IHS International Haiku
Competition 2013 announced!
Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2013 offers prizes
of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in
English. In addition there will be up to seven Highly Commended
Details and previous winners here:
All the entries shall be postmarked by 30th November 2013. No e-mail
Good luck to all!
Shamrock Haiku Journal
Readers' Choice Awards
We invite all the readers of Shamrock
to vote for the best haiku/senryu poem published in 2013, i.e. in the
issues TWENTY-FOUR to TWENTY-SIX (you cannot vote for your own poem,
though). To vote, send an e-mail to irishhaikusociety[at]gmail.com with
"Best haiku of 2013" or "Best senryu of 2013" in the subject line.
Please insert the full text of the poem you vote for (only ONE poem in
each category) plus the name of its author in the body of your e-mail.
The deadline for vote is 31th January, 2014. The
best poems will be named in the next issue of Shamrock Haiku
are six years old! Founded in January 2007, Shamrock Haiku
since been published quarterly. On this occasion, we have prepared SHAMROCK
HAIKU JOURNAL: 2007 – 2011, a print edition of the twenty
issues of Shamrock, the Journal of the Irish Haiku
Society, as they appeared on
the Shamrock website. This paper-based collection
comprises works by 248
authors representing 38
countries. It covers the full range of English-language
haiku, from classic to experimental styles, as well as haibun and
translated haiku that appeared regularly in Shamrock
over the last
five years are not included in this book, as we hope to arrange a
separate publication for
Haiku Journal: 2007 – 2011
Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky.
© 2007 – 2011 by Shamrock Haiku Journal.
in Dublin, Ireland.
in the United Kingdom.
paperback. 240 pp.
6"x9", perfect binding.
Preview available here
also pausing to stare
the ghost crab
testing the sway
of a take-off leaf
-- Bill Cooper (USA)
into the drought
beachfront underpass –
the concrete tunnel
winged with mayflies
moist mouse nest
upturned with the plow
-- Brent Goodman (USA)
shades of autumn –
a phone call for someone
I used to be
the comings and goings
about rushing into it –
-- Lorin Ford (Australia)
a flower bank
of magenta and cream…
swish of long skirts
I look at my cat
-- Dawn Bruce (Australia)
first snow falling
through old leaves
sunlight breaking –
a worm struggling free
of its trampled half
Paul Chambers (Wales)
trees and mountains
in black and white
of popping pine
-- Mel Goldberg (Mexico – USA)
our butcher Frank
gossip punctuated with
his bloody cleaver
on the last page a curl from
-- Ayaz Daryl Nielsen (USA)
wave after wave of
the sun a pale halo
-- John Zheng (USA)
summer breeze –
just the way
she shakes her hair
moonlit beach –
a bird flies
-- Elizabeth Moura (USA)
“For Sale” sign rusty too
young girl stares at rows
of flowers for sale
-- Edward J. Rielly (USA)
a line of cars snakes
onto the ferry
a leopard tortoise
spotted with leaves
-- Robert Lucky (USA – Ethiopia)
gull dispute –
in an office window
moon rests on the outstretched
arm of the crane
-- Hugh O’Donnell (Ireland)
derelict convent –
black and white little bird
on the windowsill
through her limbs
-- Noel King (Ireland)
night border crossing --
the elephant calf holds
his mother's tail
passing breeze –
the unexpected gift
of a banyan leaf
-- Sonam Chhoki (Bhutan)
same size as mine,
handprints on cave walls…
the colors of twilight
-- Steven Carter (USA)
early spring morning –
in the drainage ditch,
a lost fish
-- Joseph M. Kusmiss
nothing but our breathing
in the morning light
-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)
night beneath the trees –
cicadas wind down
what katydids began
-- Scott Owens (USA)
the sunsets lingering
less and less
-- Lolly Williams (USA)
down the bicycle path
-- Richard St. Clair (USA)
dusk settles in
-- Erik Linzbach (USA)
the sun-dried leaf
-- David Kavanaugh (USA)
I fill the scarecrow
with fresh hay
-- Robert Henry Poulin (USA)
waxing and waning
a frog leaps out
-- Doug Norris (USA)
pushing the bicycle
-- Chen-ou Liu (Canada)
jazz festival –
a man loses his newspaper
to the wind
Marshall Bood (Canada)
-- Louisa Howerow (Canada)
boats at their moorings
point the other way
-- Simon Hanson (Australia)
walks round plane tree leaves
her grandson crunches through
-- Peter Macrow (Australia)
a cold wind
across the field
-- Ashley Capes (Australia)
changing her wardrobe
-- Anne Curran (New Zealand)
in and out of silence
-- Gillena Cox (Trinidad and
a poodle somersaults
on a pile of leaves
-- Keith Simmonds (Trinidad and
green grass –
to patching things up
-- Ernesto P. Santiago
(Philippines – Greece)
windows washed –
clinking of a spoon
against the tea cup –
the tolling bells
atop the antique buffet –
-- Ella Krylova (Russia;
translated from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
"Double Vision at
Ricks" by Eleonor Leonne Bennett (England)
They called it the funny farm.
