Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday updates

Journal of Renga & Renku : Just 3 weeks left to send content

A quick reminder that there are just three weeks left in our reading period for the next issue of Journal of Renga & Renku, which closes on October 1, 2011. Full details at .  To gain an idea of the sort of content that interests the editors, leaf through the 17-page online preview of the current issue of JRR at .

We'd also be very happy to receive an entry (or several) from you, for the 2011 JRR renku contest, to be judged by Eiko Yachimoto. Full details at . Entry is free. Closing date for entries: October 1, 2011.

Please send all contributions and other communications to (RengaRenku AT gmail DOT com)

We look forward to hearing from you.

Norman Darlington
Moira Richards
Journal of Renga & Renku

The results of The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 have been posted.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday updates

2011 San Francisco International Competition
Haiku, Senryu, Tanka and Rengay
Sponsored by: Haiku Poets of Northern California
Deadlines for Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka: In hand, October 31, 2011
Deadlines for Rengay: In hand, November 30, 2011

All entries must be original, unpublished, and not under consideration elsewhere. There is no limit to the number of submissions. A first prize of $100 will be awarded in each of the four categories. For the Haiku contests, second and third prizes of $50 and $25 will be awarded. Contest results will be announced at the first HPNC meeting in January and in the HPNC Newsletter. Winning poems will be published in the Spring/Summer issue of Mariposa, the membership journal of the HPNC. All rights revert to authors after the contest results are announced. This contest is open to all except the HPNC president and, for their respective categories, the contest coordinators and the judges (who will remain anonymous until after the competition, except rengay contest).

Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka Submission Guidelines
Type or print each entry on two 3 x 5 cards. In the upper left corner of each card identify its category as Haiku, Senryu, or Tanka. On the back of one card only, print your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (optional). The entry fee is $1.00 per poem. Send haiku, senryu and tanka submissions, along with entry fee, to HPNC, c/o Carolyne Rohrig, 37966 Parkmont Dr., Fremont, CA 94536.

Rengay Submission Guidelines
All rengay must be titled. For two people (Poet A and Poet B) follow this linked format: 3 lines/Poet A, 2 lines/Poet B, 3/A, 3/B, 2/A, 3/B. For three poets (A, B, and C) the format is: 3 lines/A, 2 lines/B, 3 lines/C, 2/A, 3/B, 2/C. Type or print each rengay on three letter-size sheets. Include full authorship information, stanza by stanza, as well as all poets' names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses (optional) on one copy only. On the other two copies, mark stanzas with letters only (poet A, poet B, poet C) to indicate the sequence of authorship. The entry fee is $5.00 per rengay. The rengay judge will be announced later. Send rengay submissions to HPNC, c/o Fay Aoyagi, 930 Pine St. #105, San Francisco CA 94108.

Entry Fees
Make checks or money orders payable in U.S. dollars to "Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC)." Cash (in U.S. currency) is OK. Enclose a business-size SASE (U.S. first class postage or an IRC) for notification of contest winners. No entries will be returned, with the exception of late submissions, or those received without payment. These will be returned using your SASE; without an SASE these entries will be discarded.

Thank you for participating in this year's contest.
If you have any questions, please contact Carolyne Rohrig by e-mail (

South by Southeast has a submissions deadline coming up on Sept. 15th. Visit the South by Southeast web site for more information:

North Carolina Haiku Society poets Lenard D. Moore and Tom Heffernan have free verse poems about 9/11 on the North Carolina Arts Council web site. Click their names below to read their poems:

Lenard D. Moore

Tom Heffernan

M. Kei sent this:

I have completed the revamp of Pirates of the Narrow Seas, second edition, publishing now through CreateSpace. The books have better physical production values, and I'm very happy with the new printer.

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1 : The Sallee Rovers, 2nd Edition:

Pirates of the Narrow Seas 3 : Iron Men, Kindle edition:

The first three books in the series are also available in other formats from All Romance Books, iBooksthore, and other retailers.

