Haiku Happenings


An old pond and a fairly old frog. May all your holiday haiku be classics! Photo: Sandra Simpson, taken at Te Puna Quarry Park, near Tauranga

December 2019: My very best wishes and Christmas greetings to all readers of Haiku NewZ, near and far. Whether your festive season takes place in summer or winter I hope it is a time of peace and goodwill, rest and relaxation.

This month’s article by Gabriel Rosenstock is a philosophical look at haiku and how we might improve our writing, something to contemplate in a hammock or curled up in a chair by the fire.

The Contest listing has been updated to the beginning of March (March!), while Haiku Happenings, below, notes the appointment of Richard von Sturmer as the 2020 writer-in-residence at Waikato University.

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

AHS Summer Solstice Haiga Kukai

Images to inspire haiku will be posted on December 15 with entries posted from then until December 22. Go to the Australian Haiku Society website for the rest.

University of Waikato Writer-in-Residence

Congratulations to Richard von Sturmer who has been named as the 2020 University of Waikato writer-in-residence. Richard says he has two projects in mind for his tenure. Read more here.

Haiku are not a Joke

The Spinoff has published an article about haiku by Sandra Simpson, prompted by a previous posting of a collection so-called haiku as the site’s regular Friday Poem. The fact Sandra’s article was published on Halloween means … 🙂 The author of the original ‘haiku’ gets a right of reply, so that may be interesting.

Yep, here’s the right of reply saying … well, read it for yourself.

Vale Paul MacNeil 1948-2019

Paul will be well-known as one of the associate editors of The Heron’s Nest online journal, where he was a faithful correspondent with those poets assigned to submit to him, and a great supporter and encourager.

According to his Haiku Registry entry at The Haiku Foundation: After battling pancreatic cancer for the past three months, Paul MacNeil passed away peacefully on October 30, 2019 in in Colorado, where he spent his final days in the company of his daughter, Meghan, her husband Aaron, and his twin granddaughters. He was 71 years old.

Publication, Contest & Event News

1: Robert Epstein is calling for submissions for an anthology of Signature Haiku (also senryu or tanka): “What is a signature haiku, you ask? Well, it’s one of those poems that you regard as your best, one that defines you as a poet or by which you wish to be remembered.” Unpublished poems accepted but only one poem only per contributor. Submitters must have had at least one haiku/senryu/tanka previously published in print or online. Your submission may include up to one paragraph of commentary about the poem, which is subject to editing. No remuneration for inclusion.
Submit: By December 31 to Robert Epstein.

2: Words in Bloom  will see the Haiku Society of America partner with the Chicago Botanic Garden to include haiku on the grounds – every year, more than 1 million people visit the collection of  27 gardens and four natural areas, situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. Thirty-two haiku signs will be placed in four of the gardens and natural areas at various times throughout 2020 and into winter of 2021. To have your haiku considered for inclusions send no more than 2 unpublished haiku for each Garden (labelled with the Garden name) in the body of an email to Julie Warther  with “Haiku at CBG” in the subject line and including your name, full mailing address and email address (haiku in other languages are welcome but must include an English translation). Selected haiku poets will be notified via email no later than February 28.
Submit: January 1-31 only.
To assist poets, the following links contain information about flora and fauna to be found in particular gardens during particular seasons:
English Walled Garden in spring
Suzanne S. Dixon Prairie in summer/early autumn
Native Plant Garden in summer/early autumn
Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden in late autumn/winter.

3: Hard on the heels of the news that Moonbathing tanka journal is ceasing publication, comes an announcement that the just-released issue (13.3) of Haibun Today will be the last. General editor Ray Rasmussen has published a statement about reasons for the closure.

4: NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) is back in 2020 – its tenth anniversary! The premise is pretty simple, write a haiku a day for the month of February. Further details from the website.

5: Kokako editors advise that subscriptions starting with issue 32 (to be published in April) will rise to: $35 (NZ); $A35 (Australia and Pacific) and $US35 rest of the world. See Publications for further details.

6: Contemporary Haibun Online has a new editor-in-chief from the next issue, Rich Youmans. Read the journal here.

7: On October 6 Canadian poet Michael Dudley, who was recently in New Zealand, gave a reading in Ivanic-Grad, Croatia, with Dejan Pavlinović and Tomislav Maretić of their ‘Nexus Haiku’, composed collaboratively over the course of a year. Read more here.

Haiku Books as Gifts

1: one hundred petals is a collection of 100 haiku and senryu by André Surridge, the Hamilton poet’s first collection.  The 64-page book is printed on recycled paper and is available for $20 within New Zealand (includes postage) and $NZ25 elsewhere. Orders are on hold for the time being, but I will be able to refresh the details shortly. Read a review here.

