Haiku Happenings


The Australia Memorial in Wellington with Australian artwork pictured. Photo: Sandra Simpson, please do not reuse without asking.

April 2018: This month’s piece of public artwork is the Australia Memorial which forms part of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington. See an aerial view here.

Dedicated on April 20, 2015, the memorial was designed by Australian architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer with the rugged red sandstone columns representing Australia’s ‘red centre’. Each column stands on a band of the same red stone while the alternating bands of grey stone symbolise the New Zealand landscape – and the interweaving of our two nations.

The central column is inscribed with the word ‘Anzac’ (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), while inscribed on black granite insets in seven columns are the names of the theatres and operations in which Anzacs have served.

Seven columns feature artwork of the first peoples – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is from the Balarinji design studio in Sydney and focuses on depicting cultural artifacts and aspects of war and peace. In his artworks Jacob Manu Scott acknowledges tikanga Māori (Māori customs) and drew inspiration from the poetry of Hone Tuwhare. He describes the columns as ‘pou, memorial marker stakes in the ground [which] usually epitomise an ancestor or tipuna of repute’.

The Australia Memorial  has won the Small Project Architecture Award (Australian Institute of Architects’ International Chapter, 2016) and an award for excellence for urban space (New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, 2017).

If you would like to send a photo and text about a public artwork in your hometown, please note that photos need to be at least 1MB in file size (ie, shoot at ‘large’ file size).

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Submissions to the Fourth NZ Haiku Anthology close at the end of April so don’t miss out! The details about that, and a farewell note to two American haiku poets, can be found below.

This month’s article by Scott Metz discusses the use of surrealism in Japanese haiku, a technique used by Basho, and possible reasons why English-language poets shun this style. Contest listings have been updated to the end of June.

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


Kaneko Tohta (1919-2018) passed away in February in Japan, aged 98. A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Tohta-san studied under poet Shuson Kato (1905-1993) and continued composing haiku while working at the Bank of Japan. As a war veteran, he actively advocated peace in later life, talking about his tragic wartime experiences. After the war he started writing avant-garde haiku without traditional seasonal references and also incorporated social issues and ideologies into his poems. He received the Modern Haiku Association Prize in 1956 and in 1962 founded the haiku magazine Kaitei. In 2012 he received the Kikuchi Kan Prize for his contributions to Japanese Culture and in 2015 he was awarded the Asahi Prize for being at the forefront of contemporary haiku. He appeared regularly on television in Japan to talk about haiku, only retiring in January!

In a strange coincidence, this month’s article by Scott Metz examines one of Tohta-san’s haiku. Read the piece here.

The graveyard is burnt too;
cicadas, like pieces of flesh,
on the trees.

(translated by Makoto Ueda, with the note: Written in the Hongo district of Tokyo, an area that suffered heavy air raids during World War 2.)

Marlene Mountain (1939-2018). Born Marlene Morelock, this distinctive and unique voice in haiku was married to haiku poet John Wills (1921-1993) for a time. She changed her surname to Mountain to celebrate her home state of Tennessee. An activist feminist, Marlene began writing haiku in the 1960s and her work was experimental from then until now. Read her work here. Her first book was old tin roof, published in 1976. Read an essay by Jack Galmitz in appreciation of her work.

above the mountain mountains of the moon

Johnny Baranski (1948-2018), peace activist and haiku poet. Read the Frogpond tribute to Johnny and an obituary here. Hear Johnny read some of his haiku.

chrysanthemum garden
in this world too
bomb makers

Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology

Margaret Beverland and Sandra Simpson take great pleasure in announcing that a Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology is to be published next year. The anthology will come a decade after the publication of the taste of nashi, edited by Nola Borrell and Karen Peterson Butterworth, which itself followed the two national haiku anthologies  edited by Cyril Childs and published in 1993 and 1998.

New Zealand residents may submit up to 10 haiku/senryu that have been published since 2008, including publication details. The anthology is intended as a survey of New Zealand haiku over the past 10 years so submissions of fewer than 10 haiku are also welcome.

