Windrift – February & April

by Nola Borrell (with notes from Bevan Greenslade)
Two fascinating workshops this year: in February, guest poet Yukari Nikawa from Japan; and in April our first attempts at tan renga AS WELL AS celebration of Penny Pruden’s believe-it-or-not 90th birthday with cards, flowers, cake and haiku.

autumn a penny for your thoughts
by Ernest J Berry
Yukari spent 3 weeks at NZ Pacific Studio near Pukaha Mount Bruce in the Wairarapa as the Emma Saiko Poetry Fellow. There she worked on a ‘collection of short tales to complement poems’ and also translations from Japanese into English.

Matsu wa hikari no hahen ano hashi no ue de

What I will wait for
is a fragment, the blaze on that very bridge

Yukari and Madeleine Slavick, Coordinator at the Centre, presented a shared reading in English and Japanese. We didn’t always understand – but the music was delightful! We had our usual workshop round of haiku – but what Yukari made of our free and easy straying from traditional Japanese forms, goodness knows.

Incidentally, Pacific Studio is a delightful place to stay and write. I know: I spent two weeks there in 2014.

Harumi Hasegawa and Nola Borrell devised the renga workshop. Renga comes in many forms and lengths and can have very specific and complex rules as some of you know … But we kept our ‘practice’ very simple: the shortest renga (Tan) and with just one poet responding to another. We aimed to connect to a given haiku, (sound, image, colour, movement, anything) but move in a different direction. We hoped the juxtaposition would give more meaning than either part by itself.

This was very creative and great fun. We each responded to the seeding haiku. The Group then tried to identify the connection and – to a lesser extent – the avoidance of logic or narrative.
wild coast
the sea still sorting
Nola Borrell
(Commended, Polish International Haiku Competition, 2012)
summer ending cobwebs all over
my windscreen wipers
Verses included:
I check my woollens for moths
searching the house for lost umbrellas
Lynn Frances
Julie Adamson
Our third exercise was a new venture. We chose a haiku from this workshop; then each member wrote a 2-lined verse in response. This worked well. Here’s a sample:
norfolk island pine many hands reaching out
from the bush a tui’s gargle
a ragged gap
in the rainclouds
octopus tentacles grasp at prey
just after the war begging their chocolates
prisoners’ cries still on the wind
Sally Holmes
Penny Pruden
Karen Peterson Butterworth
Kerry Popplewell
Harumi Hasegawa
Nola Borrell
We’re hooked. We’ll advance to a longer renga next time.