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

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.

Spring Equinox Haiku String

Our friends at the Australian Haiku Society ran another seasonal haiku string for the Spring Equinox. Read the string here.

Publication, Contest, Website & Book News

1: The Australian online journal echidna tracks is open for submissions this month, on the theme of shelter.
Submit: By October 31. See the website for full details.

2: The online journal Narrow Road is seeking haibun for its next issue.
Submit: By November 15. See the website for full details.

3: 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.

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: 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.

6: On December 31 the 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 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

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.


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.