New publications

The first issue of haiku journal Leaf-fall arrived in my letterbox recently, a gift from editor Akira Yagami who invited five poets to submit to the inaugural issue – Eva Limbach, John McManus, Alan Summers, Lucy Whitehead and myself.

after the scan
a dollhouse with
no one inside

Lucy Whitehead, Leaf-fall 1.1

This is from Lucy’s bio at Tinywords: Lucy Whitehead has a BA (hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology and an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology (of Asia). She has worked as an archaeologist and academic editor. She started writing haiku in 2018. Lucy lives in Essex in the UK.

star-spattered sky
the loneliness
we share

Eva Limbach, Leaf-fall 1.1

Eva writes in both English and her native German.You can read more of her work at her blog, Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). She lives in Saarbrücken, a German town near the French border and has been writing haiku since 2012.

Both the male poets are from England. Read more about John McManus. Alan Summers is a busy haiku bee who writes, teaches and supports various haiku institutions. His website is here.

And me? Well, you know me already!

first cold morning
the unlined face
of my oldest doll

Sandra Simpson

Akira Yagami has sent submission and subscription details for Leaf-fall, which is a print-only journal: April 15-May 15 (estimated publication date in early June); October 15-November 15 (estimated publication date in early December). Annual subscriptions are available: £10 outside UK (postage included) for two issues, beginning with 1.2. All payments via PayPal to akirayagami (at) gmx (dot) com

Cover artwork is also being sought for issue 1.2. All kinds of art considered, but please send only jpeg files to the above email address with the subject line ‘art cover submission’.

The next publication to arrive was NOON: An anthology of short poems (Isobar Press), a collection from the journal of the same name, covering the period 2004 to 2017. From 2004 to 2009 NOON was a print-only journal, before migrating to the web in 2014. ‘Short poem’, by the way, is anything up to 14 lines, so yes, haiku, but other types of work as well.

In his Introduction, editor (of both the anthology and the journal) Philip Rowland says, that, even online, having one poem per page means “each poem [has] the space to ‘breathe’; [but] the poem must also, so to speak, warrant the page”.

In this way the journal’s format has helped open the question: how much can these poems of very few words do, individually and collectively? The challenge is one
of concision – but also connection, for each issue is meant to form a sequence of poems, short enough to be read at a single sitting.

Likewise, the arrangement of poems in this anthology has been a crucial consideration: they have been carefully juxtaposed throughout. Thus it is not simply a ‘best-of’ collection, but rather a new configuration of selected poems – a retrospective special issue, effectively. Given the scarcity of the print issues and the ‘virtual’ form of the later ones, the general aim has been to provide a representative sample of poems from the journal in a more readily available book, offering, it is hoped, a distinctive and wide-ranging selection of contemporary short poetry.

The result, Philip says, is a “renga-like chain of over two hundred poems by almost half as many poets”.

The NOON Anthology isn’t without its challenges for a conservative writer like me, but there’s plenty here for even the moderately adventurous reader – including humour.

art school
fixing
the urinal

Helen Buckingham

Read about Marcel Duchamp’s ‘artwork’ Fountain. The Lee Gurga piece below sounds like a snippet from a Billy Collins poem (a compliment, by the way).

we
linger
at
breakfast
mother’s burial dress
on

hanger
in
the
car

Lee Gurga

November wind
the garden reverts
to Latin

Rick Tarquinio

end of the month –
the clatter of a knife
in an empty jar

Sandra Simpson

A review of this anthology is in the pipeline and will be posted here on breath when the author has completed it.

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Haiku fellowship

One of the things I like most about the haiku community is the sense of fellowship among writers – we’re all pursuing perfection in an artform that to outsiders looks ‘easy’ – so getting together with fellow haikuists (who understand the pain of creating a poem in only a few words) is always a pleasure.

I’m rather tardy in posting this, but poets from either side of the Kaimai Range met for a misty, but enjoyable, walk round a park in Matamata in May, followed by lunch and then a round robin reading/discussion session in a nearby cafe.

From left: Shirley May (Tauranga), Mac Miller (Hamilton), Sandra Simpson, Harry Frentz (both Tauranga) and Barry Smith (Hamilton). Still to come were Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui) and Deryn Pittar (Papamoa). Photo: Keith Frentz

We hope it will be the first of many such get-togethers – an idea sparked during the launch of number eight wire in Tauranga in March – to deepen the connection between two clusters of poets who as the crow flies don’t live very far apart (drat that mountain pass) but who number among them many excellent writers.

The cafe wall motto seemed appropriate, clockwise from left, Barry Smith, Sandra Simpson, Keith Frentz, Harry Frentz, Shirley May, Mac Miller and Deryn Pittar. Photo: Jenny Fraser

It was a pleasure to re-establish my acquaintance with Barry Smith – I used to run into him at poetry weekend get-togethers in the 1990s – and to meet Mac Miller, someone I’d only known by email until then but whose work I like.

See you all again (and many others from our respective areas, it’s to be hoped) soon!