Lt. Peter Thorton, a gay officer serving in the British navy during the Age of Sail must struggle to come out gay while surviving ship to ship battles, storms at sea, duels, kidnapping and more in his quest for true love and honor in the narrow Seas. Winner of a Sweet Revolution Award and a Rainbow Award.

The first book can be read for free online at:

Happy reading,


M. Kei
author, Pirates of the Narrow Seas

Another poet has passed. Svetlana Marisova died a couple of days ago at the age of 21. Robert D. Wilson has more information on his A Lousy Mirror web site.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday updates

Hello Sketchbook Writers and Artists and Readers:

A note from Karina.

Some of you may know, as a woman I love to create new things. In addition to my Global Correspondents, the Little Black Book, Contributing Editors and Childwriter's Sketchbook, which were my last creations to the Sketchbook, I have a new one, Showcase Haiku Haijin, ie. SHH! I will scout out each Sketchbook Issue for haiku to Showcase. These haiku will be chosen by rigid standards.

I have not set a limit to how many haiku will be selected for the Showcase Haiku Haijin; that will be determined and vary each issue depending upon the haiku submitted and selected for the issue. While our thread is themed and our kukai has a kigo, the Showcase Haiku Haijin (SHH), will not be restricted to a topic. However, each Showcase Haiku must have a kigo / season word in the season of the publication they are submitting to. Showcase Haiku Haijin is only for Haiku, no other genres. Later we will add Tanka as a separate showcase.

Haijin may send up to five haiku for each bi-monthly issue: February, April, June, August, October, and December. Haiku entered in the Showcase Haiku Haijin (SHH) must be previously unpublished; they must not be work shopped; they must not appear on any list, forum, group, blog, or in print. In short, if the haiku has appeared on the internet or in print we consider it to have been published. The next deadline is 20, October, 2011 for the September/October 31, 2011 issue. Any autumn kigo may be selected.

Send to:
Subject line: SHH and your name

Include a Reference from which your Autumn kigo word was chosen; for example:

Autumn Kigo: "morning dew"--autumn season/climate: The Haiku Handbook. William J. Higginson, p. 277.

Autumn Kigo: "quail"--autum season / animals: The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words: on-line @
Autumn Kigo: "harvest time"--autumn season/humanity: World Kigo Database--on-line:

The World Kigo Datebase also maintains a list of regional Kigo. Other saijiki sources may also be used; just be specific.
~ ~ ~

The July / August Sketchbook issue will not be published until September 30, 2011 due to the high volume of submissions and tributes.

Remember to submit your poems to the Found Poem Contest to be elegible for the 1st. prize of $50.00 or 2nd prize of $ 25.00. Read the Details here! Deadline is December 1, 2011.

Send Found Poems to :
Subject Line: Found Poem Contest plus Poet’s Name
~ ~ ~

Sketchbook “autumn leaves” Kukai: Enter by October 20, 2011: read the details here.

Sketchbook “cemetery” Haiku Thread: Enter by October 26, 2011; read the details here.

Submissions are open for the September / October 31, 2011 Sketchbook. Submit by October 20, 2011. Read the submission guidelines.

Karina Klesko, Sketchbook Administrator

Sketchbook Editors: Karina Klesko and John Daleiden
kk / jd

Gabriel Rosenstock sent this:

a new Wurm project: the poezine can-can

details here:

The winners of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2011 Haiku Invitational have been posted:

I'd like to thank Charlotte Digregorio for linking to my mini essay entitled An Introduction to Haiku & Senryu for New Haiku & Senryu Poets and also for interviewing me and featuring three of my free verse poems on her web site recently.

And, finally, some very sad news for you today:

Vale Janice M Bostok 1942 -2011

Australian haiku poets will be saddened by the death of revered haiku poet Janice M Bostok, Patron of the Australian Haiku Society, editor, teacher, judge and mentor in the haiku field. Janice died peacefully in the Murwillumbah Hospital yesterday afternoon Sunday 4th September. On behalf of the Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz) may I offer condolences to Janice’s family, and to her haiku colleagues and friends.

