Katikati Haiku Contest 2021

After a Covid hiatus last year, the Katikati Haiku Contest returns, just in time to celebrate the 21st birthday of the Katikati Haiku Pathway.

King’s Seeds, a Katikati business, is kindly sponsoring the cash prizes which will see the first-place haiku receive a generous $200, second $100 and third $50 (overseas winners will receive their prize via PayPal). The best haiku by a local writer will receive a nice book prize.

The pathway committee has decided to waive the entry fee this year, both in recognition of the pathway’s milestone and to acknowledge last year’s postponed contest. However, there will be a limit of 2 haiku per entrant to try and keep things manageable for the person receiving the entries and the judge. Enter by email or see above for a postal address. Typed entries much preferred, but otherwise please write clearly.

The contest closes at 5pm on September 19 (New Zealand time). Please see the flyer above for further details.

For beginners, there is a good guide to writing haiku, complete with lesson plans, here.

Haiku Workshop with me!

Consider this your invitation to come along to a workshop and flex your haiku muscles by, hopefully, learning something new and doing some writing exercises. I’m still forming up exactly how it will run but topics touched on will include a brief history of haiku, the joy of close observation, structuring haiku as a poet, and how to read haiku.

When: Saturday, July 24, 1-4pm.
Where: Wesley Church Hall, 13th Ave, Tauranga.
Cost: $10 as a share of hall hire.
Register: By email or phone 07 577 6676.

If you want to make a day of it, Margaret Beverland, co-editor of Kokako haiku journal, is holding a workshop in Katikati that morning. Our nefarious plan is to also to drum up interest for this year’s Katikati Haiku Contest (details here soon).

When: Saturday, July 24, 10am-noon.
Where: Katikati Information Centre, Main Road, Katikati.
Cost: Free.
Register: By email or ph/txt 0275 897 676.

Wasp on the Prayer Flag

Wasp on the Prayer Flag (Alba Publishing, 60 pages) is a selection of the writing of Irish poet Maeve O’Sullivan from 2018-2021, momentous years, as it turned out. The first section of the book is divided into Seasons, with autumn leading the way and including this outstanding haiku:

first autumn storm
my balcony flags
still releasing prayers

The Haiku Sequences offers us the chance to travel with the author as she explores Ireland, a country that was on my to-do list – and with luck and science hopefully may still be.

estuary swim
on a rare sunny day –
this beach’s name means mouth

(from the sequence Kerry Dreamtime)

O’Sullivan’s quiet descriptions give me a good ‘feel’ for her places, which sound much like many I know in New Zealand. Like her, I have been rediscovering my own country and feel richer for it. One silver lining of restricted travel has undoubtedly been that we’ve all looked harder and thought more deeply about ‘near’, rather than rushing to tick off the next exotic surrounding of ‘far’. O’Sullivan is an experienced traveller – as detailed in her 2017 collection Elsewhere – and even manages a sweetly wry senryu about her ‘old life’.

bored with lockdown
I wear the sandals in which
I travelled the world

Finally, there’s a decent-sized selection of senryu, arranged under topic headings including ‘RIP’, ‘Home Sweet Home’ and, inevitably, ‘Pandemic’, the topic that’s had us all in its grasp for the past 18 months.

no human hugs
for seven weeks –
this silver birch will do

I’m glad the senryu were separated out as it allows the humour for which the Irish are famed to sparkle through here and there, even when addressing the bleakest of subjects.

after three funerals
hoping the tiramisù
lives up to its name

Throughout the collection, which is the right size to enjoy at one sitting (if that’s how you take your haiku) are, if you’ll excuse the pun given the following, poems that are breath-taking in their observation and depth of perception.

piper’s in-breath
released in a series of notes –
midsummer

Many of the poems have been published, or broadcast, previously. Pulling them together in this collection is a valuable, and sensible, exercise as O’Sullivan’s publishing credits show that her work finds a home in many and varied outlets, a surprising number of them print-only.

this little moorhen
navigating alone
canal walk

(from the sequence Holy Week Blessings)

Wasp on the Prayer Flag may be ordered through Maeve O’Sullivan’s own website, or from the publisher with whom she’s had a long and fruitful association.