Half-barren, white gumbo-patches showing through the wheat-stubble, it
was a sucker’s dream. Even voracious descendants of German settlers
from the early 20th century wouldn’t touch it with a 57-foot pole.
And a sucker bought it. And made it work! Most ranchers in northwest
Montana – the funny farm is midway between the Browning Indian
reservation and the tiny town of Hadley – said it couldn’t happen.
Rains helped. Cold comforters of winter snow helped. Prayer – Ho!
That’s where imagination kicks in for yours truly. My uneducated guess
(this is what I would’ve done) is that the owners prayed to the Greek
gods. Why not? How do we know they don’t exist unless we pray to them,
or at least invite them for happy (ah, funny) hour?
– Or Polynesian gods; or Norse; or Mayan, etc.
The Blackfeet of Browning, whose gods are – according to the locals –
safely interred beneath the gray earth and twisted wheat-stalks of
their own farmlands, may be seen standing beside their junky cars just
off Highway 89, checking out the lush fields of the funny farm.
The Blackfeet: far-gazing and expressionless, as always.
a lone coyote
Zhuang Zi and
Hui Si, two ancient Chinese philosophers, stood on a wooden bridge
watching fish in the placid pond. When the fish swam toward them,
Zhuang Zi clapped his hands, uttering, “Here come the fish. They look
so happy!” Hui Si shook his head with a smirk, “You are not a fish; how
do you know the fish are happy?” Zhuang Zi gave his friend a meaningful
smile and asked with a drawl, “You are not me; how do you know I don’t
know the fish are happy?” Stumped by the question, Hui Si looked
tongue-tied for a good while. Then he shook his head with an
unbelievable look. To him, man was not fish at all; they were two
different species, but to Zhuang Zi, man and fish were one, for the
whole universe was oneness.
the hen or the
cicada drops onto the driveway when the sun’s last radiance gleamed out
behind the dense pecan trees. Lying upside down, it struggles to turn
itself over with its well-veined wings as supporters, but each try just
makes it more difficult for the cicada to stand on its legs. It gives a
buzz now and then, a short, desperate sound for the passing of its
life. Minutes later, one of its wings is broken. It becomes quiet, and
its legs stop moving. Then another brief, weak buzz, like uttering
goodbye to the chorus of cicadas on the pecan tree.
than the train
Slander Boldly, or What the
Reviewers and Negligent Editors, Part 2
too many things under the moon can surprise me these days but I admit
to being quite baffled having read the review of Bamboo
the anthology of haiku poetry from
Ireland that I edited for Doghouse Books. This so-called
“review” somehow found its way onto the pages of Kokako 19. As I
said before, normally I wouldn’t comment on a review of any of my
publications. But the article in question is, yet again, not quite a
review, it is something completely different.
The reviewer this time is a
certain R. W. Watkins, a native of Canada. The
omnipotent Mr. Watkins starts off with insulting no less than the whole
Irish nation. St. Patrick’s Day and dung-yard “could not be mistaken as
having originated anywhere else [but in Ireland]”? And Kokako publishes
this? The editors surely have got some nerve.
Next comes Mr.