Cynthia Rowe
President: The Australian Haiku Society

More information on Janice’s life and her role in the haiku community will be posted soon.

Please submit your memorial poems and brief tributes to

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Introduction to Haiku & Senryu for New Haiku & Senryu Poets

Here's a little something I put together for new haiku poets. I hope it will be useful to someone.

An Introduction to Haiku & Senryu for New Haiku & Senryu Poets

by Curtis Dunlap

This blog post comes with a warning: Once you open your “haiku eye”, it never closes. In fact, I dreamed in haiku once and I know of at least one other haiku poet who has dreamed in haiku. The dream was sort of like a musical but without music. Every word spoken, every poet in the dream communicated via haiku! It was a wonderfully pleasant dream. But I digress...

Okay, back to the “haiku eye”: You will start noticing small things that will stand out in your mind, a blade of grass swaying in the wind, bird songs, raindrops striking a puddle... Not everything I witness or observe becomes a haiku. Occasionally, a free verse poem will take shape from a haiku "moment" (an added benefit of the “haiku eye” that I did not expect).

So, what are haiku? In a nutshell, haiku are one-breath poems; they are picture poems. The haiku poet uses words to paint a picture without adding personal thought or feelings to the poem. In haiku the poet must “show, don’t tell”. Strong haiku can evoke an emotional response in the reader, an extraordinarily wonderful thing to experience when reading these concise poems.

The Japanese sound unit called an onji does not equal an English syllable. Japanese haiku sound units are written in a 5-7-5 format (again Japanese sound units, not English syllables). When English speaking poets began writing haiku they would write in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Now, since an onji does not equal an English syllable, an English haiku tends to be longer than a Japanese haiku. Experts on the subject have determined that a 17 onji haiku in Japanese should be about a 12 to 15 syllable poem in English.

Poet Jack Kerouac seldom wrote 5-7-5 haiku. Kerouac’s haiku are one-breath poems. Personally, I have always thought that it was better to use the best word or words for the poem. Trying to fit a word into a haiku to meet a syllable quota is akin to putting a square peg in a round hole.

Does that mean you should not write haiku in 5-7-5? No, many people are content to write in that format; however, I personally find it less stressful to write in the freer "one-breath" style. It does not cramp my creativity. I have a few poems written as 5-7-5, but it was never my intention to write 5-7-5 haiku. I just penned the poems, let the words flow and they unintentionally became 5-7-5 haiku.

Now, let's talk about kigo (kee-go). Kigo is a seasonal reference in haiku. You can explicitly mention the season as in this poem of mine:

empty house –
a whisper of mother's voice
in the autumn wind

Museum of Haiku Literature Award
Frogpond Volume XXXI:1 - Winter 2008

or this poem:

spring planting –
a redbird offers a seed
to his mate

The Heron's Nest VII:3 - 9, 2005

Autumn and spring are the seasonal references (kigo) in the two poems.

You can also imply the season, by using an image to suggest a season. Can you guess the time of year for this poem?

tall tales in the shade –
grandpa shifts his tobacco
to the other cheek

Notes from the Gean Issue 1 - 2009

or this poem:

bustling shoppers –
the bell ringer's
prosthetic hand

The Heron's Nest X:4 - 12, 2008

Tobacco growing season is a spring or summer kigo. If you guess Christmas for the second poem, you are correct! Christmas is a winter kigo.

You can also use animals and plant life to suggest a season:

a gray cubicle –
cicada songs
through a speaker phone

The Heron's Nest VI:9, 2004

fog rising –
mushrooms push aside
a bed of pine needles

The Heron's Nest VI:11, 2004

Cicadas suggest summer. Fog and mushrooms suggest autumn.

The Japanese take kigo very seriously in haiku, creating entire collections of season words called a saijiki that include wildlife, plants, weather etc. and how or when they should be used in haiku. (William J. Higginson compiled the first international saijiki, entitled Haiku World.)

