Recent publications

UK haiku journal Presence is always a good read and Presence 63 is no exception with 105 pages of poems, haibun, essays and reviews. It includes the results of the 2018 Martin Lucas Haiku Award, which I can now reveal that I judged!

spring
the dead owl
mostly soil

Brad Bennett, First

Judging contests is easy compared with the ongoing, laborious work of editing a journal. I daresay there’s some fun to be had too, but hearing Stanford M Forrester (editor of bottle rockets press) say he’d changed his posting address to an anonymous box number due to receiving death threats from a disgruntled submitter put a whole new light on what editors have to deal with!

The process of putting together number eight wire, the newly published fourth New Zealand haiku anthology, prompted me to write a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) piece for Haiku NewZ, Learning Better Habits.

breech birth
the old cowhand
unbuckles his belt

Lew Watts

relapse –
through an icy blast
bleat of a lamb

Andre Surridge

linnet

hesitating
in my prayers –
linnet song

Mary White

swapping seats
on an empty train
afternoon sun

Debbi Antebi

cross-country train –
the little place where we stop
being strangers

Sandra Simpson

Creatrix is the online quarterly publication of Western Australia Poets, with the journal being split into two – one link for ‘regular poetry’ (submissions open only to financial members) and another for the haiku section (open to all).

The only odd thing about submitting to Creatrix is that no one tells you if you’ve had anything selected, you have to wait for the journal to appear to find out! Given they have three selectors and a submissions manager that seems a little, well, poor. If anyone knows of a good reason why this happens, I’d be happy to hear it.

first light
gum branches
tangle the mist

Gavin Austin

country cemetery
the last shop in town
boarded up

Louise Hopewell

dandelion

floating dandelion
all the locked windows
at the hospital

Bee Jay

end of summer —
the hurdy-gurdy cries
of gannets

Sandra Simpson

And in the past few days I learned that one of my poems has judged a Haiku of Merit in the RH Blyth Haiku Award (UK). Read all the winning entries here.

Persian garden —
every avenue lined
with bitter oranges

Sandra Simpson

Read more about ‘narenj’, the bitter oranges of Iran, used to scent gardens and flavour food.

Advertisements

Happy Birthday Kokako!

Kokako 30 landed just before I headed off to Japan, a good read as always. If you’re reading this in New Zealand and don’t subscribe to Kokako, what are you waiting for? Find details here.

The first issue of Kokako appeared in 2003, under the helm of (the late) Bernard Gadd and Patricia Prime, who is still co-editor, now with Margaret Beverland. Kokako grew out of winterSPIN, an annual publication of SPIN poetry journal and focusing on the Japanese genres and short poetry. SPIN editor pnw donnelly encouraged Catherine Mair to edit winterSPIN from 1995-2001 with Bernie helping out from 1998. From 2003-2006 Kokako appeared once a year, then moving (by popular demand) to twice a year.

In her editorial to mark the thirtieth edition, Margaret notes that in the beginning most of the submissions to Kokako came from within New Zealand, but now most come from overseas.

If you’re interested in reading more on the history of haiku in New Zealand, click on the link to read an essay, prepared by me for The Haiku Foundation and published in 2016.

Here is a selection of haiku by New Zealand authors from Kokako 30.

flight of a fantail …
we each scatter his ashes
between spells of rain

Kirsten Cliff Elliot (Hamilton)

kowhai2 - Copy

Photo: Sandra Simpson

family sorrow
the yellow kowhai
pays no attention

Tony Beyer (New Plymouth)

not speaking
the cherry on the fence line
in full bloom

Barbara Strang (Christchurch)

marae concert
a small hole in
the cellist’s sock

Sandra Simpson (Tauranga)

sunrise

6am flight!
watching the sun take off
on its own journey

Keith Nunes (Pahiatua)

how to smile
at people you don’t like
buttercup

Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui)

One thing + another thing

I bought this postcard while in Japan last month.

hiroshige-fireworks

Fireworks at the Ryogoku Bridge, an 1858 woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige, from his series ‘From One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’. Image: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The text on the MIA page says: “Situated on the shores of Edo Bay, the city of Edo [renamed Tokyo in 1868] was defined by a network of rivers and canals. Bridges became vital links for travel and communication and also gathering places comparable to the plazas of Western cities. Erected over the Sumida River in 1659 or 1661, Ryōgoku was Edo’s second major bridge. In the early 1730s, the government sponsored an event commemorating citizens who had died in a cholera epidemic. The memorial, which included a display of fireworks, became an annual observance. Hiroshige devoted more than half of this composition to the night sky, illuminated by sparkling fireworks. On the river below, pleasure boats from which people view the pyrotechnics are festooned with red lanterns that form tiny points of light on the deep-hued water. At first glance, Ryōgoku’s broad arch is a dark silhouette against the river, but a closer look reveals a crowd of tiny figures, each casting a fleeting shadow.”