Closing date for submissions is April 30, 2018. The editors require that only one submission be made. Email submissions and/or queries to the editors at Fourth NZ Haiku Anthology (if the email link doesn’t work, the address is: haithologynz@gmail.com).

International Haiku Poetry Day

As designated by The Haiku Foundation, International Haiku Poetry Day is on April 17. Several interactive activities are planned. Read more here.

Haiku and Tanka Workshop, Sydney

Julie Thorndyke and Beverley George will lead a day-long workshop at the Wedderburn Writers’ Retreat in Sydney (Australia) on Sunday, July 22, $A50 per person. Full details from the website (scroll down).

National Poetry Day NZ

Got an event you’d like to run in your area? Registrations are open until May 23. Read more at the official website. National Poetry Day is on August 24.

Bookaroo Festival of Children’s Literature

Kala Ramesh was spreading the haiku word at this festival in Mumbai, India in late February. “It’s always lovely to be with children … exposing them to haiku and senryu and this time to tanka too!” Read a newspaper interview with Kala about her haiku journey.

Publication & Contest News

1: Wales Haiku Journal is a new online publication that welcomes submissions of traditional, modern, and experimental haiku, haibun and haiga/photo haiku. The journal is supported by the Wales Art Review and edited by Paul Chambers.
Submit: At any time. Full details from the website.

2: The shortlist for the Touchstone Haiku Award has been announced, read it here. A link to the list of winners is under Congratulations, below.

3: Stacking Stones is to be an anthology of short tanka sequences from Kei Books. The editor says: “We are seeking tanka, waka, kyoka, gogyoshi/gogyohka, and related forms. Generally speaking, each tanka in a sequence must be able to stand on its own, and is our preferred form, but we will consider sequences that use tanka as a stanza within a longer poem.”
Submit: By April 30. Full details from the website.

4: Rhyming kyoka are being sought for an Atlas Poetica special edition.
Submit: By May 31. Full details from the website, including a link to a blog post on how kyoka differ from tanka.

5: Jacqueline Pearce is looking for train-theme haiku, tanka, rengay, and haibun for a new anthology – previously published work is fine. Contributor payment will be one copy of the book.
Submit: By June 30. Full details from the website.

6: Seashores is a new journal edited by Paul Chambers and Gilles Fabre with the support of David Burleigh. “The objective of seashores is to share haiku from all over the world and explore how the way and the spirit of haiku, with its power to connect us to nature and our world can play a role in poetry and our lives in general.” The editors are looking for haiku/senryu and essays/articles. According to the website, there will be one issue this year and two next year.
Submit: For issue 1 by June 30. Full details from the website.

7: Nourish poetry journal is seeking tanka and tanka sequences for its second issue.
Submit: By September 30. Full details from the website.

8: Online ‘living’ anthology Under the Basho has a new section for linked forms. Read more here.

10: The new editor of Frogpond is Michael Ketchek, who will be reviewing the March submissions (details here). Michael lives in Rochester, New York and has been writing haiku for more than 30 years.

9: Terri French and Rich Youmans are joining Melissa Allen and Ray Rasmussen as haibun editors at Haibun Today, while Donna Buck is to be guest editor for tanka prose submissions for the June issue. Janet Lynn Davis returns as tanka prose editor for the September and December issues. Read more about the new editors here.

10: From the October issue, cattails will be accepting haiga alongside haiku, tanka and haibun. The new haiga editor is Lavana Kray. Full details from the website.

11: There will be no Bulgarian Cherry Blossom Haiku Contest this year (usually closes in April). The organisers – the Bulgarian Haiku Union – are running a children’s haiku contest at that time.

12: The first issue of Brevis has been delayed, due to the ill health of founding editor Karen Harvey. Brevis is sub-titled “a journal of short poetry and prose from Wales and beyond” and seeks poems of fewer than 10 lines (and definitely haiku and tanka) and haibun, flash fiction, etc. Read more here (Facebook membership not required).


