Roving Ambassador Roberta Beary

It’s not often I have an ambassador to stay at Chez Haiku (in fact, never) but a visit this week from Roberta Beary (and her husband Frank Stella) was exactly that. Roberta is the inaugural Haiku Foundation Roving Ambassador – and even has diplomatic credentials (well, okay, a visiting card, but still …)!

Roberta and Frank arrived in Auckland from the US by cruise ship on January 27 and will spend about 3 weeks in Aotearoa doing all the usual sight-seeing with Roberta making contact with haiku poets and editors wherever she can. The couple are travelling for most of this year and have plans to base themselves in Ireland for a bit rather than being constantly on the move. From New Zealand they go to Australia and then, probably, Singapore. It seems a bit ‘fly by wire’ but I think they’re looking forward to some spontaneity after a busy time before they left the US.

We spent Friday in Katikati touring the 45 poems on the Haiku Pathway with a small group, all then toddling off to an extremely nice lunch together.

Roberta took the opportunity to make a photo record of every poem on the Katikati Haiku Pathway. Photo: Sandra Simpson

She was delighted to see this haiku by her good friend Jim Kacian. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Out to lunch (clockwise from front left) are Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui), Roberta Beary, Frank Stella, Bob Edwards (Katikati), Catherine Mair (Katikati), Catherine Bullock (Waihi), Margaret Beverland (Katikati) and Sandra Simpson (Tauranga). Photo: A really helpful waitress at Café Nineteen (Fairview Golf Course).

If you’d like to contact Roberta to see if a visit is possible, please use the email address on her visiting card. As well as being an award-winning haiku poet, Roberta is also haibun editor for Modern Haiku and will continue in this role during her zig-zagging across the planet, thanks to the magic of email.

On the TV

Had an email from NHK television in Japan to let me know that my ‘photo haiku’ was featuring in episode 10 of the Haiku Masters series. I was able to live stream it during broadcast on January 31, but it’s now available on demand on the website until February 27. Go here to have a look. My piece isn’t one that’s discussed but is shown at 20:41. The photo shows an elm flower and was taken in my backyard.

all-day-photo-haiku2

Photo & haiku: Sandra Simpson

Submissions for episode 11 are open until February 13 – either send a photo haiga or submit a haiku to a photo on the website.

On the radio

Won myself a chat with the delightful Jesse Mulligan this week, on his Summer Days slot on RNZ National. At my end the interview flew by and I thought it must have been about 5 minutes long – when I listened to it on podcast, turned out to be 10 minutes!

The basis of the interview was the Katikati Haiku Pathway but Jesse asked lots of questions about haiku in general and even started the interview with a haiku about the pathway that he’d written. Unfortunately, I wasn’t patched in and didn’t hear it which is why I don’t comment on it, not even to acknowledge his effort, shame.

Listen to the interview here.

Had some fun feedback too … an email this morning from Margaret Beverland, chairwoman of the Haiku Pathway Committee, who was contacted by a woman from Christchurch – and former resident of Katikati – who heard the interview. She’s off to Japan with 16 others on a Friendship Force International trip and they have decided to have a go at writing haiku before they leave. Excellent.

New Haiku Pathway poem: Part 2

It’s a pleasure to be able to announce the completion of the 45th poem on the Katikati Haiku Pathway – hopefully plenty of holiday visitors have already discovered this delightful haiku, especially with the first of the summer’s concerts having taken place.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

The poem is by Ron C. Moss of Tasmania and the plaque adorns a boulder behind the year-old stage built by the Twilight Concert Committee – the committee not only made a cash donation to the pathway project after last year’s summer concerts but also provided the rock for the poem and have planted around the stage.

outdoor concert
the toddler asleep
kicking stars

– Ron C. Moss

As with the other boulder completed in this 2-haiku project, the metal plaque inscribed with the poem has been made by Stainless Downunder, a Katikati company, and fitted into the rock by fourth-generation stone mason Paul Gautron who has inscribed many of the pathway’s poem boulders.

Ron hails from Tasmania in Australia (with Kiwi connections in his immediate family) and is a talented – and award-winning – poet, photographer and artist. See some of his artwork here. Ron’s first book-length collection of haiku, The Bone Carver, was published by Snapshot Press (UK) in 2014.

