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

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:
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 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’

The image at the top of our blog homepage

The image is part of the KaDo banner painted by Heather A. MacDonald, a brush artist who teaches at the Ottawa School of Art. Heather has been a haiku poet with Kado for several years. She’s always been generous with her artwork for haiku purposes. She has donated her work for the past three Haiku Canada Anthologies to use on the anthology covers, and has allowed work to be used for some of our annual KaDo broadsheets. We like to hang the banner wherever we hold our KaDo meetings. Thank you Terry for starting this tradition!

The colourful cranes threaded beside the banner are from a haiku event at the Ottawa Folk Festival the year in which the festival’s focus was on Japan, its music, art, and literary culture.

Summer Meeting 2011

Sheila Ross invited us to use her wonderful garden/back yard for our potluck/summer meeting. There was so much going on in that meeting, the afternoon flew by without us sharing our own haiku. Guy gave us verses written on strips of paper, asked us whether each was a haiku or not. Lots of learning going on there. Terry Ann launched her Global Lanterns book, and I introduced a board game called Genji, which was about early tanka of the Heian period. Our special guests were Rich and ZoAnn Schnell, who live in Plattsburgh, and who organized the Haiku International conference there in 2008. Guy then presented Terry Ann with a bolt of special silk from which Sumo wrestlers have special kimonos made. He also gave her a beautiful wrap-around ‘belt’ for it; Terry wore it at HNA a few months later when she gave her presentation on the history of haiku in Canada. It was a full day in more ways than one. We’ll have to talk, as a group, about where to hold our next summer meeting.

haiku taken seriously!

Yes, it’s true! It’s been publicly stated that haiku is a true poetry form. Ron Silliman was in Ottawa and in the middle of his workshop, began to talk about haiku as if it was, well, you know. If you go to his blog, (just google Silliman’s blog) there is a discussion of haiku in which he cites Jim Kacian, John Martone (specifically John’s wonderbook, Kasana) and others, and talks about haiku in a terrifically accessible manner. Go there for a treat!

Winter meeting 2012

We congregated at the Royal Oak Pub on Laurier Avenue, and had Angela Leuck as Special Guest; we also welcomed John Blaikie and Bryan Cook. We talked about the Haiku Canada Weekend, and Mike Montreuil gave us a rundown on the conference he went to in the States. Mike also talked about his new press, Editions des petits nuages. Terry Ann read from Nick Avis’s love haiku, which segued into Angela Leuck’s wonderful presentation about writing love haiku. It was so beautifully laid out, step by step, and we all, even poets who had never written a haiku before, were able to read the haiku we’d newly written. Next we shared several rounds of our own haiku. The White Elephant sales were terrific, and many free materials also went to good homes. Thank you so much to all presenters, and especially to Angela who sent us all home with a copy of her tanka chapbook, Suddenly a Desire: Rose Tanka. Thanks to everyone who came and who made it a special day by their presence!

Fall meeting 2011

Our autumn meeting was at Gill Foss’s wonderful home in Carp. Philomene Kocher came up from Kingston, and Marco Fraticelli came from Montreal as it was a meeting at whick two books were launched, both published by Kingsroad Press (Marco’s Press) and were both in the Hexagram series, the most prestigious series in which to be published in Canada. Carter’s ‘Now You Know’ is the 24th Hexagram, and Philomene Kocher’s ‘hearing the silence’ is the twenty-fifth. After some reading highjinks to do with a black fedora and some performance poetry, we shared our own haiku. Gill put out some delicious snacks and drinks. Thank you Gillian. What a terrific place to hold a terrific meeting. Thanks to Phil and Marco for travelling so far to join us. Afterwards we retreated to the Cheshire cat, a well-known local pub where we re-treated ourselves and had a lot more fun. Thanks everyone for coming!