2012 Spring at the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa!

What a magic meeting yesterday!

This was the twelfth year we have held our Spring meeting at the Embassy! Mr. Toshi Yonehara and Ms. Chisa Takiguchi greeted us, and we began with a gift of haiku magazines from Japan for KaDo members from the Embassy, the introductions of guests, and regrets from Lana Holmes who was not feeling well.

We just had to take time to admire Heather MacDonald’s beautiful brush paintings, of gladiolus for the agenda, and ‘kindheartedness’ on the broadsheet, Stuffing the Feeder, which was read next. These broadsheets become, because of her paintings, works of art as well as collections of poetry. The broadsheet was edited this year by Grant D. Savage, and produced by Mike Montreuil. During the reading Grant inserted extra poems that he would have liked to have been able to include because they were such good haiku.

This is where Grant would have, if he could have, added these haiku: Following immediately after Heather MacDonald’s “scent of straw”, Terry’s

february blahs/i change the pillowcases/ to red

Following immediately after “long stemmed roses” by Terry Ann, a haiku by Lana Holmes:
i drift
         snow drifts
                       hot saki
and following immediately after Gill Foss’s haiku, “my world”
Marco’s: a photograph/of sand/sticking to her body
Thank you Grant and Mike.
Next on the agenda: books – Mike Montreuil’s press, Éditions des petits nuages, published l’estuaire entre nos doutes: tankas de chez nous, an anthology of tanka in French by Montreal poets, edited by Maxianne Berger; Tommy Knockers, the Mineral Point Retreat Anthology, edited by Mike Montreuil, and A Thousand Fireflies: Milles Lucioles, tanka by Luminita Suse, translated by Mike, beautifully presented by Luminita, with Mike reading a couple of the translated poems. He also talked about another publication he translated, comme une étoile filante: like a shooting star, by Micheline Beaudry, Bondi Studios. Anne Marie Labelle, who had come from Montreal with Angela Leuck, Steve Luxton and Pamela Cooper, talked about her book, Ma lumière est une ombre / My Sunshine is a Shadow, English translation by Blanca Baquero, about the adoption of her daughter, and illustrated with her daughter Lovita’s drawings. Anne Marie also works at times with Mike on translations; she is an actress, which made for a great presentation. Terry Ann talked about Day Moon Rising, Black Moss Press, focusing in her poems on her work in Cambodia with the Tabitha Foundation, and the children caught in child prostitution. These are lyric poems, with inclusions of haiku and tanka. She commented that it was such a great step to have haiku considered part of a Canadian mainstream poetry publication. She also mentioned her newest book, Allelulia!, haiku and tanka translated by Montreuil, Buschek Books, which will be launched on June 6th. (More news later on the launch.) Masud Taj, poet/architect, showed us his book, Nari Gandi, published by The Foundation for Architecture, Mumbai (with wooden covers!), a copy of which is in the Carleton University Library’s Special Collection. He gave us a few memorized poems, (all of his poetry is memorized) told the story of a connection with a well-known reclusive architect in India and how it led to the manuscript, and showed the book with the poems in his own calligraphy. His short poems seem very like haiku in breath and spirit. He said a few words also about his Alphabestiary: A Poetry Emblem Book by Taj and Bruce Meyer, Exile Editions, Toronto, a book for which Guy Simser expressed great admiration.
We began two rounds of sharing our own haiku, which continued later while we drank tea. Several poets had written special poems in Terry’s honour, and spoke of how they will miss her when she moves to the Victoria area. (Meanwhile Steve Luxton of DC Books, Montreal, sneaked in and sat on the steps behind us…)

