Haiku, Haibun, Book News, Mythology and More

Tempozan Ferris wheel, Osaka, Japan
Prize-winning photo of the Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Osaka is available at Studio Sol on Society6.

The pandemic had a funny effect on me. After what seemed like two years sitting inside our Orlando living room staring at my husband, getting cast in independent films got me out in the world again. Hence, the slowdown in writing. That and maybe I’m less prolific with the words because I stopped drinking alcohol more than two years ago, another pandemic effect. (When I make it back to Japan one day, rest assured, I will be drinking sake!)

• Writing haiku has been a big savior for me in paved-over Florida, connecting with nature even if it’s the lake I walk around each morning near our house. I hope you take time to write some haiku and connect with nature, because haiku is for everyone!

• A few of my haibun were selected for upcoming issues of Ireland’s The Haibun Journal. Check out its submission page and if you write haibun, consider submitting one and getting its latest edition, which includes some amazing international haibun authors.

MacQueen’s Quinterly publishes haiku and haibun. I will be submitting during their next call for submissions. You can too!

• My third column for the Orlando Sentinel newspaper on family separation, something that my family experienced during World War II with enduring damage, was published in December.

Indefinite Detention of Children is a Crime Against Humanity

Perpetrators of Family Separation at Border Must Be Prosecuted

To Combat Family Separation We Must Study Our Own History

A Few Things Up in the Haiku, Haibun and Book World

Fragmentation by Sean O’Connor

The Haibun Journal Editor Sean O’Connor has a new book of haiku out. Fragmentation is a series of meditations on dementia and the dynamics of memory written in the Japanese forms of haibun, haiku and zuihitsu. He is the author of Let Silence Speak and Even The Mountains; Five Years in a Japanese Village. 

Writers in Kyoto is holding its 7th annual international Writing Competition. Short shorts in English of 300-words are due by March 31. First prize this year is ¥50,000 cash prize!

White Enso Journal is an online journal featuring Japanese ghost stories, haiku, art and other works. It accepts original, unpublished short fiction, essays, creative non-fiction and artwork that encapsulates the Japan experience.

Japanese Mythology and Haiku Lovers will enjoy this new book by an international group of artists and writers

Four Elements in Mythology: Seeking a World Nature Philosophy was published in December by Japan Code Books, edited by Masashi Nakamura and Maria Papatzelou.

This book compares ancient Greek myths with Japanese myths from the Kojiki annals in terms of the four elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Chapters bring perspectives together from science and the interpretation of symbolism. The book also highlights Japanese and Greek aesthetics with photos, illustrations, and haiku poetry. Each chapter concludes with a fusion essay as a summation and East-West comparative mythology.

Professor and Author Steve McCarty has two interesting articles included in the book, of which you can read here. Symbolism of Fire in Greek and Japanese Creation Myths and Symbolism of Air in Greco-Roman and Japanese Creation Myths. Abstract: Creation myths from ancient Greece and Rome are compared with their Japanese counterparts from the early 8th Century Kojiki (古事記, Records of Ancient Matters). These fusion essays are summations of previous book sections by Greek and Japanese scholars on the elements of fire (including Prometheus) and air (including Eros and Psyche). Interpretation of the symbolism by the author brings out similarities and differences between European and Asian cultures.

If you have more time, listen to the Deep in Japan podcast of Professor Steve McCarty’s lecture on Japanese Prehistory and Mythology. (2020, 82 minutes)

The Hailstone Haiku Circle and Icebox Haiku

Stephen Gill teaches Haiku in English at the Senri-Chuo Culture Center in Osaka Prefecture.
Stephen Gill teaches Haiku in English at the Senri-Chuo Culture Center in Osaka Prefecture and is a founder of the Hailstone Haiku Circle in Kansai, Japan.

The Hailstone Haiku Circle in Kansai that I belong to has an online haiku site called The Icebox. You can read world-class haiku and haibun, hear about upcoming events, purchase great books that the Circle publishes, and submit your haiku also. It habitually held kukai, rengakai and even composition strolls (ginko) which I enjoyed while in Japan, but are currently on hold, but haikes (haiku hikes) continue. Below is a list of its upcoming events in Japan, also listed on its site with a few below. Lucky you if you are in Japan and can attend!

EVENTS & SEMINARS

6 Mar. (Sun.) Kyoto Isshu Trail Haike IX, Ninose-Kurama-Shizuhara-Ohara, Kyoto. Rendezvous: Demachi Yanagi Eizan Station 10:50 or Ninose Eizan Station 11:25. 8 km, incl. one steep pass. 3.5 hrs. + o-bento lunch stop. Bus back to Kyoto from Ohara. Enquiries: McCullough 090 3702 4537 or Gill 080 5334 0990.

10 Mar. (Thu.) Hibikiai Forum English Haiku Poems seminar, YWCA, Kyoto. NO CLASS!

24 Mar. (Thu.) Eigo de Haiku class, Senri Culture Center (Korabo), Senri-Chuo, Osaka. 18:00-19:30. No. 3 Kaigishitsu 会議室. Special topic section: Gerald Staggers (Duro Jaiye) on Prairie American Haiku Motifs. Enquiries: Nakakubo 050 7123 6069. 

14 Apr. (Thu.) Hibikiai Forum English Haiku Poems seminar, YWCA, Kyoto. 18:00-19:30. Room 105. Special topic section: Ursula Maierl on Australian Haiku Motifs. Enquiries: Suzuki 075 200 1737. 

24 Apr. (Sun.) Kyoto Isshu Trail Haike X, Fushimi Inari-Oiwayama-Fushimi Momoyama Castle-Gokonomiya Shrine, Kyoto. Rendezvous: JR Inari Station 10:45. 10 km, incl. one easy climb. 4 hrs. + o-bento lunch stop. Haiku-sharing, coffee, sake-tasting at the end. Enquiries: Gill 080 5334 0990 or McCullough 090 3702 4537.

28 Apr. (Thu.) Eigo de Haiku class, Senri Culture Center (Korabo), Senri-Chuo, Osaka. 18:00-19:30. No. 3 Kaigishitsu 会議室. Enquiries: Nakakubo 050 7123 6069. 

12 May (Thu.) Hibikiai Forum English Haiku Poems seminar, YWCA, Kyoto. 18:00-19:30. Room 105. Special topic section: Peter MacIntosh on Canadian Haiku Motifs. Enquiries: Suzuki 075 200 1737.

NEW PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST

Wintermoon – Robert MacLean, Isobar Press, UK – a haiku collection from Canada.

The Awakened One – Gabriel Rosenstock, Adjei Agyei-Baah, Poetry Chaikhana, USA – Buddhist-theme haiku from Japan (classic) and around the world, incl. several Hailstones.

Fragmentation – Sean O’Connor, Alba Publishing, UK – haibun from Ireland, presented as an integrated story.

Unexpected Gift – Sonam ChhokiGeethanjali Rajan, Éditions des Petits Nuages, Canada, haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun, tanbun, rengay collaborations from Bhutan and India.

Big Field – Fred Schofield, Jo Pacsoo, Stewart Metcalfe, Hub Editions, UK – haiku and haibun from Yorkshire.

Firefly Lanterns – Margaret Chula, Shanti Arts, USA – haiku and haibun from 12 years spent in Kyoto in the 1980s-90s.

A Little Planet – Lidia Rozmus, Austeria Publishing, Poland – haiku, haibun, haiga and sumie, with blank pages for own writing. 

Africa, Buddha – Matthew Caretti, Red Moon Press, USA – haibun with Buddhist perspective from S. Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Malaysia.

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