He works as a reprographic services technician at the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, as well as being a volunteer firefighter. Ron was awarded the Tasmania Fire Service Volunteer Medal (for diligent service) in 2010 and the National Medal in 2013.

Honey harvest

The beekeeper arrived, unannounced on December 19, and harvested honey for us, leaving it in a big bucket for us to dispense into jars which Haiku Son and I duly did, Haiku Husband being away for a couple of days (he’d done it by himself last year).

As a two-person operation it all went quite smoothly – he operated the dispensing nozzle while I held the jars underneath and called ‘stop’. We finished with a couple of empty jars to spare, whew, and not too much sticky mess to clean up.

sunlit jar
the beekeeper’s gift
on the doorstep

– Carmen Sterba
The Heron’s Nest 3:6 (2001)

Photo: Sandra Simpson

on the honey
a slight scent of the forest — 
lengthening daylight

– Tsugawa Eriko, tr Kato Koko
A Vast Sky: An anthology of contemporary world haiku (Tancho Press, 2015)

I spent a couple of days tasting the honey, trying to work out what it tasted of, if anything in particular, but no such luck. A bit of a fizz on the tongue, though, that’s about the best specific I can do.

Oh, yes, 10kg, same as last year!

honey bee –
at last the budding weeds
have meaning

– Ben Moeller-Gaa
Mystic Illuminations 3 (2016)

The bees are smoked to quieten them before the comb is removed. Photo: Sandra Simpson

on hold with the help desk a sound of bees swarming 

– Sandra Simpson
Presence 51 (2014)

end of a love
honey hardens
in the jar

– Polona Oblak
Notes from the Gean 3:4 (2012)

Botan shibe fukaku wakeizuru hachi no nagori kana

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

– Matsuo Basho, tr Robert Hass
Basho’s haiku originally from Skeleton in the Fields (Nozarashi kiko)
a travel journal of 1684-5

Another translation is:

from deep within 
the peony pistils — withdrawing
regretfully the bee

Season of goodwill … & haiku

Merry Christmas to all those who read breath – it’s been a pleasure having you along  over the past year of haiku musings. And my very best wishes for a healthy and productive New Year.

Here are a few seasonal haiku to see us on our way to Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and beyond!

Photo: Menchi, via Wikipedia.

christmas eve
in the taxi cab
a scent of pine

– Tom Painting
bottle rockets 12 (2006)

toll booth lit for Christmas —
from my hand to hers
warm change

– Michael Dylan Welch
Second place, Henderson Haiku Contest (HSA), 1995

birthcry!
          the stars
          are all in place

– Raymond Roseliep
from haiku mind by Patricia Donegan (Shambhala, 2008)

summer solstice –
the flock passes into darkness
one by one

– Sandra Simpson
A Hundred Gourds 3.4 (2014)

Christmas eve
in the courtyard below
a flutter of wings

– Pamela Miller Ness
The Heron’s Nest 3.5 (2001)

Christmas night
the lights on the house opposite
blink      blink blink         blink

– Sandra Simpson
Prune Juice 19, 2016

shaving foam
Santa in my mirror
waits for wishes

– Alexey Andreev
Presence 56 (2016)

New Haiku Pathway poem: Part 1

Last night’s Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee meeting began with a visit to a brand-new pathway poem, our 44th haiku. Our delight in the organic, yet sophisticated, look of the work is tempered by the fact that poet Jane Reichhold is not alive to have seen it completed.

We had corresponded by email over a period after requesting permission to use her haiku and know that she was honoured and excited to have her poem used on the Pathway.

Haiku Pathway founder Catherine Mair with the new boulder. Photo: Sandra Simpson

As usual, the project has been a community effort. It has been able to go ahead thanks to a donation from the Twilight Concert Committee – the Pathway reserve is now a permanent home for the summer concerts.

The metal plaques inscribed with the poem have been made by Stainless Downunder, a Katikati company, and fitted into the rock by fourth-generation stone mason Paul Gautron who has inscribed many of the pathway’s poem boulders. The boulder was purchased from Carine Garden Centre and lifted into place, free of charge, by Tom of Fotheringhame Contractors who are working on the next-door stage of Highfields.

And none of it would have been possible without the support of Wayne Allchorne, our Western Bay of Plenty District Council parks officer, and his boss Peter Watson.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

Stay tuned for the announcement of the 45th haiku being finished! Read more about the Katikati Haiku Pathway, a free walk that is open every day.