Watkins’s fatuous comment on the phrase from the Introduction, in which
I mentioned that “a few of the Irish haiku poets have chosen to join
the British Haiku Society.” Mr. Watkins deems appropriate to say: “I
cannot help but wonder if such haijins (sic!) have been labeled
‘traitor’ and subsequently tarred and feathered and tied to utility
pole.” I feel obliged to reassure Mr. Watkins that we spare such
treatment only for those who compare Ireland to a dung-yard. As for the
Irish members of the British Haiku Society, there’s ample
representation of them in both Bamboo
Dreams and Shamrock.
It is enough
to name such poets as Gabriel Rosenstock, Leo Lavery, Clare McCotter,
Beth McFarland and Thomas Powell.
So who is this R. W. Watkins who openly displays anti-Irish sentiment
but was still chosen by the editors of Kokako to
review an Irish anthology? Not much is known about him in the haiku
world. None of the recognised haiku periodicals display his works on
their pages or websites. The only two haiku
that he has ever published online are available for viewing on the site
that he edits himself (http://www.redfez.net/poetry/1710).
Here’s one of them (this piece was later submitted to Shamrock, which is why we can reproduce it here):
along the cow path,
where the barn and fog once
all the ghosts have died
Mmm, a 5-7-5 piece about ghosts? Dear reader, does it look convincing
to you? Questions, questions...
Mr. Watkins's excursion into
the plentiful pastures of haiku theory shows him as an
outspoken advocate of 5-7-5 haiku writing in English,
which is nowadays considered obsolete. It has been stated zillions of
times that English syllables are much longer than Japanese onji (e.g.
the word “haibun” has two syllables in it, whereas in Japanese it has
four on). It has long been agreed upon that, quoting the late great
Keiko Imaoka, “something in the vicinity of 11 English syllables is a
suitable approximation of 17 Japanese syllables, in order to convey
about the same amount of information as well as the brevity and the
fragmented quality found in Japanese haiku” (http://www.ahapoetry.com/keirule.htm).
Mr. Watkins clearly believes that the 5-7-5 structure is the equivalent
of the similar Japanese one, and must be enforced. And the editors of Kokako gave him a
platform for expressing such views. In his article, he slams Bamboo Dreams saying
that the included haiku are “brief and truncated”, and “the truncated
of roughly twelve syllables or less) [i.e. free-form English-language
haiku] is not conductive to detail and clarity.” He doesn't seem to be
very much in step with the times.
Next comes my turn. “Irish
haiku scene is synonymous with the standards and visions of one Anatoly
Kudryavitsky.” Well, if Mr. Watkins seriously believes that I am solely
responsible for free-form haiku being widespread in Ireland, he must
have completely lost his grip on reality. The further, the better:
“Kudryavitsky is the semi-official filter which virtually all aspects
of contemporary Irish haiku must pass.” I thought I only edited a
magazine filtering good haiku from husk like Mr. Watkins’s oeuvres.
Which brings to mind that in May 2013 Mr. Watkins submitted a few
“haiku” of a kind (the ghost piece among them) to Shamrock,
mentioning in the cover letter that he was “currently putting together
a review of Bamboo
Dreams for one of the North American haiku journals” (if
it’s the same review, it had obviously been turned down by that
magazine due to its offensive nature before it crash landed in Kokako). This is a
nice little detail. Why would Mr.
Watkins mention that he was going to review Bamboo Dreams
if he wasn't expecting favours from me because of that?
Unfortunately for him, I am not prepared to compromise on the quality
of haiku I publish, so he didn’t manage to force his way onto the pages
Of course, a more ethical person would refrain from mentioning to an
editor he was submitting poems to that he was going to review the
editor’s book. But Mr. Watkins doesn’t seem to be particularly
concerned with ethics.
Nor is he committed to the truth. He implies that his “submitting to Shamrock drew a
barrage of suggested edits and omissions”. Really? Like any magazine
editor, I may occasionally offer my suggestion for a particular piece.
This is editor’s prerogative. It is entirely up to the poet to take it
or leave it. In this particular case, I e-mailed back to Mr. Watkins
three of his submitted 5-7-5-ers in shortened versions – just to show
him that an overblown and wordy haiku can sometimes benefit from
trimming. Would a person of sound mind call a single e-mail a barrage?