The Japanese word for fireworks is hanabi, which translates to fire flowers. The season for fireworks is summer – July and August – when big public shows are put on. Apparently, the Sumida River in Tokyo was first chosen as a site for fireworks because of the reflections on the water and the cooling breezes that might be had during the city’s hot, humid summers. The first public display was in 1733. Here’s a nice blog post about attending a fireworks display in Japan.

Hiroshige is one of Japan’s most famous woodblock artists. Here’s a brief profile of him. Interestingly, his father had been a fire brigade warden! Serious fires were so common in the city that the locals had a saying, “Fires and quarrels are the flowers of Edo”.

ichi mon no hanabi mo tamaya tamaya kana

even one-penny
fireworks …
ooo! ahh!

Issa, tr David Lanoue (written in 1825)

From David Lanoue’s website, Haiku of Kobayashi Issa, comes this extra information: Tamaya is the name of a company that made fireworks in Issa’s day. Praising the fireworks, the crowd shouts, “Tamaya!” Issa’s humour lies in the fact that even cheap fireworks that cost only one mon are praised wildly. (The mon was the basic currency of Issa’s time, a coin with a hole in its middle so it could be put on a string. In Issa’s day six mon could buy a bowl of rice.)

I took this photo at an exhibition in Melbourne last year.

escher-fireworks 1933 - Copy

Fireworks, a 1933 lithograph print by M C Escher. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The accompanying text said: “For this lithograph, rather than building the composition with black lines and shading on white, Escher began by spraying a tint on to the entire surface of the lithographic stone, resulting in a smooth black finish. He then scratched away the lighter parts of the print – the flares of the firework piercing the night sky and the people below who look up in wonder at the spectacle, briefly lit by its glow. This unusual method was taken up by Escher during a period of experimentation with the lithographic technique and is well suited to depicting dark interiors and night scenes.”

The photo has been taken at an angle to avoid light reflection off the surface of the print.

To my eye Escher had more than a bit of a Japanese aesthetic about his work. Read more about the life of the Dutch artist, famous for his mind-bending illusions.

fireworks
suddenly the ocean wind
is warmer

Jane Reichhold, from A Dictionary of Haiku (2013)

Mainstream media coverage

New Plymouth poet Tony Beyer has been interviewed by Taranaki Daily News about his involvement with number eight wire, and the piece has appeared on the Stuff website today. Read it here.

Sales are going well, and we’re getting some repeat orders. So, if you’d like a copy (or three), please get in touch.

Within NZ: 

Single copy:         $20 +$4 post/packing or +$7.70 to RD addresses

Two copies postage: +$5.50 (or +$8.70 for RD). Three or more copies: +$7 (or +$10.70 for RD).

Please inquire for details for direct credit payments. Make cheques to: ‘Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012’ and post to PO Box 183, Katikati 3166.

Overseas (in $NZ):

Australia:             $25 + $10 postage (single copy)

UK/Europe/US:    $25 + $18 postage (single copy)

Please inquire for postage for multiple copies and/or to use PayPal.

Please note that all these postage rates apply only until July 1 when they will be increased to match NZ Post’s increased charges.

Testimonials

Aside from the wonderful poetry in the book, the hard copy itself is very nicely done and has a real ‘quality’ feel to it – Sian Williams

Number Eight Wire is a splendid effort … Very thorough in coverage of the last decade and all my favourites are there – Tony Beyer

Haiku anthology launch

Ordering details are in the post below.