Our special presenter was Shinobu Sakane who studied Japanese Literature & Culture and the Teaching of Calligraphy at Toyo University, focusing on the History of Japanese culture. She studied Wagashi cooking at several professional schools in Japan and has developed her own recipes. She now teaches cooking and history to the teachers of Sencha-do in Shizouka and Tokyo.
Shinobu arranged for Sawa to present the story of wagashi to us. Meanwhile Shinobu and Chiho offered, on special trays, a piece of wagashi to each of us. So delicate and colourful, they were presented on lacquered wooden squares; everyone who had a camera took close-up photos. Sawa told us how a certain small candy wagashi was made, the sugar continuously ‘stirred’ for about two weeks until it formed around a grain of rice; samples were passed around. (I don’t have a photo of these candies, but Pearl Pirie has a goood pic on her website. Sawa spoke too, of a time in Japan before sugar existed, when sweets cam from fruit. Today sugar is used. Sawa then linked each perfectly molded wagashi shape with either the waka of Heian times, which we have been calling tanka, or the haiku of later times. There was a story for each piece. Apart from their beauty and appropriateness to occasion and season, they were delicious! Green tea made from leaves, not powder, was served in delicate cups which matched the trays. Every part of the presentation was exceptionally beautiful, and inspired haiku that were read out while we drank our tea.

A haiku and tanka from Grant:

may afternoon/and this sweetest of/Wagashi chrysanthemums

spring at the embassy/the Wagashi/sweet yes/but oh from her mouth/a taste of the culture

We thanked Shinobu Sakane, Sawa and Chiho. On their way out, Terry gave them copies of Day Moon Rising. I want to thank Terry for her thoughtful gift of a silver elephant from Cambodia. She and I have a little ‘elephant’ history going on, which was extended later in the evening. Read on… We owe many thanks to The Embassy of Japan, to Mr. Toshi Yonehara and Ms. Chisa Takiguchi for extending the time for the meeting this time so we could fully enjoy this most unforgettable afternoon. Afterwards ten of us went to The Blue Cactus – great food, great conversations with Mike Luminita, Terry, Sandra, Brendan, Pamela and Anne Marie, Steve, and Angela. We celebrated the two weddings coming up, Angela and Steve, and Sandra and Brendan, both on the same day, June 30th!!! Afterwards Sandra and Brendan, Terry and I went back to the Embassy for a screening of a film about women survivors of the tsunami and how they are doing a year later. In 3.11– In the Moment, we saw footage of the wave hitting the reactors at Fukushima taken from the Fukushima television offices which were very close to where the wave hit. There was footage also of the studio itself shaking, computers and files sliding, and some of the panic in the newsroom as the tsunami hit. Director Kyoko Gasha from New York, talked about making the film in only two weeks, with the main focus on women’s experiences. This is another ‘elephant’ moment between Terry and me, as we watched the women making elephants out of towels, which have become a symbol of hope, and which are sold to raise relief funds.This is only the first in a series; the screenings are free, and open to the public, but seats must be reserved. The next will be shown on May 15th at 7 pm. The evening is called Can You See Our Lights, and comprises two films: The First Festival after the Tsunami, and Setting Sail From the Ruins.


two purple rock flashes

For some reason, my new camera, bought in Newcastle, Australia, turned about 30 of my first beach rock photos purple. (Then it was okay…) Doubtless, there is a haiku or tanka in this somewhere… but I was just looking for a flash image to pass on two striking happenings in the lives of two haiku poets, Dina E. Cox and Carole MacRury.

You may know Dina E. Cox as a haiku poet, but she also writes lyric poetry, and Signature Editions has just published a collection of her lyric poems. Anyone living in or near Toronto can attend the launch.

Dina writes: This is to announce that my first collection of poetry, small flames, published by Signature Editions, will be launched in Toronto at the Magpie on Sunday May 6, 2012.
The details are as follows:

The Magpie

831 Dundas St. West (between Euclid and Palmerston, three blocks west of Bathurst)

Sunday May 6, 2012 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

From Carole MacRury via facebook:
Some good news….Two of my haiga, featured in an article titled, “Babble and Doodle: The Words of Haiku and the Strokes of Haiga” by Naomi Beth Wakan will appear in the summer issue of “Stone Voices”, Art Exhibition and Literary Showcase. This delightful magazine might be of interest to the artists among us: http://www.stonevoices.co/ And the writers – thank you Naomi, for including me in your interesting article.


