Main

--- Haiku Musings ---

HaikuOz invites you to submit well-considered referenced articles to this site.

Please send in the first instance to president@haikuoz.org with a copy to secretary@haikuoz.org for consideration by the committee.

In the interest of open discussion a variety of articles may be published. Please note that not all of these may concord with personal views of committee members or be officially endorsed by the Australian Haiku Society.


September 04, 2013

Breaking the Haiku Mould, or Breeding to a Bloodline

The article below by Janice M. Bostok first appeared on members.dodo.com.au. It relates her experiences with discovering and developing haiku as a pioneer of the form in Australia. (Lyn Reeves)

Continue reading "Breaking the Haiku Mould, or Breeding to a Bloodline" »

September 13, 2008

Haiku and the Seasons: an exploration

by Beverley George

Beverley George is president of the Australian Haiku Society


The entire Japanese poetic tradition is grounded in the observance of the passing of the seasons, and it is quite simply second nature for Japanese to view human emotions through seasonal metaphors. Liza Dalby

The link between seasonal awareness and the writing of Japanese haiku is apparent. What is not so clear and causes much debate is whether this essential aspect of Japanese haiku can be successfully adopted into other cultural sensibilities and linguistic frameworks, including the English language.

In this article I would like to discuss the situation in Japan as I have observed it directly, rather than relying on readily accessible texts such as those by William J Higginson and Donald Keene and the pioneering work of RH Blyth, Harold G Henderson and James W Hackett, with which readers interested in haiku will already be familiar. I would then like to offer some thoughts about the importation of haiku into Australian writing and how it might be more widely understood and better incorporated. Three visits to Japan in the past two years and ten years of studying haiku do not an expert make, and I hope the tone of this paper is discursive and exploratory rather than in any way prescriptive. Writing haiku is a journey, not a destination, and it has many pilgrims.

Read the entire article by Beverley George here.

April 14, 2008

Haiku, Zen and the Eternal Now

Understanding or embracing Zen is not a prerequisite for writing wonderful haiku but even a little contact can expand horizons and help writers take haiku beyond simple commentaries on nature. Sometimes it is useful in any art form to look back to what came before and to look at beginnings for fresh inspiration. That was the workshop’s objective. Not to provide a guided tour of Zen Buddhism. Rather, the objective was to take participants on a journey to extend and stretch minds and our approaches to writing haiku.

To read the complete article by Jacqui Murray click on the following link to download it in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Download file

February 04, 2008

An Australian Voice?

Recent discussions with some of HaikuOz’s ‘greats’ – notably patron Janice M Bostok and co-founder John Bird – have revealed a common thread of concern. Namely, that some writing of haiku in Australia has, unfortunately, slipped away into the phenomenon of the pretty postcard. In other words, that the spirit and subtlety, that once placed Australian haiku apart from that so frequently written elsewhere, has been submerged to a more mundane, more prosaic form of writing which, in one of my darker moods, I see as:

three ducks
in perfect formation
across a cloud wall

(or to be more strictly ‘correct’: three autumnal ducks/in quite perfect formation/ across a cloud wall)


This opinion is bound to be greeted by indignation, offence and, perhaps, horror. That I accept. I also apologize. I beg, however, that my discussion be accepted in that spirit. As a starting point for further discussion. What I am advocating, is a rethink, a re-examination, of how we are writing haiku in Australia. A move away from the formulae that accept phrasing such as ‘autumn evening’, ‘winter day’, ‘summer afternoon’. In other words, that we look again at the craft of our writing and the spirit of haiku – particularly as it applies to Australia.

Continue reading "An Australian Voice?" »

July 10, 2007

3rd Pacific Rim Haiku Conference, Matsuyama, Japan, April 2007

Report: Beverley George
President
Australian Haiku Society (HaikuOz)

Through haiku composing, you can exchange your way of thinking and deepen your understanding about the people beyond the borders, isms and religions. Kanda Sosuke.

