Haiku, a visitor & an explanation!

I am very excited to have my haiku featuring on the Mann Library Daily Haiku website, one a day for the month of August. Click on the link to read the current one, and then ‘previous’ or ‘next’.

For more than 10 years Tom Clausen, the instigator of the Mann Library Daily Haiku series, posted a daily haiku in the elevator of the old Mann building at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York state). Since his retirement, he posts them online. Featured poets are by invitation only, so it’s an honour to be included.

Tom’s essay, A Haiku Way on Life, featured on Haiku NewZ in 2007. Click on the title to read it.

Presence 64 has arrived from the other side of the world (UK) and includes three of my poems.

winter palace –
a light rain falls
on the bridal party

– Sandra Simpson

As you might guess this one was written after visiting St Petersburg last year and was pretty much a scene from Palace Square. The melancholy of Russian history – and what a history it is – seemed to filter quickly into my consciousness.

Canadian poet Michael Dudley is visiting New Zealand and was in Katikati last week where a few of us joined him for a walk round the Haiku Pathway. It was a delight to have him share his insights into the poems we met – his acuity and sensitivity to the words and surroundings enriched our outing considerably. Read about Michael and his extensive recent travels in this piece from an English-language Montenegro newspaper (February 12, 2019).

Visiting the Haiku Pathway in Katikati are, from left, Bob Edwards, Margaret Beverland and Michael Dudley. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Michael asked me why my boulder poem

wading birds
mark low tide with
chinese characters

used lower case for the word ‘chinese’ (and it’s not unknown for editors to inquire as to why I use lower case on proper nouns). So … I believe we humans and our activities should be viewed on a par with ants and trees and birds. We should not think we stand any higher and, in fact, our propensity to see ourselves as ‘rulers’ of the Earth has caused, is causing and will cause immeasurable damage and problems for all the inhabitants of this beautiful blue planet.

US poet Scott Mason this week sent a link to this great interview (43 minutes) he did for public television in America and, I was delighted to hear, he thinks much the same way about our place in the world (though I don’t know where stands on capital letters!). If you don’t yet have a copy of Scott’s great book on haiku, The Wonder Code, immediately purchase one!

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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)

number eight wire

The fourth New Zealand haiku anthology is finally here! The delivery of books took place this week so my co-editor Margaret Beverland and I are very pleased to announce that copies are now on sale.

anthology cover - Copy

Many thanks to Michelle Reynolds at Kale Print, Tauranga for her fantastic cover design.

A 150-page perfect-bound volume, number eight wire is a survey of New Zealand haiku from 2008 to 2018 – 330 poems by 70 authors, published at home and around the world with many honoured in international contests.

The book’s title is taken from this haiku

beaded with songbirds number eight wire

Karen Peterson Butterworth

Number eight wire has been used in New Zealand since the 19th century for farm fences and has also come to mean a way of thinking that creates brilliance from the most basic of materials, and far-sighted problem-solving and innovation. The book includes a glossary of New Zealand words and phrases.

Within NZ: 

Single copy:         $20 +$4 post/packing or +$7.70 to RD addresses

Two copies postage: +$5.50 (or +$8.70 for RD). Three or more copies: +$7 (or +$10.70 for RD).

Please inquire for details for direct credit payments. Make cheques to: ‘Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012’ and post to PO Box 183, Katikati 3166.

Overseas (in $NZ):

Australia:             $25 + $10 postage (single copy)

UK/Europe/US:    $25 + $18 postage (single copy)

Please inquire for postage for multiple copies and/or to use PayPal.

Please note that all these postage rates apply only until July 1 when they will be increased to match NZ Post’s increased charges.

Testimonials

Aside from the wonderful poetry in the book, the hard copy itself is very nicely done and has a real ‘quality’ feel to it – Sian Williams

Number Eight Wire is a splendid effort … Very thorough in coverage of the last decade and all my favourites are there – Tony Beyer

Recent success

It felt like I was starting 2019 on the right foot when an email arrived advising I had won the Iris magazine Little Haiku Contest!

twilight —
humming as i weed
around the hive

Organised by the Three Rivers Haiku Association in Croatia, the contest was judged by haiku maestro Jim Kacian. Among his comments, which I’m guessing will be published in the next issue of Iris, Jim says:

What raises this poem above the other haiku here, however, is something more. I think it important to recognize that the poet is not humming to the bees, or imitating the bees. The poet is humming because she is employed in a fruitful and welcome occupation. Bees, after all, do not hum, but we can hear their wingbeats when they fly, or when they vibrate their wing muscles to shake pollen from a flower. While we interpret it as a kind of music, what we actually hear is exertion.