WordPress does strange things at times, and one thing is that it rearranges the photos the blogger uploads. In this case, it makes the blog lucky to start out with a tan-shahai by Grant D. Savage.

We are calling it a tan-shahai for now, for want of knowing if there is a true name for it. A shahai is a photo with a haiku superinposed, but with a tanka?

There has been talk on other websites as to whether photos should be used to inspire haiku. We hope to get some comments on this I think: Use the little ‘cloud’ at the top of the post to have your say, or send it to me by email. My address is near the bottom of this post. In any case, here is one photo that I took; perhaps someone will get a haiku from it.

 Don’t forget to send in your haiku, or other Japanese forms and/or shahai, or haiga, or whatever is inspiring you to write these days! This blog isn’t mine, it belongs to Kado…

“Is that a real haiku, or did you write it yourself?” —Michael Dylan Welch
Check out the new link for Graceguts, the pages of Michael Dylan Welch, a good place to go for the latest in haiku, for good articles, interesting ideas, the T-shirt. https://sites.google.com/site/graceguts/home

Here is a book every haiku lover should have: It’s full of the known and newly discovered haiku of Nick Virgilio, essays about the life and work of Nick Virgilio, and an essay he wrote. It’s also lovely to hold.

From Rick Black’s Turtle Light Press. You can order from the website. $15 = $5 postage, and worth every cent. He is trying to have someone bring some to the conference. If so, then there will be no postage.

These are not Japanese in form, but short poems similar to tanka from Liu Xiaobo: ‘Your Lifelong Prisoner’ – Liu Xiaobo’s poem from prison
New book by the jailed dissident and Nobel peace prizewinner contains a moving tribute to his wife, the poet Liu Xia
From: ‘Your Lifelong Prisoner’

Maybe as your prisoner
I’ll never see the light of day
but I believe
darkness is my destiny
inside you
all is well

The glitter of the outside world
scares me
exhausts me
I focus on
your darkness –
simple and impenetrable

From Louise Vaillancourt: (Thank you Mike Montreuil … for collaborating!)

double bloom tulips

dernière neige
à doubles pétales

From Grant Savage:

your collection
of buddhas
may i remind you
that I too love to laugh
and have a belly to rub

Kado: Spring meeting at the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa. This will be the last chance to say you’ll be joining other Kado members at the Embassy on May 12th. (So far nearly 30 people are coming) As we are having a special guest who will be preparing something amazing, as well as guests from out of town, I need to know for sure whether you are coming, and how many will be with you. Send the information in a comment on this blog, or to me at claudiarosemary@yahoo.com



Shahai by Grant Savage

I know I said I’d post only once a week or so but I’ve had contributions to the blog that I’d like to get out to everyone.

From Bryan Cook:

in the hot tub
a full moon

a woodpecker
drums out grubs
in my head

in steerage
dreams of fortunes to be won
to sink with the unsinkable
shoes rest below an iceberg sea

From Gill Foss:

in late sunlight
lengthening shadows creep
towards old age

three purring cats
barely enough room
on one lap

autumn wedding
Canadian / Japanese
blessed with sweetgrass

From Grant Savage

holocaust day
despite repeat applications
of illegal chemicals
those damned immigrant
lawn grubs

Another package today from Scrivener Press who printed Haiku Canada’s 35th Members’ Anthology, Touch of a Moth, which all Haiku Canada Members will get. I opened it to find bookmarks to go with the books, (that are sitting here behind a living room chair in cartons until our Haiku Canada Weekend in May) the bookmarks complete in themselves as little artworks.

This news from Rick Black’s Turtle Light press blog: Haiku Hits the Streets in Washington, D.C.