Let's talk about juxtaposition. Reread the above poems. Did you notice that I used an em dash to separate two sections of the poems? This is done for contrast. Haiku invite the reader to participate in the poem. It is up to the reader to make the connection between the contrasting images. Neat, eh? You and I may read the same haiku; however, it may resonate within you and have a different meaning for you than it does for me. That is a concept that took a while for me to understand.

Okay, back to juxtaposition. There are other ways to separate the two parts of the poem. I have seen poets use a comma, colon, or ellipses as in this poem:

autumn rain
peppers the sand . . .
a missing toe's phantom itch

Frogpond Volume XXVII:3 (Nov. 2004)

Notice also that I separated the second and third lines whereas I separated the first and second lines in the earlier poems. By the way, I have all my toes. The above poem is what I call an “empathy haiku”. I wrote a short article for Modern Haiku that describes empathy haiku. The article is also available at the following URL:

Another haiku technique is to not use anything to separate the contrasting images in a haiku, leaving it up to the reader to decide:

sunset across the field
of a full day's work

Frogpond Volume 31:2 - Spring/Summer 2008

Sometimes there is no sharp cut between the two images, the haiku might read as a one breath sentence as in this poem:

up with the rooster
tending her tomato plants
the childless widow

NCHS Anthology Commemorating HNA 2007

One-line haiku are popular. Here is one of my one-line haiku:

rain drops changing the tone of river stones

Modern Haiku Volume 39.1 - Winter/Spring 2008

By the way, I intentionally penned "rain drops" instead of raindrops...implying "rain falls"...oh, and the rhyme was unintentional. Haiku do not rhyme. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

That is haiku in a nutshell. Now, let's move onto senryu. Senryu are structurally like haiku, but where haiku are about nature or nature linked to the human condition, senryu are about human nature. Check out these poems:

after the burial . . .
my father’s smile
on so many faces

The Heron's Nest VIII:4 - 12, 2006

country store –
two old-timers whittle
over world affairs

The Heron's Nest VI:8, 2004

outside the planetarium
a senior couple share
a doobie

Notes from the Gean Issue 1 - 2009

karaoke night –
a barfly dances
with the wallflower

Frogpond Volume XXX:2 (June 2007)

Did you notice that there are no seasonal references? The above poems are about human nature.

Senryu can be poignant, satirical, and humorous as in this poem by the lovely Hortensia Anderson:

sounded like a fine idea
until that last beer . . .

Prune Juice: Journal of Senryu and Kyoka (Winter 2009)

Another one of my senryu published in a recent issue of Prune Juice:

plucking hair
from my ears
she loves me, she loves me not

Prune Juice Issue 6 - Summer 2011

Okay, that is a crash course in English adaptations of a couple of Japanese poetic forms. The absolute best thing that I recommend for you to do is to read a lot of haiku and senryu. Saturate your brain with haiku and senryu by other poets and, before long, you will start thinking and composing your own poems. Your “haiku eye” will switch on and stay on. You will look for haiku and senryu and they will, quite often, find you!

I recommend:

Patricia Donegan on Chiyo-ni's "Way of Haiku"

The Heron's Nest (has over a decade of haiku online)

Modern Haiku (has a few sample poems/issues online)

Frogpond (journal of The Haiku Society of America...a few samples online)

Prune Juice (electronic edition online)


Jane Reichhold’s Haiku page:

I also recommend The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson and Penny Harter.

There are dozens of other haiku links and journals listed on my blog or web site.

And finally, if you require a little more room to convey an experience in a poem, check out tanka. Tanka are longer than haiku (five lines) and you have the freedom to add personal thought or feeling.

Happy Haikuing!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Updates

Gabriel Rosenstock sent this:

Dear All,

The Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition offers prizes of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English. In addition there will be up to 7 Highly Commended haiku/senryu.

Also, there will be prizes from Dóchas Ireland of Euro 100, Euro 30 and Euro 20 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English or in Irish Gaelic (with an English translation) about poverty + up to 3 Highly Commended haiku/senryu in this category.