margaret-elaine-f-sandra - Copy

Bouquet: Co-editors Margaret Beverland (left) and Sandra Simpson (right) with haiku supporter Elaine Fisher of Katikati. Photo Keith Frentz

anne-jenny-moira - Copy

Ladies at lunch: From left, Anne Curran (Hamilton), Jenny Pyatt (Napier) and Moira Cursey (Raglan). Photo: Sandra Simpson

harry-andre - Copy

Bearded haiku poets: Andre Surridge (Hamilton, front) and Harry Frentz (Tauranga). Photo: Sandra Simpson

cathie-jenny2 by ac

Pals: Cathie Bullock (left, Waihi) and Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui). Photo: Anne Curran

ruby-dave-jenny - Copy

Haiku advertisements: Ruby Robertson (left), Dave Robertson (both Tauranga) and Jenny Pyatt (Napier). Photo: Sandra Simpson

shirley-eric - Copy

Chat time: Shirley May and Eric Dodson, both Tauranga. Photo: Sandra Simpson

keith-harry by ac

Sales table: Harry Frentz (left) and Keith Frentz. Photo: Anne Curran

speech - Copy

Official: Margaret Beverland speaks. Photo: Keith Frentz

andre-nargaret-elaine-r - Copy

Poet profiles: From left, Andre Surridge, Margaret Beverland (Katikati) and Elaine Riddell (Hamilton). Photo: Sandra Simpson

table - Copy

Long table lunch: From right, Deryn Pittar (Papamoa), Moira Cursey and her partner Jenny (Raglan) and Bob Orr (Thames coast). Photo: Sandra Simpson

catherine-andre - Copy

Catching up: Catherine Mair (Katikati) and Andre Surridge. Photo: Sandra Simpson

anne-elaine-r - Copy

Car pool buddies: Anne Curran and Elaine Riddell, both from Hamilton. Photo: Sandra Simpson

 

number eight wire

The fourth New Zealand haiku anthology is finally here! The delivery of books took place this week so my co-editor Margaret Beverland and I are very pleased to announce that copies are now on sale.

anthology cover - Copy

Many thanks to Michelle Reynolds at Kale Print, Tauranga for her fantastic cover design.

A 150-page perfect-bound volume, number eight wire is a survey of New Zealand haiku from 2008 to 2018 – 330 poems by 70 authors, published at home and around the world with many honoured in international contests.

The book’s title is taken from this haiku

beaded with songbirds number eight wire

Karen Peterson Butterworth

Number eight wire has been used in New Zealand since the 19th century for farm fences and has also come to mean a way of thinking that creates brilliance from the most basic of materials, and far-sighted problem-solving and innovation. The book includes a glossary of New Zealand words and phrases.

Within NZ: 

Single copy:         $20 +$4 post/packing or +$7.70 to RD addresses

Two copies postage: +$5.50 (or +$8.70 for RD). Three or more copies: +$7 (or +$10.70 for RD).

Please inquire for details for direct credit payments. Make cheques to: ‘Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012’ and post to PO Box 183, Katikati 3166.

Overseas (in $NZ):

Australia:             $25 + $10 postage (single copy)

UK/Europe/US:    $25 + $18 postage (single copy)

Please inquire for postage for multiple copies and/or to use PayPal.

Please note that all these postage rates apply only until July 1 when they will be increased to match NZ Post’s increased charges.

Testimonials

Aside from the wonderful poetry in the book, the hard copy itself is very nicely done and has a real ‘quality’ feel to it – Sian Williams

Number Eight Wire is a splendid effort … Very thorough in coverage of the last decade and all my favourites are there – Tony Beyer

Recent success

It felt like I was starting 2019 on the right foot when an email arrived advising I had won the Iris magazine Little Haiku Contest!

twilight —
humming as i weed
around the hive

Organised by the Three Rivers Haiku Association in Croatia, the contest was judged by haiku maestro Jim Kacian. Among his comments, which I’m guessing will be published in the next issue of Iris, Jim says:

What raises this poem above the other haiku here, however, is something more. I think it important to recognize that the poet is not humming to the bees, or imitating the bees. The poet is humming because she is employed in a fruitful and welcome occupation. Bees, after all, do not hum, but we can hear their wingbeats when they fly, or when they vibrate their wing muscles to shake pollen from a flower. While we interpret it as a kind of music, what we actually hear is exertion.

Our poet is wholly engaged in her task, and her humming, too, is the by-product of her effort. And if again we hear this effort as music, then our lives are that much richer for it.

It’s always fascinating to see what other people mine from your work. Yesterday I sent my judge’s comments to the organisers of the Martin Lucas Haiku Award so hope contestants and readers of issue 63 of Presence haiku journal will find them interesting.

beehive

My haiku is based on experiences around the two beehives we have in our suburban garden. This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and the bees have been making the most of it. The other evening I could feel the vibration coming from the boxes even standing a few metres away! We harvested from one hive this past week – and the honey is sensational, very sweet and caramel this year.

And I have a haiku in the latest (rolling) edition of Wales Haiku Journal.

too fast
to read the station’s name –
buddleia