Recent publication

Delighted to have a haiku on a signboard that is being displayed in the Golden Triangle area of Washington DC until early May. The recent contest drew more than 2,900 haiku with 200 selected to go on signboards. See the winning haiku and, if you want, all the signboards at the website. The theme of this year’s contest was ‘Reboot and Rebloom’.

The results of the 2021 Morioka Haiku Contest (Japan) were announced this year and I was fortunate enough to receive an Honourable Mention.

rolling the pebbles
around in my hand –
magpie song

Sandra Simpson

The winning haiku and their commentaries are here or go to the last two pages here to see all the selected English haiku.

I’ve clearly had magpies and their song on my mind as the following haiku appeared in the summer edition of a fine line, the magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society.

still no rain –
a magpie lands on the fence
and quardles

Sandra Simpson

If you’re a New Zealander reading this, you might well spot where my inspiration for this second haiku came from – The Magpies by Denis Glover. The Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is widespread in New Zealand, a thuggish bird with a beady eye!

A new edition of The Heron’s Nest was released on March 1, and contains one of my haiku.

weeding the garlic
still time
to put things right

Sandra Simpson

I very much like the Editor’s Choice for this quarter, click on this link to read the commentary:

autumn unfolding a plaid shirt in the country store

Barrie Levine

And today the latest Red Moon Anthology, string theory, arrived from the US, not long after it was posted. The international mail service seems to have at long last ungummed, hurrah! A copy is $US20, plus postage.

The anthology, which surveys the best English-language haiku published in 2021, is always a good read and also contains haibun, linked forms and some essays (disclaimer: I am one of the nominating editors). I’m also the proofreader and mention it only because of this clever haiku by Roland Packer of Canada – take your time with it, it’s not an error!

srokte raehb …
teh cregaveir fwolols
hre maennig

The Australian online journal Echidna Tracks 8 has been unfolding by the day from December 1 until March 18. I had two haiku included in this open theme edition, here’s the one that appeared on March 12.

abandoned station –
a jaunty tail
on the dust-drawn cat

Sandra Simpson

Recent publications

It seems I’ve got a bit of catching up to do …

hot night –
the time it takes the rat
to stop screaming

Sandra Simpson, Fourth, NZPS International Haiku Contest 2019

Judge Greg Piko had this to say about the haiku …‘hot night’ asked: What is happening to this rat in the heat of the night? Perhaps this is a rat we wanted dead. Perhaps we feel sorrow for the rat. Either way, this is a strong haiku that highlights the impermanence of life and makes us think about how lives end. Indeed, it can make us think about how our own life might end.

Two other haiku were also selected for publication in the contest anthology, The Perfect Weight of Blankets at Night, edited by Raewyn Alexander.

Five haiku were selected for New Zealand’s haiku journal Kokako 31, which came out last September. Issue 32 has been delayed by Covid-19 restrictions.

blowing raspberries
on her tummy –
the moon’s curve

Sandra Simpson, Kokako 31

gap in the fence  
I poke my head into
a world of sheep

Sandra Simpson, NOON 16 (2020)

Two haiku were selected for March issue of The Heron’s Nest

spring winds –
the falcon’s eye
black to the core

Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 22.1

The following haiku was selected by the Golden Triangle Haiku Contest for a signboard that is being displayed in this business district of Washington DC. The theme was nature in the city.

road works –
the billow and sag
of a cobweb in the wind

Sandra Simpson

Martin Lucas Haiku Award judge Matthew Paul selected this haiku for a Highly Commended:

harvest moon –
the kitchen table laid
with pieces of gun

Sandra Simpson

The prizewinners, plus another two of my poems, will appear in Presence 66 which was posted from the UK in mid-March.

The final haiku appears in the online exhibition at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Masters of Japanese Prints: Haiku (it’s about two-thirds of the way through):

summer heat –
his shaved head glistens
in the lamplight

The UK museum put up a selection of its Japanese woodblock prints and asked for haiku written as a response to the art. This one is matched with Lantern Seller by Utagawa Kunisada I (1786-1864). Kudos to Alan Summers and Karen Hoy of Call of the Page for arranging this interesting project.

Putting together these posts, which someone has described as skiting, does let me see that I am achieving something with my chosen art form. It’s all too easy to not write, not publish and not enter contests. I’d rather keep trying even if it does seem like a bit of an effort sometimes!

And to end, a ripple from the past … an email arrived on December 12 from Richard Oswin, a teacher and composer in Christchurch. Richard was asking permission to use The Gift, one of my longer poems, from Poetry Pudding (Raupo, 2007), a collection of poems for children. I had to find my copy of the book to even recall what the poem was – it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything longer than a haiku!

Richard used the poem as lyrics for a piece of music he’d been commissioned to write as a test piece for the  Auckland leg of the national festival The Kids Sing and duly sent me an mp3 file of his composition which features two vocal parts. Although I haven’t heard voices with the music, it seems quite lovely. And the whole thing is quite extraordinary!