Katikati Haiku Contest 2016 results

There were 360 haiku entered from 8 countries. The organisers would like to thank all those who entered for supporting the pathway project and Katikati-based King’s Seeds for sponsoring the cash prizes.

autumn moon
eclipsed for a moment
migrating geese

– Tracy Davidson, UK, First

A classic seasonal scene which offers two readings thanks to its pivot line – the autumn moon is eclipsed for a moment by migrating geese; the migrating geese are eclipsed for a moment by the autumn moon. Purists will know that in Japanese haiku tradition ‘autumn’ doesn’t need to be attached to ‘moon’ as ‘moon’ is recognised as signifier of that rich season – and an autumn moon is always a full moon or harvest moon unless otherwise specified. So this haiku has two season-setters – autumn moon and migrating geese – but I don’t find that to be burdensome as the poem is full of sound and movement (geese), calm (moonlight) and subtly asks us to ponder the mystery of the birds’ powerful urge to migrate at a certain time and uncanny ability to do so over long distances. The beauty of the moment is intact and shines as brightly as that moon!

clear sky
a refugee kisses
the café window

– Cynthia Rowe, Australia, Second

From classic to modern – a good demonstration of how haiku can be used for any topic, including Europe’s refugee turmoil. Has the word ‘café’ been chosen deliberately to place this poem in France, possibly even Calais where a notorious refugee camp was recently demolished?

There’s a good deal of mystery in this poem: Why is the refugee kissing the café window? Has s/he just got a job there, heard some good news, is doing something to reflect his/her good fortune at being accepted for settlement? Is the refugee awaiting settlement or has s/he been received into a new home country? Is s/he inside the café or outside? Whatever the answers each reader brings to this haiku – and its zany echo of Pope John Paul II kissing the ground whenever he arrived in a new country – I think we can safely say the future is looking good. The author has carefully chosen the words used – the hard ‘k’ sounds balanced by the soft sounds.

Although the lines between haiku and its cousin senryu are now often blurred or ignored, this poem is more properly a senryu as it’s concerned with the doings of humans rather than nature. Another clue is that there’s no immediately definable season, although online sajiki (list of season words) place ‘clear sky’ as autumn or winter. However, my gut instinct is that this is a spring scene, with ‘clear sky’ and ‘kisses’ combining to produce, for me anyway, an optimistic reading.

autumn garden
 my thoughts
a deeper green

– Scott Mason, US, Third

The surface dichotomy of this haiku puzzled and intrigued me at first – why would the poet’s thoughts in an autumn garden be green? Then the penny began to drop – it might be a reference to environmentally friendly practices. For instance, collecting all those beautiful leaves to make a rich mulch or just raking them over a bed that’s put to sleep for the winter,  or using pruned branches as stakes or to make a ‘bug hotel’, keeping beneficial insects snug for winter. Perhaps the poet is assessing a garden that’s fading and planning fresh plantings for the spring and summer to come. ‘my thoughts /a deeper green’ are very satisfying lines to read and say.

Best Local Haiku

pruning –                                                                    
I leave the twig
with the ladybird

– Catherine Bullock, Waihi (NZ)

Highly Commended

museum –                                                                  
in the artist’s ink stone
ancient  pines

– Andre Surridge, Hamilton (NZ)

unclipped forsythia                                                     
     all children
     can sing

– Scott Mason

hot morning:                                                              
the sister’s peaked hat
is an exercise book

– Robert Alcock, Spain

heavy traffic                                                               
the fragrance of jasmine
crosses the road

– Elaine Riddell, Hamilton (NZ)

Commended

tidal pool sea shapes glide past sea shapes              

– Cynthia Rowe

daytime moon –
the lightness
of plum blossom

– Catherine Bullock

name tapes                                                                
on boarding school clothes –
my mother cuts the thread

– Joanne Watcyn-Jones, Australia

a child                                                                        
hiding in a hayfield
cloud drift

– Elaine Riddell

flight arrival   
the slow descent and taxi
of a pelican

– Jan Dobb, Australia

garden concert
the aroma
of mozart

– Ernest J Berry, Blenheim

Judge’s report by Sandra Simpson.

Friday haiku, autumn

A couple of weeks ago I went to a low-key poetry reading in a local bar – one eminent national poet and a local poet reading a few pieces each. Part-way through I realised how long the poems were, which made me smile and think, I love haiku.

Why?

  • It’s not a book but it’s a story worth hearing
  • There’s room for imagination
  • It knows when to be quiet
  • It understands the power of a single word
  • It doesn’t outstay its welcome.

There are more ideas that can be added to this list, but you get my drift.

Over on Haiku NewZ there is an occasional feature called My Favourite Haiku where various poets and editors choose (some of) their favourites and write a little about them. The following haiku was in the selection of Beverley George, an Australian writer and editor.

sowing seeds
I open my hand
to the autumn wind 

– Maria Steyn

If I was to make a selection today this would surely be in it

reminding me I am dust this shaft of sunlight

– Andre Surridge, Fear of Dancing (Red Moon anthology, 2014)

Good news! Melissa Allen is again blogging her haiku and haibun at Red Dragonfly. Melissa is one heck of a writer and I suggest you check her work out. Here’s her selection of favourites on Haiku NewZ.

the sound of geese through the crosshairs

– Melissa Allen, Fear of Dancing

I’ve been loaned the Japanese Haiku 2001 anthology, edited by the Modern Haiku Association. It’s hard to know how true these English haiku are to their originals but reading any contemporary haiku from Japan is a gift.

eating a persimmon
darkness builds inside me

– Rinka Ono (1904-1982)

In a brief bio note, Mr Ono is credited with mentoring many haiku poets who became major figures in Japan.

someone’s silhouette
on the bathroom door –
a cyclamen

– Hakko Yokoyama (1899-1983)

Mr Yokoyama was director of a hospital, owned a private clinic and was an elected city councillor, as well as being president of the Modern Haiku Association.

And, finally, an autumn haiga by Ron Moss of Tasmania. View it here. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a haiga is a combination of haiku (or tanka) with art – these days that can be anything from a traditional brush and ink painting to a computer-generated digital image. Ron also makes art to go with selected haiku in each edition of A Hundred Gourds.