Our poet is wholly engaged in her task, and her humming, too, is the by-product of her effort. And if again we hear this effort as music, then our lives are that much richer for it.

It’s always fascinating to see what other people mine from your work. Yesterday I sent my judge’s comments to the organisers of the Martin Lucas Haiku Award so hope contestants and readers of issue 63 of Presence haiku journal will find them interesting.

beehive

My haiku is based on experiences around the two beehives we have in our suburban garden. This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and the bees have been making the most of it. The other evening I could feel the vibration coming from the boxes even standing a few metres away! We harvested from one hive this past week – and the honey is sensational, very sweet and caramel this year.

And I have a haiku in the latest (rolling) edition of Wales Haiku Journal.

too fast
to read the station’s name –
buddleia

NZPS Contest Update

tango

The 2018 NZPS anthology is not only out – it has sold out! But there may be a reprint of The Unnecessary Invention of Punctuationread more here. So I can now share the haiku that was placed First and won the Jeanette Stace Memorial Award:

cloud lichen …
too late now
to learn the tango

Sandra Simpson

This was written well before I began a six-week course of ballroom dance lessons … turns out it might also be too late to learn how to foxtrot!

roadside blackberries –
the book I wore out reading
to my brother

Sandra Simpson, Commended

kingfisher

by the time he says kingfisher –

Sandra Simpson, Highly Commended

A mosaic haiku

Received the lovely news last night that mosaic artist Greta Doo has been inspired by one of my haiku to create a piece of new work which will be shown at the second A Palette of Poetry exhibition in Dunedin, October 14-28, at the Resene Colour Shop in Crawford St. (Click on this link to see what Greta did last year.)

Funds raised from the exhibition will go towards the Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) project which every quarter creates trifold poetry pamphlets – about 7000 of them – and distributes them to medical centres, hospitals, rest-homes, hospices and prisons. People can read them while they wait or or take them away. Ruth Arnison, the moving force behing PitWR and the exhibition, received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to poetry and literature in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The haiku which inspired Greta to create Autumn Table is

end of harvest
we pull out the leaves
on the dining table

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 13.2 (2011)

Greta says about the choice of this haiku: “It all started when I grew my first cucumber last year in the new glasshouse. I was so proud of it I put it on the kitchen table with a tomato to show off the size, plus some other produce that made a good arrangement for a photo shoot. I revisited the photo after reading Sandra’s haiku and they resonated together to form the artwork.”

greta doo

Autumn Table by Greta Doo. Image: Greta Doo

Autumn Table is 1.1m long and 0.5m high. It comprises 3 panels glued and screwed together to emulate the leaves of a dining table, thus the middle panel is slightly raised. The work should be hung flat upon a wall.

The exhibition opens at 2pm on Saturday, October 14.

Recent success

News of my First place in the New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Contest came while I was away, so exciting. Unfortunately, I can’t share the haiku with you just yet as NZPS has first publication rights and the anthology won’t be out until November. I also received one Highly Commended and one Commended. Big thanks to judge Katherine Raine and contest organiser Laurice Gilbert.

Katherine has written a Haiku Checklist for those new to haiku or teaching themselves. It’s well worth a read.

Waiting for me at home was Presence 61, another fine edition out of the UK.

coming to rest
on a nameless headstone
a slice of sun

– Patricia Prime

summer heat
the snap and crackle
of broom seeds

– Owen Bullock

genocide museum –
a pair of swallows
hunt for a way out

– Sandra Simpson

And Kokako 29 arrived in the letterbox yesterday – Pat Prime is co-editor of the journal, along with Margaret Beverland. The cover photo of two laughing kimono-clad Japanese women was taken by me at the teahouse in Hama Rikyu gardens, Tokyo (the back cover information is correct, that on P2 not so much!).

kokako Hamarikyu teahouse - Copy

It was one of those moments when our eyes connected and it all fell into place. Photo: Sandra Simpson

a photo reveals
what they didn’t notice then
ash on his face

– Celia Hope

speedwell by the path losing herself in blueness

– Barbara Strang

deepening cyclone –
the beekeeper’s
flowery language

– Sandra Simpson

Yes, these are all New Zealand poets. Not bad, eh?