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.



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


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.

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’

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!