Happy Birthday Kokako!

Kokako 30 landed just before I headed off to Japan, a good read as always. If you’re reading this in New Zealand and don’t subscribe to Kokako, what are you waiting for? Find details here.

The first issue of Kokako appeared in 2003, under the helm of (the late) Bernard Gadd and Patricia Prime, who is still co-editor, now with Margaret Beverland. Kokako grew out of winterSPIN, an annual publication of SPIN poetry journal and focusing on the Japanese genres and short poetry. SPIN editor pnw donnelly encouraged Catherine Mair to edit winterSPIN from 1995-2001 with Bernie helping out from 1998. From 2003-2006 Kokako appeared once a year, then moving (by popular demand) to twice a year.

In her editorial to mark the thirtieth edition, Margaret notes that in the beginning most of the submissions to Kokako came from within New Zealand, but now most come from overseas.

If you’re interested in reading more on the history of haiku in New Zealand, click on the link to read an essay, prepared by me for The Haiku Foundation and published in 2016.

Here is a selection of haiku by New Zealand authors from Kokako 30.

flight of a fantail …
we each scatter his ashes
between spells of rain

Kirsten Cliff Elliot (Hamilton)

kowhai2 - Copy

Photo: Sandra Simpson

family sorrow
the yellow kowhai
pays no attention

Tony Beyer (New Plymouth)

not speaking
the cherry on the fence line
in full bloom

Barbara Strang (Christchurch)

marae concert
a small hole in
the cellist’s sock

Sandra Simpson (Tauranga)

sunrise

6am flight!
watching the sun take off
on its own journey

Keith Nunes (Pahiatua)

how to smile
at people you don’t like
buttercup

Jenny Fraser (Mt Maunganui)

J, K, L of haiku

If you feel inspired to make your own alphabet, please share the link in the Comments section.

J

joint custody
a child on each end
of the see-saw

Susan Constable, Haiku Canada Review 7.2, 2013

 

horse

thunder-filled clouds –   
over the bridge come
jingling-jangling horses

Cyril Childs, Beyond the Paper Lanterns, 2000

 

K

dry summer –                                                                  
the kale field shimmering
with white butterflies

Catherine Bullock, scattered feathers (New Zealand Poetry Society, 2015)

 

broken whelk
the silky touch
of inside

Jenny Fraser, The Heron’s Nest 19.1, 2017

 

L

the long night
festive lights blinking
at the gun shop

Roland Packer, Haiku Canada Review 10.1, 2016

 

a last year’s lambskin where mushrooms gather dusk

Lorin Ford, Katikati Haiku Contest winner, 2014