First Australian Haiku Anthology
This first anthology of haiku written by Australians is a snapshot of such work at the end of the twentieth century. However it was not conceived as an historical record but as a vehicle to bring haiku written by Australians to the world stage and to promote a sense of collegiate within Australia. At that time there was no national haiku association. Eventually, the Anthology became the genesis for the formation of HaikuOz, the Australian Haiku Society, in December 2000.
The Internet proved an excellent vehicle on which to achieve our objectives. Within eighteen months of its launch, in July, 99, it had been visited more than 16,000 times, from 6,300 different computers, drawn from 59 countries. The implied readership, which is supported by anecdotal evidence, is vastly greater than what might have been achieved in hard copy. New readers come to the Anthology at a fairly steady rate of 300 per month; we expect this to continue indefinitely.
To have their work considered for inclusion, poets had to be Australian by nationality or residency or had to have written their haiku while resident in Australia. There were no constraints with respect to haiku form or the inclusion of seasonal references; there was no nice distinction between haiku and senryu.
Selection was a trade-off between quality and our desire for broad representation of haiku as written in Australia at the end of the century. We set a maximum of eight haiku per poet — more to obtain the volume required, having regard to material available, rather than to establish a frame in which we could rate poets by their representation in the Anthology.
The Anthology's content evolved through the cycles: editors' selection > peer assessment by all those who submitted work > re-editing and selection from new submissions > second peer assessment > re-editing.
Essentially, the editors decided what went into the Anthology and poets' peers decided what remained there and what the editors replaced. Some poets, and many haiku, had short lives in the Anthology.
This innovation of a 'living anthology' combined with the democracy of peer assessment had interesting effects: it curbed the editors' egos, made the final product more representative, and gave many poets the salutary experience of editing. Because the process is reductive it was discontinued after two cycles. The content at that time became the final version of the Anthology, in print and on the Internet.
Poets' brief biographical notes can be accessed from the their last-displayed haiku.
We thank everyone for their help and encouragement. We thank the poets who wrote the haiku.
Janice M. Bostok & John Bird, Editors