By the way, I keep my correspondence with our wannabe contributors –
just in case one of them decides to go public with blatant
following is from Mr. Watkins’s modest statement that came with his
haiku: “I was increasingly devoting my talents to those of a 5/7/5
structure. […] What fills publications like Modern Haiku and Frogpond
nowadays is mostly bland, artless hack jobs that lack alliteration and
consonance, pivot, epiphany.” The editors of these publications have
obviously rejected his 5-7-5-ers about ghosts. Shall I give a word of
warning to my colleagues? Watch out, Mr. Watkins will soon be after
By the way, Mr. Watkins in his article repeatedly calls Shamrock a website.
I believe, it is a common knowledge that an online magazine, unlike a
website, publishes work that appears in a new edition on a regular
schedule, and therefore is called a periodical. It seems like Mr
Watkins didn’t bother to familiarize himself with the publication he
was quick to submit his pieces to.
next figment of Mr. Watkins’s imagination is the
claim that “the majority of haiku in Bamboo Dreams were
selected from Shamrock.”
It seems like something prevented Mr. Watkins from viewing the
Acknowledgements page, where he could have found
the list of the magazines, in which the poems selected for Bamboo
Dreams first appeared. All in
all, twenty haiku periodicals are listed, including Acorn, A Hundred
Gourds, Ambrosia, Blithe Spirit, Frogpond, Haiku Presence, The Heron’s
Nest, Haiku Spirit, The Lace Curtain, Lishanu, Modern Haiku, Notes from
the Gean, Paper Wasp, Poetry Ireland Review, Roadrunner, Shamrock,
Simply Haiku, Time Haiku, Tinywords, World Haiku Review,
as well as
twenty-seven anthologies and individual collections by the
contributors. I wonder if Mr. Watkins’s statement is anything but yet
another attempt to mislead the public.
I’ve seen too many reviews
of haiku collections where the reviewer offers no critique of the book
and the haiku included in it. This is the trouble with Mr. Watkins’s
article. For him, all free-form haiku are “brief and truncated”.
Furthermore, he is unable to define accurately what constitutes perfect
and imperfect haiku. The reviewer quotes a few pieces that he liked,
one that he didn’t like, and yet another one (arguably one of the best
in the book) that he didn’t know what to think of because of “cultural
differences” (!) He goes on about “the lack of indentation [in Bamboo Dreams] that
can make many of these little poems difficult to comprehend.” I wasn’t
sure what kind of indentation he was talking about until I stumbled
upon his own piece submitted to Shamrock:
thorns, morning dew
on wild rose
I don’t think that the indentation Mr. Watkins employs here makes this
piece easier to read and comprehend. I wonder if he is aware
of the fact that classical Japanese haiku were not presented as
three-liners but were written in a single vertical line; that's why a
cutting word (kireji)
was used to separate one part of a
haiku from the other.
The further you read this “review”, the more amusing it gets. The next
Mr Watkins’s statement will surely raise quite a few eyebrows: “75% of
the poetry featured on the [Shamrock]
site has undergone rewriting or abridging at the hands of Anatoly
Kudryavitsky.” What the dickens, or rather, what the Watkins? As
Francis Bacon once put it, "Slander boldly, something always sticks." A
statement like this cannot be an honest error; it is
the result of data fabrication, i.e. the reviewer’s gross misconduct.
How the editors of Kokako,
Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland,
who take full responsibility for what they print, approved such drivel
for publication is beyond me.
now the readers of these pages can take a guess what the aim of Mr.
Watkins’s “review” was, if not to settle accounts with me. Isn't it a
shame that the editors of Kokako
failed to make sure that the
underlying feelings were more appropriate? They are now saying that an
apology to me
“will be published in the next issue of Kokako (April, 2014).” We'll
have to wait and see...
I also wonder if Kokako
is now going to raise the Jolly Roger of 5-7-5. Because if you
have said “A”, you will also have to say “B”, otherwise you’ll be
accused of bias, and rightly so. Of course, a scientific periodical can
get one of the books on the origin of the
species reviewed by a creationist and the other ones by evolutionists – but after
that who is going to take this
magazine seriously? Now I am curious to
see how the editors of Kokako
are going to pull through.