2: Kirsten Cliff Elliot has published a collection, Patient Property: a journey through leukaemia through Velvet Dusk Publishing, a new US indie publisher. Patient Property includes 61 haiku and tanka, with a foreword by Owen Bullock and an afterword by Patricia Prime. Purchase from the publisher or from Kirsten ($20 , including postage within New Zealand, or $NZ25 for overseas). Email Kirsten for details.

3: number eight wire is the fourth NZ haiku anthology, containing 330 haiku by 70 poets of all ages and surveys the period 2008-18. Read ordering details here. The first review has been published, on the Australia Haiku Society website. Read Vanessa Proctor’s thoughts here. Short reviews are also available in Frogpond 42.2 and Modern Haiku 50.2.

The editors of number eight wire wish to apologise for the following errors contained in the volume: The haiku that appears on p104 credited to Rosemary Scott was, in fact, written by Lynn Tara Austin. Kirsten Cliff Elliot’s first name has been spelled incorrectly throughout the volume, apart from the bio notes at the end. Elaine Riddell’s haiku on p87 should be set out to resemble a star. Which rather reinforces the editors’ decision that this volume was their one and only foray into publishing an anthology!

4: Summer Haiku is a new collection from expat Kiwi Owen Bullock. Read more and how to order here ($A8.95). Read a review here.

5: Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 days of haiku for children young and old is published on November 9 by Brooks Books. Edited by Jessica Latham Malone, the book has a pre-order special offer – $US24 for the books and a 20% discount on shipping ($US15 for outside North America). Ordering details here.

6: Hog Wild, edited by Corine Timmer, is an anthology celebrating the Year of the Pig (46 haiku by 40 poets), with proceeds going to an animal charity in the UK. Ordering details here.

7: All the Way Home: Aging in haiku, edited by Robert Epstein (Middle Island Press), is an anthology available only through Amazon (and its associated companies including Book Depository).

8: NOON: An anthology of short poems has been reviewed for Haiku NewZ by Tony Beyer. Read the review here. The anthology is a collection of work published both in print and online by NOON: Journal of the short poem from 2004-17.

9: Broken Starfish is a new volume of haiku and art by Ron C Moss of Tasmania. Read more, and how to order, here. Ron has generously offered buyers in New Zealand the same price as that for Australia, $A22 (includes postage). Read a review here.

10: field of stars is a new collection of haiku and senryu by Lynn Reeves of Tasmania. Read more and see ordering details here. Read a review here.


To Jenny Pyatt who has been short-listed for the Soap Haiku Contest (US, 750 entries) with

beaming smile, open arms
grand daughter
covered in dirt

Read all the short-list and winning poem here.

To all the winners and placegetters in the NZPS International Haiku Contest (NZ).

Senior (judge Greg Piko, 532 entries): Jac Jenkins (Kohukohu, Hokianga) First & Jeanette Stace Memorial Award; Katherine Raine (Milton, Otago) Second; Vanessa Proctor (Sydney) Third; Sandra Simpson (Tauranga) Fourth; Laurel Astle (Australia) Fifth.

Highly Commended: Katherine Raine (2); Scott Mason (US); Nola Borrell (Lower Hutt, 3); Barbara Strang (Christchurch, 2); Debbie Strange (Canada, 2).

Commended: Vanessa Proctor; Laurel Astle; Barbara Strang; Margaret Beverland (Katikati); Keith Nunes (Pahiatua); Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui); Marion Moxham (Palmerston North, 2); Elaine Riddell (Hamilton, 2); Patsy Turner (Akaroa); Catherine Bullock (Waihi).

Junior (judge Anne Curran, 214 entries): Primary/Intermediate: Nikita Ballard (Waiheke Island) First; all other winners are from Christchurch! … Ameer Livne Second; Susanne Rajapaksha Third. Secondary: Evie Johnson First & Jeanette Stace Memorial Award; Finnian Bierwirth Second; Katie Zhang Third.

Read judges’ comments here.

Contest results

Autumn Moon Haiku Contest (US)

Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest (US)

Rugby World Cup Haiku Contest (Ireland, link takes you to Twitter)

Reichhold Haiga Competition (US, opens as a pdf)

Fleeting Words Tanka Contest (US, 414 poems entered)

Porad Award (US, 566 poems entered)

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (Canada), please note the extraordinary number of young writers from Canterbury who received Youth Sakura Awards and Youth Honourable Mentions!

Free e-Books

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 recent e-books for free download. Visit the website to choose a title.

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


Cradle of American Haiku: August 7-9, 2020 at Walker House in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, US.

Seabeck Haiku Getaway: October 29-November 1, Washington State, US. Tom Painting is the guest speaker at this annual Haiku Northwest event.

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

Haiku North America 2021: Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, Canada.