Details here: All the entries shall be postmarked by 15th November 2011. No e-mail submissions, please!

Good luck to all!

Irish Haiku Society

ANNOUNCEMENT: Haibun Today (September 2011) is now online.

The autumn quarterly issue of Haibun Today is now online for your reading pleasure at

Contributors to this issue include Melissa Allen, Steven Carter, Marcyn Del Clements, Glenn G. Coats, L. Costa, Anne Curran, Tish Davis, Cherie Hunter Day, Claire Everett, Al Fogel, Autumn N. Hall, Jeffrey Harpeng, Michele L. Harvey, Laura Hill, Mary Hind, Ken Jones, Roger Jones, Patricia Kennelly, Gary LeBel, Bob Lucky, Victor Maddalena, Michael McClintock, Kathe L. Palka, Carol Pearce-Worthington, Dru Philippou, Patricia Prime, Kala Ramesh, Ray Rasmussen, Lynne Rees, Richard Straw, Charles Tarlton, Diana Webb, Harriot West and Theresa Williams.

This issue also features an in-depth interview with Michael McClintock, “Wheeling through the Cedars,” on the subject of his haibun, tanka and other writing as well as an insightful critical essay, by Ray Rasmussen, on the rarely examined role of the title in haibun. Bob Lucky and Charles Tarlton reflect upon their individual writing of tanka prose in short personal memoirs. In addition, a long review of Gary LeBel’s Abacus is reprinted and the final results of British Haiku Awards (Haibun Section) 2010 are announced.

Writers are now invited to submit haibun, tanka prose and articles for consideration in the December 2011 issue of Haibun Today. Consult our Submission Guidelines at Haibun Today. Forward any submissions by email to Jeffrey Woodward, Editor, at

 A new issue of The Heron's Nest is is available.

 A new issue of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature is available.

 A new issue of World Haiku Review is available.

Narrative Magazine has an interesting story by Elisabeth Harvor. The title of the story is Prison Nights, Winter Nights. The story is about a woman teaching poetry to prisoners and, yes, there are a few haiku in the story.

You'll have to register to read the story, but registration is free.

Scott Owens sent this:

My fall schedule of readings is pretty well set now.  There have been a few changes since I first posted this online, so I'm emailing it to my friends and those I think might be interested in the new book, "Something Knows the Moment," which will be the primary focus of my readings for a while.  Specifically, the Joe Milford Show has been at least temporarily cancelled; the Fuquay-Varina reading has changed date, time, and location; the 10/14 reading has moved from Young Harris College to a coffee shop in Hiwassee; and I've added the NetWest Picnic on 10/16 and Barnhill's on 12/9.  I hope at least one of these is close enough to you that you'll be able to attend, hear some of the poems, and get a signed copy of the book.  If you can't make it to a reading, you can still order a book from Main Street Rag or directly from me.

Thanks for all your interest and support.

9/13, 5:30, "Something Knows the Moment" Release Party, Taste Full Beans Coffeeshop, Hickory, NC
9/15, 6:00, Lazy Lion Bookstore, Fuquay-Varina, NC
9/16, 7:00, Lincoln County Cultural Center, Lincolnton, NC
9/17, 1:00-4:00, Momentous Writing Workshop, Coastal Carolina University, Pawley's Island, SC
9/24, 2:00-4:00, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Minetta Lane Center, Hickory, NC
9/25, 2:00, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC
10/14, Writers’ Night Out, Mountain Perk, Hiwassee, GA
10/15, Perpetual Writing Prompts, The Writers' Circle, Hayesville, NC
10/16, 2:00, NetWest Annual Picnic, Location to be determined
11/3, 7:00, Royal Bean Coffeehouse, Raleigh, NC
11/6, 3:00, Malaprops, Asheville, NC
11/6, 5:00, WordPlay with Jeff Davis,
11/18-19, NCWN Fall Conference, Asheville, NC
12/9, 6:30, Barnhills, Winston-Salem, NC

Scott Owens

And finally, let's start the weekend with a little music.