Northern Territory News.
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January 09, 2007

An interview with Jodie Hawthorne

JODIE HAWTHORNE has a new haiku book WATCHING PILGRIMS, WATCHING ME, published by Pardalote Press. It was launched in Tasmania. Kaye Aldenhoven had an opportunity to talk to Jodie in Darwin, as she waits for the birth of her child, before returning to China.

Kaye: I enjoyed reading your newly launched book of haiku. I admire this village image:

where children play
the words of Mao

How did you come to write haiku?

Jodie: I remember writing haiku in primary school; year 5 or 6. At that time it was part of the school curriculum and we wrote it according to syllable count, which is perhaps not the best way but helps children to write to form.
I remember the haiku were hung from the school ceiling on coloured cards and I was very proud as the teacher made a special remark about my haiku in front of the class. I never forgot the experience and a whole 18 years later (year 2002) while I was staying in Melbourne with a friend haiku entered my life again.
My girl friend was asked to teach a practical writing class to an adult group but couldn't think of any writing form that she could cover in 3 one hour sessions. I asked her if she had heard of haiku. She hadn't, but was inspired by my brief description and raced off to the library to find some reference books. I read through the books as well to refresh my memory, learning more about haiku and its history, form etc. and began to compose some.

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May 26, 2006

Top End Haiku - a report by Lyn Reeves

At the Word Storm Writers’ Festival in Darwin in 2004 I was privileged to run a workshop with eleven Northern Territory writers. The participants had varying backgrounds in haiku, from those who’d come across it at school to a couple of poets who had read much of the contemporary literature on the form. A few had strong background or interest in Zen Buddhism, which I believe is a valuable asset to accessing the haiku mind.

The landscapes and seasonal differences of the Northern Territory provide a rich resource of imagery that reflects a truly Australian-flavoured haiku expression. These writers have a lot to offer that can enhance and broaden the body of Australian haiku. Their word pictures capture not only the particularities of landscape but also the spirit that permeates this varied and stunning region.

Some of the poets have decided to meet regularly to share their work and I’m sure the result will be more haiku encapsulating and sharing the unique experience of Northern Territory moments. As an example of those insights I’ve collected some of the haiku written by workshop participants. Enjoy!

Stephen Lenghaus

day's end
a lone cricket chirps
by the campfire

dry season
silhouetted in the half moon
night's black wings

cool tropical night
the shine of palmfrond tips
in the moonlight

Fabrizio Calafuri

flat water
empty horizon
oyster-shell sky

stealing wind before
it goes north

David Chapman

distant church bells
at an open window
the scent of lilac

side by side
an inch between them
a thousand miles apart

Jodie Hawthorne

blond boy
chewing on green ants
pepper crunch

on a crowded bus
a laugh so familiar
yet not his

red earth
in an old shower cap
Uluru sunset

Rob Woods

passing the bottle
behind the supermarket
February rain

at the mouth of the river
so many stars

don’t say a word:
wet stones
soft rain

under old trees
deep pools of shadow –
a hard sky

May 23, 2006

Report from Wordstorm

I recently had the pleasure of attending Wordstorm, the 2006 Northern Territory Writers’ Festival held in Darwin (May 18 – 21) at the Museum and Art Gallery NT. The programme connected almost 60 writers from Indigenous, non-Indigenous and Southeast Asian cultures with a diversity of readers, writers, artists and lovers of life who came to share the experience and excitement of this unique festival.

It was a privilege to be included in the programme and an honour to be asked to run a workshop on the art of haiku. Opportunities such as this continue to raise the profile of haiku in our country and I was thrilled with the energy the small but committed group of workshop participants generated.

I look forward to keeping in contact with all of the participants and sharing their haiku journey.