A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012
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Haiku Festival Aotearoa, 2012 – Tauranga, New Zealand

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 | page 6 |

Workshops : Haiku as Performance, Everyday Things, Renku and Tanka

Other workshops were:

Haiku as Performance with Owen Bullock, a poet and editor living in the Tauranga area who is also an experienced actor and musician. He offered plenty of good tips about reading haiku to an audience, especially one that may not be familiar with the genre. “The audience is god,” he said. “There’s no need to explain anything, they will understand.” He encourages all poets reading their work to read s-l-o-w-l-y ... and when you're going as slowly as you think you can, slow down a little bit more! “People can take quite a few if you take your time and give the poem space.” He advised poets when reading to try and reconnect with the experience that caused the haiku to be written in the first place. And “if you put enough into” your reading, he believes you won’t need to read the poem a second time. Make eye contact!

Owen Bullock, centre, talks through how to read haiku to an audience to, from left, Beverley George, André Surridge and Kieran O’Connor.

Photo courtesy of Sandra Simpson

Haiku, Haibun and Everyday Things with Dr Lawrence Marceau, senior lecturer in Japanese at the University of Auckland, who shared his knowledge of the work of Yokoi Yayū (1702-83). Lawrence and his wife Mariko had just returned (three days before) from a six-month stint in Kyoto where Lawrence was a Visiting International Scholar in the Department of Japanese Language & Literature at the university. A simple paper fan was the subject of the Yayū haibun studied. After completing a writing exercise, Lawrence confessed to the class, that despite his field of study, he had never written a haibun, so had enjoyed the writing exercise as much as the delegates.

Lawrence Marceau (Auckland) beside the Haiku Pathway boulder that features a poem by Takebe Ayatari (1719-74). Lawrence has translated some of the poet’s work into English, although not this one, so was pleased to find “an old friend”.

Photo courtesy of Sandra Simpson

Introduction to Renku with Sandra Simpson, using the 12-verse junicho form. I had asked participants to supply hokku (head verse) candidates before the workshop so one could be chosen and get the poem off to a flying start. The group had great fun and despite most being worried about the tangle of rules in renku, the first verses were safely navigated. I’d only written renku online before and found the live experience “cracking” – the to and fro of questions/comments, the energy, the humour. Most of the group then finished the poem online at the Issa’s Snail website. ‘Cold Sun’ appears in this issue of A Hundred Gourds, as well as the leader’s tomegaki (concluding comments) in the renku section.

Exploring Tanka with Beverley George. Because one of our local tutors withdrew at the beginning of year, we asked Beverley – the first delegate to register and lead organiser for the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim conference in Australia in 2009 – to step in. She kindly agreed to share her broad knowledge, enriched by her work as editor of the tanka journal, Eucalypt, and numerous visits to Japan. Beverley had also generously brought with her a copy of the Australian tanka anthology, Grevillea and Wonga Vine, for each workshop participant. A beautiful souvenir of the event.

Hard at work in Beverley George’s tanka workshop

Photo courtesy of Beverley George