Spring has brought a number of publications to my letterbox and inbox …

A Hundred Gourds features a loving tribute to Martin Lucas by Matthew Paul, and two of my haiku.

summer solstice –
the flock passes into darkness
one by one

– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds 3:4

The Heron’s Nest also features two of my haiku, which means I’m in reasonably select company as few have been accorded that honour this time. I’m humbled, as always, to have anything accepted anywhere so to get two each into these fine journals is exciting.

pioneer cemetery –
here and there a name
faces heavenward

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest XVI.3

Two of my haiku are to appear in the New Zealand Poetry Society anthology (editor Nola Borrell, launched in November), and Kokako 21 includes four of my haiku.

another lotto loss –
the sparkle of my mother’s
costume jewellery

– Sandra Simpson, Kokako 21

The latest paper wasp arrived by post from Australia today, the penultimate issue of the 20th anniversary series, this one dedicated to senryu and edited by Jacqui Murray, Vuong Pham and Katherine Samuelowicz. Individual issues are $A6 each. (I would link to the website but it appears out of date.)

The editors have shoe-horned the senryu into the 20 pages, no doubt about that. To be fair I should point out that production values are one of my (many) hobby-horses. I’m not sure how successful all the senryu are or why one by Vuong Pham is in twice (not the only proof-reading error). The journal is published four times a year … but is only 16 or 20 pages so I find the proof-reading and layout issues surprising.

I have on my shelf a copy of paper wasp from spring 1996, edited by Janice Bostok and Jacqui Murray which is 16 pages with, generally, five or six poems per page, compared to, generally, 13 or 15 per page for spring 2014.

Okay, that all sounds a bit negative and I’m sorry for that. Every person who edits a haiku journal should receive an award – Knight Companion of the Order of Basho, or somesuch. But, on the other hand, readers of haiku, tanka and haibun journals should be able to expect a minimum standard, evidence of some care.


still heading out

still heading out
telling my track
by the Southern Cross

– John Knight (1935-2012)

still heading out is an anthology of Australian and New Zealand haiku writers put together as a memorial for John Knight, a poet, publisher and co-founder of the paper wasp group. It has arrived in my letterbox today (Christmas Eve) so counts as a gift!

The 78-page book is edited by paper wasp members Jacqui Murray and Katherine Samuelowicz, and is a who’s who of haiku poets on both sides of the Tasman (although I see my old mate Ron Moss is missing). Owen Bullock and Lorin Ford, who both had books of haiku published by John’s PostPressed, are represented and there are some Australian names new to me so I shall take a glass of rhubarb cordial and soda water and find a nice spot for reading.

Copies are $A20 each (Australia and New Zealand) and $US20 (rest of the world). For more information email Jacqui Murray.

orange sky –
the taste of summer peeling
back the day

– Carole Harrison, NSW

spattering rain the pulse in a sparrow’s throat

– Sandra Simpson