Crowd of 100,000 people at the Japanese Street Festival in Washington D.C.
At 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 14th, I met Lee Giesecke of the Towpath haiku group – the local D.C. chapter of the Haiku Society of America – at a metro stop with my car packed full of tables, extra chairs, tablecloths, straw baskets, easels, sumi-e paintings, some regal sunflowers, magenta tulips, a large variety of haiku books to browse through and others to give away, haiku pamphlets, brochures and flyers, and a very large, welcoming balloon…
Later, Rick says: So, I put out (her) books and others on the front table. And then I added a sheet with a half-humorous “Haiku I.Q. Quiz” that I had made up for people to take:
1. A haiku is a car, a poem or a Japanese vegetable?
2. Who wrote a famous haiku poem about a frog…?
3. Haiku must have 17 syllables in three lines of 5-7-5 – true or false?
4. Issa was a great Japanese baseball player – true or false?
And then the flow of visitors began. It started as a trickle, then increased in intensity as the day went on. People would just look at the booth, astonished, and say, “I didn’t know there was a Haiku Society of America.” That was the most oft-repeated phrase that I heard throughout the day!
Another brilliant idea, having people write poems with chalk:
During the day the streets were completely packed with people from one side to the other, watching Japanese drummers or performers faking a sword fight, drinking Japanese beer or buying souvenirs. Overall, we must have had at least 1,000 people or more at our booth. Many people went away with a book, a brochure, a flyer, a bookmark, or a pencil – and the happy memory of writing haiku.
For more photos, see Rick’s personal Facebook page.

A sequence from Grant:

there in the middle
of the double
exposed lily
the newness of missing you
in the hummingbird’s green

green bee
at a dahlia
spring over
but how your august
showers me with sun

bee and kalanchoe
window between
in the body
of your email
missing you

shade in the letters
of the war memorial
a dead ant cradled
and carried high by others
back to the queen

you as if there’s nothing
but a kiss in my arms
and the willows’ shimmy
against the wind

all this spring
the thoughts of warm rain
… your kiss-
… flowers and your unfurling
… me always

He also sent this, a little different but delightful:

(birthday cake/ with her name/ candles and a half-baked p

John Martone, a favorite poet of mine, has another book of short poems:
Says John: Just uploaded a short book, “maybe a week (it’s all one poem)” to scribd — and you can find print copies at lulu — http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-martone/maybe-a-week-its-all-one-poem/paperback/product-20075838.html  I’ve just ordered mine!

Mid April

I wonder about your thoughts on having a KaDo blog. Let me know. Today’s post features another shahai by Grant D. Savage, and a tanka sequence he read at Tree on April 10th, and for which he was complemented by a/several poet(s) of stature.

Tanka – Red-wings – Blackbirds

opposing reds
on opposing reeds
straight from their shoulders
straight from their flaming hearts
the blackbirds’ spring dawns

spreading sunrise
on its fiery shoulders
a red-wing’s song
in full flight
on a swaying reed

south wind and reeds
alight with song
dark with half-flown red-wings
the weightlessness
of your florida tan

almost evening
matched with the spread
of bird-wings that fold
their dark to voice

the red-wings once more
forage the fields in flocks
not even their warmest
or deepest songs
a match for the spring snow

a red-wing
lands on a cattail’s
and where has it gone that first
and lightest touch of desire

from reed to reed
a blackbird follows
its song
the way it leads
straight to you

sun the colour
of the males’ shoulders
the blackbirds weave
reed baskets of togetherness
and mutual dreams

blackbird song
dimness of first light
i settle back in the nest
of our love – wet … hair
to tangle it further

i rise on the spread
of red-wing song
on the breeze-like sibilance
of your dreaming “G-r-a-a-a-n-t”