It is impossible to imagine a more idyllic and appropriate setting for a haiku conference than in cherry blossom season at Matsuyama, the birthplace of the poet, Masaoka Shiki where this year marked the 140th anniversary of his birth.

Matsuyama is a castle city on the island of Shikoku and it is also famous for its ancient onsen (hot springs). It was in this city that the Matsuyama Declaration was signed in 1999 to establish the Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Research Center. The Declaration signifies the generous intent of Japanese people to share haiku internationally.

Continue reading "3rd Pacific Rim Haiku Conference, Matsuyama, Japan, April 2007" »

May 04, 2007

Haiku Article

A great haiku article features in the latest edition of e-zine Triplopia and includes a contribution from Haiku Oz member, Ron Moss. You can check out the article at: http://www.triplopia.com/inside.cfm?ct=759

April 25, 2007

Soft Upon My Shutters

Hattori Ransetsu 1654-1707

by Jane Baker


Basho is rightly famous but why does the western world know so little of his contemporaries? Deep in Basho’s “old silent pond” dwell all sorts of interesting other frogs – Kikaku’s that “command the dark”; Onitsura’s “froglets” that in summer “sang like birds” but with winter’s onset “bark like old dogs”; Joso’s “good Buddhist frog…/ rising to a clearer light / by non-attachment” as well as Issa’s “fat frog / in the seat of honour / singing bass”.

Continue reading "Soft Upon My Shutters" »

Haiku Lessons

by Alison Williams

This article was first published in Yellow Moon 18, Summer 2005, pp. 30-31, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.


Alchemy is sadly missing from the curriculum, and so it is possible that you may not be aware of something called prima materia. Prima materia is said to be the original pure substance out of which everything was created, and is so easily overlooked that only a master alchemist recognises it as the vital ingredient of the Philosopher's Stone.

Continue reading "Haiku Lessons" »

Masaoka Tsunenori — the Haiku Master Shiki

by Janice M Bostok

A pure black
butterfly frisks keri
Cloud Mountains

Shiki was born on 14th October 1867, in Matsuyama, Japan. His gô, or pen name Shiki, which means a small cuckoo-like bird, came about after he spat blood for a week in May 1889. It is said the bird, in order to attain the fine tone in its voice must keep singing until it spits blood. For most of his adult life Shiki suffered from tuberculosis. He died on the 19th September 1902. His father was a Samurai and his maternal grandfather a Confucian scholar. He began writing Chinese verse at the age of eleven. His earliest existing tanka was written at the age of fifteen. He began studying at university but left without graduating. For a time he was a war correspondent in China. Shiki is considered to be the last of the traditional haiku masters and the first of the modern ones. Although he advocated reform most of his poems are written in the traditional form. It is his method and content for which he is remembered.

Continue reading "Masaoka Tsunenori — the Haiku Master Shiki" »

April 19, 2007

Nobuyuki Kobayashi — ISSA

1763 — 1827

by Janice M Bostok

The spring moon
Shines Godlike
Upon a flower thief
At work on a hill. 1

Issa was born in Kashiwabara village, Japan, the first son of a farmer. His childhood name was Yatarô but he was registered with Nobuyuki as his first name and Kobayashi as his surname. Issa did not have a happy or fortuitous life. While he was still young (at the age of about three) his mother died. His grandmother took over raising him. Later she also died and his father remarried. His stepmother eventually forced Issa to leave home at the age of thirteen.

Continue reading "Nobuyuki Kobayashi — ISSA" »

Yosa Buson – BUSON

1716 - 1784

by Janice M Bostok

Perched upon the temple bell
the butterfly sleeps 1


Buson was originally named Taniguchi Buson (pronounced boo-sahn). He later changed his name to Yosa Buson. It appears he had more than one pen-name or 'go' throughout his lifetime. (Particularly as there are various seals that he used on his paintings.)