To Barbara Strang who is among the runners-up in the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Contest (UK). Barbara’s haiku will appear on the 2019 desk calendar. See all the winners here.

To Elisabeth Liebert who has had her photo haiku chosen for the NHK Haiku Masters Gallery for April. See the photo haiku here.

To Aalix Roake who has been placed Second in the Wild Plum Haiku Contest (Poland) with

too many bones to sing a young song

Read all the winning poems and judges’ comments here (312 entries from 41 countries).

To Sandra Simpson who has been placed First and Third in the Martin Lucas Haiku Award (UK). Her First-placed haiku is

skylark song –
the name on her headstone
almost gone

Read all the winning poems and the judge’s comments here (285 entries).

To Anne Curran whose work is among the Selected Poems in the Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest (Romania, 269 participants).

Nana pieces together
her jigsaw puzzle …
summer afternoon

Other Kiwis in the book of the contest are Steven Clarkson, Patricia Prime, Elaine Riddell, Sandra Simpson and Andre Surridge. Read the book here.

To Tony Beyer whose new book of long-form poetry, Anchor Stone, is shortlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards. The winners will be announced on May 15 at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival. Read all the shortlist here.

Contest results

Touchstone Book Awards & Touchstone Poetry Awards (US)

Tanka Time (US)

Vladimir Devide Haiku Award (Japan) 700+ poems

BHS Haiku, Tanka & Haibun Awards (UK)

Mainichi Haiku Contest, International Section (Japan)

Santoka International Haiku Contest (Serbia), 158 poems

Santoka International Haiga Contest (Serbia), 42 entries

Samurai Haibun Contest (US)

Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (US)

National Haiku Contest (Canada)

Books, New & Noted

1: The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and See the World with New Eyes edited by Scott Mason, associate editor at The Heron’s Nest. The book has received high praise from Cor van den Heuval and Michael McClintock. “… it shows how the mindful and pleasurable practice of reading haiku poetry can help us reconnect with the everyday wonder we may have last experienced as children.” Read more, and order, here. 

2: Anchor Stone, by Tony Beyer features his longer poetry and is available for $39.85 (incl P&P).

3: Bushfire Moon, by Ron C. Moss, is subtitled “poems and prose by a Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Fighter”. To order a signed copy, and inquire about postage, email Ron.

4: Blowing Up Balloons: Baby Poems For Parents (Red Moon Press, 2017) is a collection by Vanessa Proctor and Greg Piko. New Zealanders can order the book directly from the authors, $NZ24 for a single copy (PayPal available). For more information email Vanessa or Greg. Read a review here.

Free e-Books

Snapshot Press has a number of recent e-books for free download – Stone Circles by Cynthia Rowe (haibun), A Fence Without Wire by Simon Chard (haiku), thronging cranes by Allan Burns (haiku), The Eternity of Waves by Susan Constable (tanka) and All the Windows Lit by Rich Youmans (haibun) join A Dawn of Ghosts by Thomas Powell (haiku), A Colour for Leaving by Cherie Hunter Day (tanka), Goodbye by Roger Jones (haibun) and the unseen arc by Kala Ramesh (tanka). Visit the website to choose a title. There are other, previously published titles also available.

Ancient Bloodlines is a free e-book of collaborative rengay by Simon Hanson and Ron C Moss, plus artwork by Ron. Download here.


1: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

To April 29, Vancouver, Canada. Last year’s Haiku Invitational winners celebrated during the festival. Full details from the website.

2: Haiku Holiday Conference

April 28, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. Full details from the website.

3: Haiku Canada Weekend

May 18-20, Bishop University in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada. Full details from the website.

4: Cradle of American Haiku Festival

August 10-12, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, USA. More information from Gayle Bull.

5: Seabeck Haiku Getaway

October 25-28, Seabeck Conference Centre, Washington state, USA. Full details from the website.

6: Haiku North America 2019

August 7-11, 2019, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. See the website.

7: World Haiku Association 2019

The 10th conference marks the WHA’s 20th anniversary and will be held in September in Tokyo.