What a Day! International Haiku Poetry Day 2016

April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, IHPD for short, is the day of celebration of all things haiku.  The Haiku Foundation encourages public events on local, national and global levels, including readings, exhibitions, excursions, collaborative projects and competitions. Since 2015, the event is listed in the World Kigo Database,  a great source of advice and information. (see Kigo Calendar).

pottery,jug, While waiting for next April 17 to come round, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the wonderful haiku films that were presented at this year’s HaikuLife, the Foundation’s Film Festival 2016.   And scroll through the longest haiku collaborative poem, EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2016. This year, in acknowledgement of the United Nations Year of Pulses, the theme of the project was Foodcrop Haiku.

Here are my own offerings to EarthRise:

earthquake
the seed in the child’s
open palm
.
picking over lentils—
quiet
of the evening hour
.
mice-nibbled sack—
edging closer to
the real
.
at the back
of the late night bus
whiff of wild garlic
.
all seeds accounted for dawn chorus

.

 

The Haiku Foundation re:Virals 31 and my Commentary

This week, a terrific haiku by Melissa Allen was up for discussion at The Haiku Foundation  re:Virals. Interesting commentaries looking at the poem from different perspectives. You can read the whole post with the poem and all the commentaries  here. I am pleased to say mine was this week’s winner. I copy it below:
.
Melissa’s poem:

radiation leak moonlight on the fuel rods

          — Melissa Allen, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013)

And my take:

In current usage, the word leak refers to a variety of situations: from leaking a document and bringing into the light a secret, to taking a leak, to a wasteful dripping of water, to seepage of radiation. This poem, with its radiation leak, immediately opens up a danger zone. Step in at your peril into an image that gives rise to paralyzing fears, to the dead zones of Chernobyl, Fukushima; to the forbidden zones. Anything could happen here.

From a leak to a fireball, from the atom to the apocalyptic mushroom cloud, you could be walking into a minefield of the results of unbridled ambition and unscrupulous greed, a Faustian deal . . . Whether the leak is from a technological or scientific project, where man sees himself tirelessly bent on expanding knowledge and power over nature, finding solutions to the human problems of illness, poverty, and environmental degradation; whether hubris or dedication to the common good, here is a consequence: the spewing of poisonous material, the fall into a dark, man-made Hell.

But now the poet brings moonlight on the scene. Like a benevolent, all-seeing Eye of God, moonlight bathes the fuel rods in light we associate with understanding, with cool logic, in forgiveness. I am reminded of the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos’ Moonlight Sonata, where moonlight hides smaller-scale follies such as showing white hair as golden, at the same time relentlessly intensifying shadows. In Allen’s poem too, moonlight is both kind and cooling, as well as relentless and permanent, not allowing the fuel rods to hide in the shadows. An image burned into the mind.

Note that the fuel rods are not spent. The young man in Ritsos’ poem too, is present all through the poem, at the end leaving full of energy, bursting into laughter as he walks away. Life continues in its boundless energy, in its perpetual flow, beyond leaks, beyond the night, beyond our human follies, beyond life itself.

 

‘reed ears’

The book of the Fifth Haiku Contest, Sharpening the Green Pencil, is out. An awe-inspiring two hundred and fifty poets from forty five countries took part. Great contributions. Congratulations to the winners!

I am honoured that my own haiku,  translated into Romanian by Ana Drobot, was featured in the book (p.191).

reed ears —
not hearing what the doctor
tells me

 

“Joining the Dots” in Haibun Today

Joining the Dots

From the compensation for the demolition of his house to make way for a new road, he bought two tiny apartments, a four-poster bed, an amber komboloi, and a pendulum clock. As a child, I considered the wall-mounted, cherry wood, chiming clock to be my granddad’s most striking acquisition. I checked it continuously, comparing its time to the watch my dad had given me before going away to sea.

approaching wind knots matter

But it was the sound of it chiming the hour that stayed with me the longest. Half a century later, I can feel the deep resonance of that chime opening doors to the past.

let’s say the map shrinks afterwards

In Haibun Today, 10: 1, 2017

Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box

I step inside a second-hand store in downtown Athens. A musty odor envelops me. A yellow handbag, by the entrance, has pride of place. Plastic dolls of varying sizes, unclothed but for the price tag, line a shelf. Rows of scaffed shoes, and shoes never worn, line the skirting board. Shirts, trousers, blouses, and skirts hang from circular rails. Moths dance in the sunlight. I run my hand across the clothes and continue to the back of the shop, to the books: Fiction, Poetry, Classics, Biography, Bibles. I duck to avoid a doll in military dress.
A glass-topped drawer catches my eye. Sparkling pair after pair of earrings: pearl, gemstone, silver, gold, diamond. I didn’t expect such quality.
The owner, dressed in a beige cotton tunic, approaches. “The Junta General’s wife,” she tells me. “After the trials she could not wear them. Brought them here. In all these years, nobody will touch them, although they come and look.”
A shadow of suspicion crosses her face. She looks me up and down, then relaxes. “Pity. She loved poetry,” she says, fanning herself.

bitter olives . . .
sound of a key turning
in the lock
.

In Haibun Today vol.9, 4, 2015

‘typos’ in RHP 95

typos
in the book of the dead—-
water lilies

In Right Hand Pointing 95, the special, and wonderful, Haiku issue  guest-edited by Eric Burke

RHP, Right Hand Pointing Interesting introduction by Dale Wisely, founder and editor of RHP, who refused to include haiku in the journal for twelve whole years! Well, at long last, Dale!

Read Dale Wisely’s introduction here

KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015

Clare MacQueen just announced the publication of the KYSO Flash Anthology, featuring prize-winning haibun and tanka. My own haibun “Time,” which received an Honorable Mention (in November 2015), is included.

KYSO Flash 2015

This is how KYSO Flash describes the release:

We’re pleased to announce the release of a little book with a mouthful of a name: the KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015. Contributor copies are now on their way to folks.

This is an international collection of 25 poetic hybrid works by 14 authors (plus images by three artists). Works were judged by Roberta Beary, award-winning poet and haibun editor of Modern Haiku, for the first annual KYSO Flash “Best Of” contest. Cash prizes were awarded to seven artists for First, Second, and Third Place, and Honorable Mentions. The judge also selected 19 finalists to appear in this anthology.

The book is available from Amazon.com

‘Intertextuality’ in Sonic Boom 4

Pleased to see my ‘Intertextuality,’ a haibun diptych, in issue 4 of Sonic Boom, published under ‘Fiction.’

Issue 4, is an anniversary issue. Happy Birthday to Sonic Boom, many happy returns!

Intertexuality
(a diptych)
I
A reader asks for help with a patch of garlic plants forgotten and left to overgrow in their garden. Well, I say, dear reader, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Garlic doesn’t like to be transplanted. And this text is not the right place to ask, or answer such a question. But I can’t resist. It is spring, after all, and I am stuck for ideas. So, to your garlic clump: Let it be. Let it grow, and when it is ripe and ready, when the tips of the green shoots start to brown, dig the plants out. They will be pungent, crisp, and juicy, the plant oils moistening your tongue. Then plant a few individual cloves for next year’s crop. Enjoy the rest.

writer’s block
the school of life
full of lessons

II

Spelt flour, baking powder, butter, milk, and salt. Mix, pat down, shape into rolls, and bake. Serve with olive oil, and garlic from another haibun to dip the bread into. Enjoy!

a frog jumps in—
intertextuality
for beginners

diptych, haibun,

Literature, Art, Culture, Society, and lots of Haiku

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