Continue reading "Yosa Buson – BUSON" »

Matsuo Kinsaku — Bashõ

1644 - 1694

by Janice M Bostok

Most of you who have heard of the short Japanese poem haiku will no doubt have heard of the haiku master Matsuo Bashõ. He is considered the first of the four Japanese masters who are the pillars of the development of the haiku poem. In the west, we are probably first introduced to him in translation and many of us say we fell in love with haiku because of Bashõ's work. Of course, there has been much more development of the haiku over the years in Japan, but this is the starting point where we are introduced to haiku and become serious about wanting to write it in English.

Continue reading "Matsuo Kinsaku — Bashõ" »

September 14, 2006

Haiku – 5-7-5? An article by Vanessa Proctor

When many people hear the word ‘haiku’, their immediate response is, ‘That’s a Japanese poem written in seventeen syllables – 5-7-5’. While it’s true that traditional Japanese haiku is written in this form, haiku in English, because of the very nature of the English language, doesn’t conform to the 5-7-5 pattern.


Continue reading "Haiku – 5-7-5? An article by Vanessa Proctor" »

September 10, 2006

Haiku Articles on Yellow Moon

Haiku Articles on Yellow Moon web-site include the Four Pillars - articles by Janice M Bostok on Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki and an article by British Haiku Society librarian, Alison Williams, titled 'Haiku Lessons'. Visit
www.yellowmoon.info and access the Articles section.

A useful link

Those fairly new to writing haiku will find some useful articles by Edward Weiss on the Wisteria Press home page
http://www.wisteriapress.com/haiku_articles.html
The articles have a relaxed and friendly tone and contain good examples of haiku.

July 03, 2006

Haiku and Visual Art: A Winter Ginko

Martina Taeker, RR for SA, recently conducted a ginko in the Art Gallery of SA and based on her experiences offers some thoughts on how a winter ginko might be conducted indoors

Are you and your haiku feeling a little tired, cold, or stale? Have you thought about taking a ginko, but put it off because it's winter and you're still coughing from the last flu you caught?
Try taking a ginko indoors, at your local art gallery.
Don't know anything about art? It doesn't matter. After all you are not intending to write a thesis. You want to enjoy some art, be inspired and invigorated by it, and use this experience to create art by writing haiku.
Artists have been inspiring each other for centuries. It is useful for artists to be exposed to the work of others. You can see what subjects they choose and how different artists tackle a particular subject in different ways.
Remember to observe the people around you in the gallery, but discreetly. People respond to the same piece of art in individual ways and that too is grist for the artistic mill of your pen.
If this is your first visit to a gallery, begin by wandering slowly through it. Notice which art works catches your eye, but don't stop. Get an overview before focusing in on one area. You might even find that this is more than enough material for one day. In which case you can return for another ginko in a few weeks.

Continue reading "Haiku and Visual Art: A Winter Ginko" »

May 24, 2006

Black Swans and Gymea Lilies: an Australian haiku?

This article was first published in Five Bells: Australian Poetry, Summer 2006

  Haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry, is becoming increasingly popular in the West. English-language haiku has been described as ‘one of today’s most exciting literary developments.’

  To mention haiku is to elicit one of two responses among those who are not current readers or writers of the form. Either they have never heard of it, or they remember it (and may even teach or study it) as a three-line Japanese poem, consisting of seventeen syllables and having something to do with nature. While this description may suit past translations and attempts at writing haiku in English, many changes have taken place, not only in the way we write haiku, but also in our understanding of the genre.

Continue reading "Black Swans and Gymea Lilies: an Australian haiku?" »

May 18, 2006

Articles Sought

HaikuOz invites you to submit well-considered referenced articles to this site.

Please send in the first instance to president@haikuoz.org for consideration by the committee.

Meanwhile, you may care to access four articles by Janice M Bostok on the Japanese Haiku Masters – Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki, and another article Haiku Lessons by British Haiku Society librarian, Alison Williams, on http://users.mullum.com.au/jbird/YM-articles.html