunedin artists were invited to use the Botanic Garden as a springboard for creating work in their chosen medium. Ron C Moss, a Tasmanian poet who was brought up in Dunedin, has created haiku to complement the artworks – and made a film (3:25). The exhibition, the brainchild of Ruth Arnison and featuring work by Allie Simpson, Derek Morrison, Jill Bowie, Jo Bone, Pauline Bellamy, Phoebe Thompson and Sheryl McCammon, is open 10am-4pm daily until June 30. See it at the Dunedin Botanic Garden Information Centre.

Japan-theme Events in New Zealand

May 21: Sakura, 7.30-10.30pm, 853 Colombo St, Christchurch, $15. Addington Brass, Canterbury Japanese Choir and Takumi Japanese Drumming Group.

June 18: Japan Festival, 11.30am-6.30pm, TSB Arena/Shed 6, Wellington, free.

Publication & Contest News

1: The theme of this year’s Asian zodiac haiku anthology is Year of the Tiger and will be called Rip-roaring Haiku. Editor Corine Timmer each year supports an animal charity to support and this time it is the Wildcats Conservation Alliance.
Submit: Up to 3 haiku until May 31, full details from the website.

2: A New Resonance 12, which includes Kiwi poet Jenny Fraser, has received an Honourable Mention in the anthology category of the Haiku Society of America Book Awards. This iteration in the New Resonance Series from Red Moon Press features 17 ’emerging voices’ in English-language haiku. For those in New Zealand and Australia, contact Jenny to buy a copy.

3: The Heron’s Nest has an editor change. The June issue will be the final one for Cherie Hunter Day, who is stepping down after 4 years. Anne Burgevin comes on board to begin selecting in June for the September issue. Anne’s contact details can be found on the submissions page.

4: cattails has welcomed Dhaatri Vengunad Menon as resident cartoonist with the current issue. ‘The credits for the beautiful header and our social media handles go to her.’ Read the journal here.

5: string theory, the Red Moon anthology of the best English-language haiku published around the world in 2021, is now available and includes work by Sandra Simpson (New Zealand) and Marietta McGregor, Paul Murray and Liv Saint James (Australia). Purchase details here.

6: 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.

7: 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 former Kokako editor Joanna Preston whose book of long-form poetry, Tumble (Otago University Press), has won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the Ockham Book Awards. Read more here.

To Owen Bullock who has a haibun included in the 2022 Poetry New Zealand Yearbook.

To Barbara Strang who is a runner-up in the Snapshot Press Calendar Contest (UK). Her haiku will appear in the 2023 desk calendar. See the names of all the winners here.

To Jenny Fraser who has a haiku on the longlist for the Touchstone Poem Award (The Haiku Foundation):

bringing the mountain
with it
the spring wind

The longlisted poems did not move forward to the shortlist. Read the explanation and full longlist here. See the awarded poems and the shortlist below.

To Jenny Fraser, Peter Free and Sandra Simpson who all have haiku featured on signboards in Washington DC until early May. The Golden Triangle Haiku Contest this year received more than 2,900 submissions from 71 countries.

buds full of spring
at the end of this long road
is another road

Peter Free

See the winning haiku and those selected for the more than 200 signboards here.

Contest results

Betty Drevniok Haiku Award (Canada)

Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest (Romania)

Basho-an Haiku Contest (Japan, 15,562 poems)

Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems (THF)

Touchstone Awards for Books (THF)

Haiku Hike Contest (US)

BHS Awards – haiku, tanka & haibun (UK)

Maya Lyubenova Haiku Contest (Bulgaria)

Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest Set Theme (Japan)

Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest (Japan)

AHA Haiku Contest (US)

Little Iris Haiku Contest (Croatia)

Africa Haiku Prize

Polish International Haiku Contest

Snapshot Press Book Award (UK)

2022 Events

May Haiku Canada Weekend postponed to 2023. Read more here.

August 5-7 Cradle of American Haiku, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In person.

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.

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.