The Heron’s Nest 2012 Anthology of the best haiku it has published in its magazine each year. This proves that Grant Savage certainly knows his business where haiku is concerned, with four poems selected in one year. Here are two of them:

lake of stars
the taste
of Polaris

hint of frost
the spruce tipped
with jupiter

And to show that haiku poets can be a fun-loving competitive people like anybody else with our own contests and excitements, Heron’s poem of the year: Chad Lee Robinson, (Pierre, South Dakota)

migrating geese –
the things we thought we needed
darken the garage

Many have already let me know whether they are coming to the Japanese Embassy on May 12, and how many friends they will be bringing to share the fun. Our guest’s topic is wagashi. She is an expert at preparing and forming these seasonal sweets, and will have some samples for us! For anyone I know is coming, that is…

tulips and the Embassy

Tulips to remind everyone: Let me know by email, (claudiarosemary@yahoo.com) whether you’re coming to the May 12 event/meeting at The Japanese Embassy, and how many guests you will bring. Please let me know as soon as possible as our surprise guest has to know what to prepare. Make sure to send me your numbers by email (not on the blog) by April 28th. Put “Embassy” in your heading….

At the Haiku Canada Weekend we will launch the 35th Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology, THE TOUCH OF A MOTH. (2012, Scrivener Press). From that anthology, Ellen Cooper’s:

red tulip –
a ladybug escapes
the blazing heat

No blazing heat yet though here in Ottawa. Grey skies and rain to get those tulips growing. But that’s not stopping our Mike Montreuil from finishing up details and getting the collection of Drevniok Award winners to press.

There’s also a new book of Nick Virgilio poems out by Turtle Light Press. More than a hundred pages of genius for $14.95, from the states, but no postage! That’s almost unheard of! Virgilio is one of the American master haiku poets whose poems you want to have by your favourite reading chair.  www.turtlelightpress.com

Spring Meeting at the Japanese Embassy

A welcome to new member Louise Vaillancourt and two shahai from her, one in English and one in French. (shahai = photo haiga)

Keep May 12th open for our Spring Embassy meeting! It is at 1:00 – 3:00 in our traditional venu, the Japanese Embassy. It was brilliant of Terry Ann to make this connection with Mr. Toshi Yonehara so  many spring seasons ago.  This year we have a very special guest who will explain about the tradition of making special seasonal sweets.  In a couple of weeks I will ask exactly how many people are coming so our guest will know how many to prepare for.  remember that you may bring guests, whether they write haiku or not.

A note that Pearl Pirie’s blog Pesbo shares a link called A Quick Primer to haiku. Worth looking up.

Hi to Haiku – pesbo
pagehalffull.comUntil next week then, Claudia

March 26, 2012

Shahai by Grant D. Savage: early heat/ water almost gone/ from the water’s sound

from Michael Dylan Welch’s NaHaiWriMo via facebook:
Did you know that, by definition, a haiga must contain a painting (not a photo), and calligraphy of a haiku done by hand (not words typed using a computer)? That’s what purists will say, but of course photo-haiga is a wonderful modern development of the haiga tradition. The Japanese term for photo-haiga is shahai. This term isn’t widely known in English, but it might be worth remembering if you enjoy making haiga or photo-haiga. For more information on haiga, and a selection of my own haiga (done with various artists) and photo-haiga, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/graceguts/haiga.

Grant already knew of the distinction.

An excerpt from a paper on John Wills, haiku poet, read by Grant D. Savage at the Tree Reading series, March 13, 2012. It gives some idea of the depth possible in a single haiku:

From the ‘The Fields’ section of ‘Reed Shadows’ by John Wills:

the rocky den
of the copperhead

Sound devices, conscious, unconscious, and accidental, play a large role in the haiku form simply because of its brevity, and quickly either strengthen or weaken individual efforts. In this copperhead poem, the assonance of the short short ‘e’s and and to a lesser extent the short ‘o’s runs throughout the haiku, and along with the alliteration of k, p and d sounds, emphasizes the suddenness, hardness, and sharp nature of the rock, and potentially, of the copperhead.
The juxtaposition of the darkness, camouflage, and hidden danger, with the softness of the white, early spring flowers, their reaching for the sun, while both the flower and the possibly coiled or striking snake, are both close to the cool, damp, ground, yet dependent on spring sun and warmth.
This is the unstated subject matter of this haiku, all this, along with the somewhat cacophonous music of the sound devices.

