Haiku Happenings

Looking north along the Whanganui River Valley from the Aramoana bluff. Photo: Sandra Simpson

From June 30, all of New Zealand is again at Alert Level 1. See the official website for restrictions.

August 2021: The first kowhai flowers are just bursting out on the street trees in my neighbourhood, a sure sign that spring can’t be far off. Many areas have had some decent cold snaps, not to mention storms, this winter, and although August might still have some surprises in store, it is getting lighter again.

Plenty of haiku and related news this month, see below, including the announcement of the results of the NZPS Haiku International Contest. My thought that there might be some mild controversy about the winner has already been borne out by some private comments I’ve received. Have a look and see what you think. Discussing haiku can only be a good thing, eh? Contest listings have been updated to the end of October.

We welcome Marion Moxham of Palmerston North to the Showcase of New Zealand Haiku. Here’s a link to the index to see not only Marion’s page, but the pages of many other wonderful poets.

This month’s article by Owen Bullock explains the haiku workshops he has devised for the Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) programme at the University of Canberra, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force, helping servicepeople and emergency services staff with PTSD and anxiety disorders. It is a great read for anyone who has recently been to a haiku workshop or for anyone who feels like they could do with a refresher.

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

NZPS International Haiku Contest Results

Congratulations to all the winners and place-getters! Only one Kiwi in the top five – Katherine Raine, placed Fourth – which is an interesting result and quite different from the past few years. Also, this is the first time in a few years that we’ve had a non-New Zealand judge. Read the top five haiku, and Simon Hanson’s judge’s comments (scroll down).

Highly Commended Kiwis: Sandra Simpson, Jenny Fraser, Nola Borrell. Commended Kiwis: Katherine Raine (2), Margaret Beverland, Jenny Fraser (2), Julie Prince, Sandra Simpson and our Kiwi poet resident in Australia, Owen Bullock.

New Video

Haiku readings and commentary are making steady inroads into YouTube and it’s a medium that suits this form of poetry. My Red was uploaded earlier this year by John Stevenson, managing editor of The Heron’s Nest and a poet of some note, and is well worth 6 minutes of your time. A beautifully realised cinematic experience.

Publication & Contest News

1: The monthly Tricycle Haiku Challenge might be fun. A season word is given (at present there is one for summer and one for winter) which must then be used in a 5-7-5 haiku. From the month’s crop three poems will be selected to be published online and once a quarter one will also appear in print with a commentary. See the website for full details. The submission form is right at the bottom.

2: News from cattails, the journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, is that Gautam Nadkarni has been asked to step down as senryu editor, with immediate effect. The remaining members of the editorial team, Mike Montreuil and Sonam Chhoki, while praising Gautam for his 4 years of dedicated work, say the decision was made around recent Facebook posts that “have offended and upset poets, both women and men and are contrary to the ethos of UHTS and cattails. We cannot condone views that reinforce gender steroetypes and inequality and also wound the sensibilities of those who have had painful, personal experiences”.

3: Modern Haiku has changed its submission rules for haibun to try and work around space issues in the print journal. “To this end, in order to allow an even greater diversity of voices, we are changing our submission rules to restrict poets who have published haibun in one issue from publishing haibun in the following two issues. This rule only applies to haibun by these authors, not haiku.” See the full Submissions guidelines here.

4: seashores haiku journal will have three editors for its next issue (#7) with the two guest editors also based in Ireland but all three being of different nationalities – Roberta Beary (American), Maeve O’Sullivan (Irish) and Gilles Fabre (French, managing editor).
Submit: By July 31. See the website for full details.

5: MahMight is a new haiku journal edited by Alan Summers. It has some unusual, but likely fun, requirements for submission. Out of the ordinary anyway.
Submit: At any time. See the website for full details.

6: Change is afoot at The Heron’s Nest with associate editor Scott Mason stepping down and being replaced by Tom Painting from the December issue. Scott has been at the Nest since 2011 and, according to the announcement, has also donated prize money from haiku contests that he won during the past 10 years, ‘a very considerable sum!’ to the publication.

7: For German speakers comes news of the publication of a German Haiku Society anthology with the title (in translation) of the sun-ripe apples. The anthology brings together almost 156 works (haiku, tanka and haibun) by 500 authors on 90 pages. Read more here.

8: Atlas Poetica 40 : A Journal of World Tanka was published in June with publisher and editor M. Kei explaining that the delays was not least down to him having contracted Covid-19 (he has recovered). “It was deemed best to skip spring publication and move No. 40 to summer. All following projects, including the forthcoming Tanka in Translation Project scheduled for issue 41, are moved back one season, but will continue as planned.” See more at the Atlas Poetica website


To Sandra Simpson who has been placed Third in the Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Contest (US) with

no headstone –
the rosemary finds
its shape

Read all the winning haiku and judge’s comments here.

To Sandra Simpson who has a haiku featured in the ‘Words in Bloom’ haiku sign project at Chicago Botanic Garden. Read more here.

To Patsy Turner who has received an Honourable Mention in the Setouchi-Matsuyama Haiku Contest (Japan) with

the shadows
on your doorstep

See all the winning poems written to a photo.

Contest results

Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award (US)

Marlene Mountain Contest (US, opens as a pdf)

San Francisco International Haibun Contest (US)

H Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest (US)

Betty Drevniok Haiku Award (Canada)

Raven Haiku Contest (Croatia)

Writers in Kyoto Competition (Japan)

Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (US)

John Bird Dreaming Award for Haiku (Australia)

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 North America: October 15-17, a virtual event via Zoom coming to you from Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, Canada. Registration is free.

Japan Writers Conference: October 16-17, Tokai University, Shonan Campus in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, free. Most presentations in English.

Seabeck Haiku Getaway: October 28-31, tentatively, Washington State, US.