Haiku Happenings

yellow admiral - Copy

A yellow admiral butterfly enjoys a forage. The Māori name for the insect is kahukowhai, or yellow cloak. Photo: Sandra Simpson

November 2020: As of October 7 all of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. See the official website for restrictions.

Every day there seems to be something new unfurling in the garden – first the tree blossoms and fresh leaves, now the rengarenga lilies, roses and irises, with dahlias, lilies and hydrangeas still to come. No wonder poets have been going bonkers over this season for centuries. I hope your writing brain/elbow has been jogged by the abundance, which includes beautiful and sustained bird song.

If you are in a productive phase, check out the Contest listing which has been updated to the end of January – and on the same page is a link to a list of publications. Don’t let your work sit in a drawer, send it out into the world! What’s the worst that can happen?

This month’s article is a compilation of thoughts on senryu, mostly by Sususum Takiguchi, acting editor of the World Haiku Review. He sets out pretty clearly the attributes of this verse form, which is all too often seen as inferior to haiku. Don’t be fooled, they’re just as difficult to write well!

Further down this page you’ll see that Scott Mason, editor of the new book The Haiku Hecameron, has a special offer on until the end of November – buy two copies and receive a third for free. And that there’s another collection of coronavirus haiku planned, this one more directly inspired by the pandemic.

If you feel like you’re running out of 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

NZPS 2020 Anthology

The 2020 NZ Poetry Society anthology, Haumi ē! Hui ē! Tāiki ē! Stay Well Here, is now available. Read more, and find an order form, here.

Vale David Cobb, 1926-2020

David, who had been in hospital for a little while in the period leading up to his death on November 11, was one of the leading lights of haiku in the UK, but, as I can attest, was someone who was supportive of anyone who reached out to him.

David has been a good friend to Haiku NewZ, kindly allowing his essays to be published here (the most recent being in October 2020), while in 2011 selected his Favourite Haiku for that feature.

David made a teaching research trip to Japan in 1977 and, with the encouragement of a local high school teacher, began to learn how to write haiku. In 1989 he helped establish the British Haiku Society, serving as secretary (1990-97) and president (1997-2002). He started the BHS newsletter and its magazine, Blithe Spirit.

nearby in the dark
someone calls someone else
using my name

David Cobb

His haiku and haibun have received numerous international awards, as have his collections of his work. His most recent awards are the the Oi-Ocha Prize (for a single haiku) in 2010, a Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award in 2007 and the Genjuan International Haibun Contest Grand Prix in 2020. For more information about his publications see his website.

Matthew Paul has written a nice piece about for David. Read it here. David, who was 94, died in his sleep.

Free Haiku Instruction

November 27, from noon-1pm at the Canterbury Workers Educational Association in Christchurch, free. All levels catered for. Tutor is Kazuko Iwai. It’s also possible to join as an email member. Full details from the website.

Japanese Calligraphy & Brushwork

From November 18 for 4 weeks, 10am-11.30am, at the Canterbury Workers Educational Association in Christchurch, $30. Tutor is Kazuko Iwai. Suitable for beginners. Full details from the website.

Publication, Contest, Website & Book News

1: Editor Scott Mason is offering a holiday season deal on his new book, The Haiku Hecameron: Gratitude in the time of Covid-19. Buy two copies before the end of November and receive a third free (all three copies must be shipped to the same address). See the website for full details, scroll to the bottom. Read a bit more about the book here.

2: Title IX is seeking Japanese short-form manuscripts (30-60 poems) by womxn, including non-binary, and transwomxn on social issues, womxnhood, discovering your worth, erotica, memoirs in verse, etc. Those accepted will be published as a free-to-read e-book.
Submit: By November 30. See the website for full details.

3: The good news first – a new journal (see below for two that are closing). Blo͞o Outlier Journal is looking for “extraordinary and unusual” haikai verse, whether quiet in tone; with urban, nature or natural history approaches. Nothing generic, nothing necessarily gendai, or experimental. Just you and what a reader new to poetry, or new to haiku might enjoy.
Submit: Up to 3 haiku to editor Alan Summers by December 6.

4: Five Palms Press is seeking 5-7-5 haiku for an e-book titled Songs of the Pandemic. The editor will keep the cost of the book as low as Amazon will permit. Judging by the examples quoted, the quality may be variable.
Submit: By December 31. See the website for full details.

5: As of November 15 Human/Kind journal is on a hiatus and may be closed permanently. Any outstanding publication will be done by the end of the year. Editor Robin (Grix) thanks all those who have helped over the past 2 years.

6: On December 31 Lyrical Passion e-zine will be ceasing publication after 13 years. “I have learned a great deal from each of you and admire your craft,” editor Raquel Bailey says. 

7: American haiku poet Carolyn Hall hasn’t been sitting on her hands during her extended lockdown, and has produced a new collection Cricket Dusk. More information and ordering details here.

8: Senryu Circle is a new website being developed for people who write senryu! It includes a link to the Living Senryu Anthology, which seeks both published and unpublished senryu.


To Jenny Fraser who has received an Honourable Mention in the Autumn Moon Haiku Contest (US, other results not yet available).

To Jenny Fraser who has received an Honourable Mention in the Jane Reichhold Haiga Contest (US, traditional section). See all the winning haiga and judges’ comments here.

To Anne Curran who has placed Second in the Radmila Bogojević Haiku Contest (Serbia).

To those placed in the NZPS Haiku Contest: Kim Martins (NZ) 1st, Tracy Davidson (UK) 2nd, Scott Mason (US) 3rd, Elaine Riddell (Hamilton) 4th, Sandra Simpson (Tauranga) 5th. Read the five winning poems and comments by judge Owen Bullock here.

Highly Commended: Elaine Riddell, Margaret Beverland (Katikati), Nola Borrell (Lower Hutt), Seren Fargo (US), Tony Williams (UK?), Scott Mason, Patsy Turner (Akaroa), Julie Adamson (Wellington), Vanessa Proctor (Australia) and Jay Friedenberg (US).

Commended: Elaine Riddell (2), Margaret Beverland, Nola Borrell, Seren Fargo, Sandra Simpson, Patsy Turner, Katherine Raine (Milton), Jac Jenkins (Kohukohu), Charline Pocock (Eketahuna, 2), Anne Curran (Hamilton, 2), Laurel Astle (Australia), Valerie Millington (Ohaupo).

Contest results

Porad Haiku Award (US)

COBKA Haiku Contest (US)

Yamadera Basho Haiku Contest (Japan, opens as a pdf, 116 poets entered)

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (Canada)

Sonic Boom Senryu Contest (India, opens as a pdf)

Kaji Aso Haiku Contest (US)

Harold G Henderson Haiku Award (US, 1,100+ haiku)

Gerald Brady Senryu Award (US, 703 poems)

HSA Haibun Award (US, 150 entries)

Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award (US), scroll down to June 1, as yet the results aren’t on the Modern Haiku website.

Haiku Society of Constanta Contest (Romania)

Free e-Books

Prune Juice Book of Senryu 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 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 e-books for free download and regularly adds new titles. Visit the website to choose a title.

2021 Events

Haiku Canada Weekend: May 21-23, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

Haiku North America: October 13-17, Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, Canada.