My note: You can still get used copies of ‘Reed Shadows’, selected haiku of John Wills edited by Rod Willmot, (Montreal) and published both by Burnt Lake Press and Black Moss Press. Amazon, for example, listed two: one paperback for $189.00 and one with an ‘unknown binding’ for $19.67, though Alibris had one for around $20.

Angela Leuck, our guest for the winter 2012 KaDo meeting, is getting married in June and sends this haiku from China, where she teaches.

magpie flicks his tail–
I add a train
to my wedding gown

Posted in the above/ground press blog, an interview rob mclennan and Pearl Pirie, our own personal haiku poet and literary blogger.
Go to: networkblogs.com/vDaPS
Click on Some author activity: Pirie, Armantrout, Ladouceur, Earl and Kroetsch, as all authors are worth reading. Armantrout read at Versefest 2012, and Ben Ladouceur is an Ottawa/Carleton U poet.

A note from Janick Belleau in Montreal: …(I) just came back from 11 days in Paris, participating to the Salon du Livre where Japanese litereature was the guest, to launch a Haiku book (3 voices of women amongst them, mine), gave lectures in La Rochelle and a communication on tanka in Puteaux (near Paris). What a great 11 days Janick!

Go to haikuchronicles.com for some exciting crossover adventures. Destination HAIGA. Donna, Al and Anita Virgil (all excetional haiku/senryu poets) have packed classical and contemporary haiku, senryu and tanka with striking visual accompaniments — many with a twist.  Haiku Chronicles is a non-profit, free educational poetry podcast. Just click on each episode. Get on board for an exciting trip!

From Ron Silliman, Silliman’s blog, May 14, 2012:
So it’s not a surprise particularly to discover that there is a lot of excellent writing to be found in an anthology like Haiku 21: An Anthology of Contemporary English-Language Haiku, edited by Lee Gurga & Scott Metz, published by Modern Haiku Press of Lincoln, IL.
Some of the poems here, such as Marlene Mountain’s
out of nowhere isn’t
are as good as anything I’ve read this century, regardless of genre.

One last quote Quote from Jorge Luis Borges
A poet never rests. He’s always working, even when he dreams. Besides, the life of a writer, is a lonely one.

new format/quote

As you see I’m trying out a new format. It’s brighter than the original, but readers should know that to make a comment, you click on the little ‘cloud’ at the top of the post. (There’s a name for that little cloud, but for now, little cloud will have to do.)  There’s a link to reply to the blog after the post too. Not sure yet what the difference is. 

Here’s a quote from Ron Silliman’s blog about haiku…

“Why would a poet who writes 1,000-page poems read haiku? Or pay heed to any manner of minimalism, for that matter? That’s a legitimate question, and one that I asked myself for at least a year before I felt that I fully understood my own personal answer. It’s because the questions of attention are so very similar. There is, in the minimalist poem generally, nowhere to hide…”

Grant’s photo haiga and other things

Here is Grant Savage’s first photo haiga. He’s been a nature photographer for many years, and his work will be displayed at the Haiku Canada Weekend this year. Grant, this is so perfect in every way! (the haiku may be difficult to read at this size so here it is:)

blues in the palaenopsis/her talk of life/and death at birth

About the blogroll, not all the blogs are haiku blogs, but those we’ve linked to have been gracious enough to put our links on their blogrolls, and since the blogs are so interesting, I’ve added them to ours. I’ll look for more haiku links, but really, the ones listed are so great, and offer so many links to poets and haiku/tanks/Japanese form poetry, that you could spend days with them.

In response to Amos and Andy’s not knowing what an Acme is, Mike Montreuil says that Acme makes explosives and assorted hunting and snuffing out gear for Wiley E. Coyote. A quote from Carol Stephen: Guess the explosives don’t work so well or for very long…just sayin’