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.

Halloween Haiku

We don’t do Halloween in this house because it’s not a New Zealand “tradition”. We see it as simply another import from America designed to make money for retailers and a way for kids to torment their parents. Yes, I’m not afraid to admit it, I am the Grinch of Halloween.

I have experienced Halloween in the US and the novelty made it fun especially as, say,  your supermarket checkout operator was a witch or a pumpkin or somesuch. The friends we were staying with had no children but bought in bags of “candy” to pass out to those who came knocking. I asked one kid what he was dressed as –  his reply made no sense to me, yet he was looking at me as if I was from Mars! Someone had to explain what a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was. I fear I’m just as out-of-touch with today’s cartoon favourites.

Halloween
the face in the pumpkin
winks at me 

– Tracy Davidson (UK), A Hundred Gourds 2:1, 2012

If you’ve ever read any of Ed McBain’s 87th precinct books that are set around Halloween, you’ll know of the nasty “tricks” his cops have to deal with on All Hallows Eve. Many churches in New Zealand now offer Light Parties on October 31 to counteract the “negative” side of Halloween.

Halloween party —
after a few drinks
the masks come off

– David Grayson (US), Frogpond XXVIII:3, 2004

Halloween Night
something orange
parked in our place 

– Helen Buckingham (UK), A Hundred Gourds 1:3, 2012

All Souls’ Eve –
tipping the spirit level
this way & that

– Sandra Simpson (NZ), A Hundred Gourds 3.2, 2014