Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry – Frogmouths aren’t owls

So apparently Tawny Frogmouths aren’t Owls, but they are related.  Hmmm


The following three Haiku are more or less straight observations


mouse breath
from my ginger cat
twilight kiss

Mice numbers seem to be picking up as feed for them disappears.  Rueben our rabbit hunter likes a bit of variety and will often come home for dinner with a field mouse as appetiser.


pull the hills along
autumn fog


This haiku is a reworking of a Tanka I wrote last year.  With this I just wanted to get that simple image of the hills seeming to fly above the fog, drawn through the air by the wind farm windmills.


on a street sign
croaks a frogmouth
autumn dusk


While this poem is observational (the frogmouth sat atop our street sign despite the relative safety of hundreds of trees), I also wanted to try and reference one of the Japanese masters and tap into that singing frog tradition, albeit through a play on words.

So here is the poem that I reference by Issa

yoiyami no ippon enoki naku kawazu

darkening dusk--
in one nettle tree
singing frogs

Friday, February 21, 2014

Post-it note poetry – 6 days to go


So it’s the down hill stretch and while I was feeling a bit stretched earlier in the month, now I feel I have attained a balance.  I think this was more to do with the heat than any achievement of zen like inner peace.  It’s currently a very nice 22 degrees.  So the poems from shot_1392866679133the last two days:


faded cat

on old armchair

well worn love






and shot_1392970505984




city lane

hardness beneath a

painted smile

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review - Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide

haikuUp until a month ago my understanding of Haiku really didn’t reach much further than what I was taught in grade school some … an awful long time ago.  This changed when I decided to undertake some self education for the purpose of the Post-it Note Poetry event held every February by members of my writing group.  I was determined to learn a bit more about the form, surely it was not just 5-7-5 syllables .

It wasn’t, as it turns out.  There’s an ocean of information out there on how you can / “should” write Haiku.  Indeed I found myself getting distracted and lost, there’s just so much great material in the rabbit warren of early nineties Haiku pages to be had - freely posted for enthusiasts to read and experiment with.

Indeed, I noted several articles that made their way in altered form into Writing and Enjoying Haiku.  What this book presents though, is a nice neat package with just the right amount of information to get you started and to not look terribly ignorant when unleashing your compact wisdom on the public. 

Chapter one gives the reader an understanding of what a Haiku is, and how to go about reading and understanding them. There’s a backgrounder on the history and development of the form in both Japan and the rest of the world. It was here I think, that I realised that while I may be able to read the works of Masters like Basho, without some deeper cultural understandings of  Japanese literature, I will miss allusions and references.  Haiku can be every bit as dense, as deep, as Shakespeare.

Chapter two  on writing Haiku is worth the price of admission by itself.  Here Reichhold breaks down, with examples drawn from the masters, as well as current Haiku poets, the 24 techniques that you can employ in writing haiku. She also canvases the “rules” that can and have applied at different times and at the behest of certain schools or masters.  What I found particularly refreshing about Reichhold is her focus on techniques and her relaxed and sensible approach to using them.  For some Haiku poets the experience of writing in the form takes on religious import and the rules become dogma rather than guidelines.  Reichhold’s approach is basically know the rules, when and when not to use them.  Having written somewhere in the vicinity of 5000 herself and having dedicated a decade to producing Basho - The Complete Haiku I am prepared to follow her lead.

Chapter three covers Haiku and the sharing and appreciation of your works and others, getting published and preserving your poems.

Chapter four begins delving into associated forms, such as Tanka, and Renga.  I found this section interesting but less relevant - only because I am still coming to grips with Haiku.  This chapter I plan to return to when I have a few more Haiku under my belt.

If you want to explore Haiku, if you want explicit teaching, this is the book for you.  I’d heartily recommend it to any teacher attempting to teach the form in high school, because it will move you past the rather simplistic notions our school texts have about the form.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry – Open floodgates


shot_1392769009717 Ok so 3 days of work and tiredness means no poetry.  But in a double maths class where the students happily worked in absolute silence  I had time to pen some haiku.  There’s a couple I am happy with, some that could use work.  But this is Post-it Note poetry and the agonising over wordage should be minimal.  I give you:





late summer
taste of morning rain
on my tongue


churn my stomach
new class


rattles in silence
students work


now this one I thought could make a good start to a sequence covering the day of a relief teacher


distant bell
this ronin wakes to a new


and a reworking of an earlier attempt and another reworking after the photo



in flight wagtails
dive and dog the raven



and one purely made up but that just seemed to flow from the pen

rain clouds
in young man's eyes
storm brewing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry – Haiku vs Senryu

Okay so work impinged on my creative exploits, but I did manage to teach Haiku appreciation to a group of 10 year olds – the boys liked by Kangaroo poem.  But since then I have been writing.


So here’s the first


two beats

magpie takes flight

cutting air


This one was inspired by a Ginko walk of sorts.  I had been at a loss for inspiration and decided to walk outside.  As soon as I opened the door I heard a magpie take flight.  If you have been around them, they have a very distinctive sound when taking flight and its that sound I was trying to evoke with the Haiku above.  The cutting of the air.  I am still not sure I am totally happy with it.