In Part 1 of our
“Unscrupulous Reviewers and Negligent Editors” series (see Shamrock No
25) I wrote the following: “The question is, if a writer sets
destroy another’s reputation, should a respectable magazine give him a
platform for that kind of activities? Because this is exactly the
situation we all have been trying hard to avoid.” I sadly note that my
lamentations didn’t stop the rot and it has now reached yet another
haiku publication. The bitter personal bile poured out by some
individuals and readily printed by some negligent or sensation seeking
leaves me quite speechless. Of course, it tells its own story, an old
story of incompetence and jealousy.
As for Mr. Watkins, his very inspired look can be viewed here.
Just so you know who I am talking about. I sincerely believe that Mr.
Watkins deserves a place in encyclopedias – alongside a certain person from Porlock. His
innovative approach to getting published is clear as a crisp spring
morning. I do realise that, having received from somebody a “publish
me, or else!” ultimatum, most editors will simply tell this person to
go to hell, but I can suggest a better place to send him to. Just tell
him, “Go to Kokako!”
our readers will notice, I do not comment on Roberta Beary’s graceless
reply to my essay in Shamrock
25, which sullied the pages of Frogpond 36.2.
Instead of an admission of presumption and carelessness, accompanied by
an apology, readers are treated to Ms. Beary’s self-excusing reference
to sources she (unthinkingly) relied upon. If she had any experience in publishing, she would have known that there are attributable sources of material that an editor of a book can name on the Acknowledgements page, e.g. other books and periodicals, including online magazines, and not attributable ones (other websites, blogs, personal pages, promotional leaflets, etc.). The website of the Irish Haiku Society is not an attributable source, so I couldn't possibly name it. In such a case an editor names the closest attributable source, which I did. Now that the revised version of the poem by Seamus Heaney has appeared in Bamboo Dreams, this book becomes an attributable source for it and can be referred to as such. The fact that no information regarding a revised version of a poem is made within a publication is
no grounds for a reviewer to account for a discrepancy by jumping to
the conclusion that, therefore, the editor must have taken liberties
with the text. This reply only confirms what the readers of my essay
already know: that the reviewer who has been caught out in what amounts
to slander (intentional or otherwise) is guilty as charged.
Glenn G. Coats. Snow on the Lake. Haibun and Haiku
Pineola Publihing, Virginia, USA,
90 pp.; ISBN 978-0-6157-9911-7
Available from Pineola Publishing, 467 North
Hardtimes Drive, Prospect,
Virginia 23960, USA
Glenn G. Coats is one of the poets
widely represented in Shamrock,
where some of his haiku and haibun found a home for
the first time. Having started writing haiku in the 1990s, he is now
one of the most exciting voices in English-language short-form poetry.
He has an eye for everyday wonders of nature:
a scent of rabbit
in all the air
Glenn G. Coats is also one of the top
haibun writers of today. His book will be a worthwhile addition to any
Klaus-Dieter Wirth. Im Sog der Stille / In the Wake of
Hamburger Haiku Verlag, Hamburg,
240 pp.; ISBN 978-3-937257-72-3
Available from http://haiku.de
The previous collection by
Klaus-Dieter Wirth, Zugvögel / Migratory Birds, has
been reviewed in Shamrock
19. This ones brings together 208 of the poet's more recent
haiku and senryu from various haiku periodicals where they first
appeared. It represents German and, wider, European haiku at its best.
Just one example:
breaking through the asphalt
This book comes highly recommended.
DOGHOUSE Books have
published the first ever national anthology of haiku poetry from
Dreams, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and featuring 77
Irish haijin. Reviewed here. It is available to order via
the Doghouse Books website.
Also, we have a
limited number of copies left of three collections of haiku poems by
Shadows Bloom. DOGHOUSE Books, 2005. Reviewed here
Morning at Mount Ring. DOGHOUSE Books, 2007. Reviewed here
Kudryavitsky. Capering Moons. DOGHOUSE Books, 2011.
One can get them
free for the price of €12 to anywhere in the world.
Also, check out here
the range of poetry books and anthologies we've published.
PO Box 312
Tel: +353 (0)66 7137547
Fax: +353 (0)66 7137547
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