Haiku Happenings

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A waxeye (silverye / tauhou) in a flowering aloe. The plants provide good winter nectar for birds, butterflies and bees. Photo: Sandra Simpson

September 2020: As of September 24, Auckland is at Covid-19 Alert Level 2, while the rest of the country moved to Alert Level 1 September 21. See the official website for restrictions. 

While we’re being asked to not move around too much, it’s a good time to revisit our haiku practice and have a think about how we might bring new energy, or freshen up,  what we do and how we do it. In this month’s article, J Zimmerman offers some exercises that can easily be done solo to ‘limber up’ our writing muscles and, just in case you want to flex still further, the Contest listing has been updated to the end of November.

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

Spring Equinox Haiku String

Our friends at the Australian Haiku Society will run another seasonal haiku string, starting for the Spring Equinox on September 22. See the website for details.

Online Haiku Events

September 25: Meet Michael Dylan Welch for a Zoom ginko as part of the Perth Poetry Festival. Booking essential.

October 24: seashores journal intends to organise an online haiku event every three or four months and although subscribers and contributors will have priority, these activities will also be open to the wider haiku community. The first event is “a haiku competition in a fun knock-out format” with books as prizes. It will be held at 7.30pm (London time) and should last a maximum of 90 minutes. To register as a participant, email either haiku spirit and/or seashores  by September 30. It is also possible to join as a spectator, please email for this also.

NZPS Haiku Contest 2020

Congratulations to Kim Martins of Kerikeri who was placed First and so also wins the Jeanette Stace Award. She was followed by Tracy Davidson (UK), Scott Mason (US), Elaine Riddell (Hamilton) and Sandra Simpson (Tauranga). 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).

Publication, Contest, Website & Book News

1: The annual Penumbra Haiku Contest has extended its closing date to September 30 (was August 31). See the Contests page for details.

2: QuillS journal is seeking haiku sequences, haiga and haibun.
Submit: By September 30.  See the website for details.

3: The Moonlight Haiku Challenge is seeking 3-line haiku inspired by the autumn (harvest) moon or autumn moon-viewing (tsukimi). Likely one entry per person in each of the two categories (or choose only one) – haiku or haiku + artwork/photo. Entries will go into a pdf book that will be circulated to entrants, and selected entries displayed on Facebook and Twitter.
Submit: By September 30. Full details from the website.

3: The NZ Poetry Society, thanks to a donation from the Windrift group, is now able to pay for haiku printed in its quarterly magazine, a fine line. This is for NZPS members only.
Submit: By October 10. Send up to 8 haiku to Ivy Alvarez.

4: 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.

5: 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.

5: 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.

American Haiku Archives Honorary Curator

Lenard D. Moore has been named as the 2020–2021 honorary curator of the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento. This honour recognises his decades of contributions to haiku literature and leadership, and his integration of haiku into his work in longer poetry and teaching. Read more here.


To Isabel Caves who has received an Honourable Mention in the Gourds Haiku Contest (Croatia, 347 haiku) with

a spoonful
of fireplace
pumpkin soup

Read all the winning poems here.

To Sandra Simpson who has been placed Third in the non-Africa section of the Africa Haiku Prize (201 poems) with

midday heat …
village cattle flicking
their tails out of synch

Read all the winning poems and judges’ comments here.

To Anne Curran who has been placed Second in Mandy’s Annual Tanka Contest (US) with

one last conversation
with mother –
her words always
so carefully chosen

See all the winning tanka, and judge’s comments, here.

To Owen Bullock who has been Highly Commended in the H Gene Murtha Senryu Award (US) with

not feeling well
she puts on lipstick

See all the winning poems here (opens as a pdf).

Contest results

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)

Marlene Mountain Haiku Contest (US, just under 200 poems)

Sanford Goldstein Tanka Contest (US, 925 poems)

Peggy Willis Lyles Award (US, 2,214 haiku)

Garry Gay Rengay Award (US)

Sonic Boom Senryu Contest (India)

Fleeting Words Tanka Contest (US, 504 entries): Marilyn Humbert, Australia 1st; Susan Burch, US 2nd; Pamela A Babusci, US 3rd; Susan Burch HM. Poems will be published in seedpods, the newsletter of the UHTS. Email Erin to subscribe (free).

NFSPS Haiku Contest (US, see category 26)

Save Our World Haiku Contest (US)

Betty Drevniok Haiku Award (Canada, 660 haiku)

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.


Seabeck Haiku Getaway: October 29-November 1, Washington State, US. Tom Painting is the guest speaker at this annual Haiku Northwest event. Will now be an online meeting (limited to 100), see the website for details.

Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Annual Retreat: November 6-9, Pacific Grove, California, US.

Haiku Canada Weekend 2021: May 21-23, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

Haiku North America 2021: October 13-17, Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, Canada.