Next was a challenge from Post-it Note poetry co-founder Adam Byatt.  Adam wanted us to write a Valentines day poem but it had to be awkward.  Here is my haiku or is it senryu,  I am unsure because the definitions always seem a little obscure.  Haiku are supposed to be strictly about nature and contain season words( amongst other things).  To write about human foibles or to attempt humour is to be left for Senryu which stick to the same short long short form but are about people, politics,comedy.  I am sure a purist will correct me.

In any case:


tender hand

seeks hollow in the dark

oh! your armpit


And finally I was attempting Shiki’s Shasei or The Technique of the Sketch, writing things as they are.  But the following haiku drifts toward metaphor:




catches with gold

its dreams






Coming Soon – Stars Like Sand – Australian Speculative Poetry Anthology

starsSome time last year I, amongst others, answered the call to submit poetry to a new project showcasing Australian speculative poetry.  So I am excited to share with you the cover of said anthology that is coming out in a couple of months time.  It contains my poem Dead Messengers and will be my first print publication.

The Anthology is being edited by PS Cottier and Tim Jones, both fantastic people and poets in their own right.

The anthology is being published by Interactive Publications.






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Monday, February 10, 2014

Post-it note Poetry gets obscure

So I am delving further down the rabbit hole that is the wonder of Haiku and associated Japanese forms of poetry.  Today’s effort is below:


white wings

from darkness drop



So with this Haiku I wanted to just describe the action and I wanted a very distinct image.  There’s the contrast of white with dark and I think the alliteration in darkness drop has I nice falling quality to it.


Oh and it’s ambiguous, I don’t know that it’s quite a riddle but you should be able to figure out what I am referring to here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry – Never have so few words…

required such thought.shot_1391906753506



So today’s offering is:

dead gum tree

heron perches





Inspired by one of those truly odd occurrences. I was sitting on my western facing verandah one afternoon and a heron alighted on a branch of our beloved gum tree that had sadly seen the last of its 40 odd years.

Here was a waterbird, some 30 km from any water, perched in a leafless tree. I thought to myself that maybe it was lost. So in this haiku, using the technique of comparison I wanted to present the image of the dead tree, now lost to us and the heron perched, also lost.

I am still not settled on the final form, it could be:


dead gum

a heron perches



Or  number of other combinations. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry Day 6 & 7

I swear this weather will kill me.   It’s been a struggle getting some of these out let alone posting a blog about them.  Here are two efforts:



breaking fast





Possibly the shortest Haiku/poem I have ever written.  Didn’t like it at first, but it has grown on me.  On reviewing it after three days I do wonder if it should be taste an not tastes.





mud wasp marches




I witnessed a mud wasp walking on our lawn (read: patch of dirt) instead of flying it had this robotic marching movement almost like effect produced by strobe lighting.  With the stop, to-and fro, I wanted to try and capture that stop start movement.




If anyone is interested I have been reading The Haiku Handbook -25th Anniversary Edition How to Write, Teach, and Appreciate Haiku by William J Higginson, and Writing and Enjoying Haiku - A Hands-On Guide by Jane Reichhold.  The former is excellent for a concise overview of the history and considering my knowledge prior to reading it was limited to the concept of 5-7-5 poems about nature, it’s been a real eye–opener.  The second book by Jane Reichhold is probably the better out of the two for practical advice and technique.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry Day 5

Excuse my dirty feet in the picture.  Here’s yesterday’s effort for the Post-it Note Poetry Event.


my feet discover shot_1391585209184

presents on the lawn

- kangaroo

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry Day 4 – I think

Somehow managed to have trouble counting from 1 to 4.  It’s been a rough start to February though.  No work and the anxiety derived from waiting for a call every morning at 7am.  Add to this the second record breaking heat wave for the year, and last night the cooling winds shook the house.  So here is my Haiku for the day:




night wind

rattles the house -

unsettled thoughts

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post-Note Poetry Day 3

Well today was harder than yesterday, but this is all about process, about getting out there and writing poetry.shot_1391417144948  What  I like: 11 syllables long and I think a fairly strong break between the phrase and fragment, the slightly humorous contrast between them.  Not terribly profound but…


…cool gusts


answer summer prayer


sand in my eye

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Post-it note poetry Day 2

Okay it’s day two and I have already had to gag my inner editor/critic/sadistic bastard with regards to this Haiku, which is or isn’t a haiku depending on which rules you use.  It’s based on an experience I had while walking ie the falling star exploding with an intense flash and then I have gone and included a rather depressing metaphor (another no-no in some haiku quarters) of inspiration.  There’s no seasonal word but in this poem I was concentrating more on fragment and phrase theory.  It comes to a nice 12 syllables though.  Let me know what you think.



…fallen star

dies in blinding flash


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Post-it Note Poetry 2014 Begins

So it’s February again and I have no idea where 2013 went.  So its time to get cracking on a month of poetry no matter the quality.  Post-it note poetry is a month of daily posted poems.  The only restriction is that it can fit on a post-it (so a sonnet is fine if you have fine handwriting).  Permission is granted to be shite, the event is to get you writing in a non-judgemental environment.

So checkout the Facebook page here.

I am keeping a running twitter column for the month(see it to the right) so if you are Facebook averse you can always just play on twitter using the hashtag #postitnotepoetry


Here’s mine, a haiku (cinquains are ideal for this too)

shot_1391224154959     ...midday heat

         magpies walk in shade

        - water song

Megatron by Hollie McNish

A new poem from one of my fave spoken word poets Hollie McNish. A nice mash up of science-fiction and cultural criticism.



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