Unless stated otherwise, all poetry on Swimming in Lines of Haiku is Copyright Kirsten Cliff and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from the author. kirsten(DOT)cliff(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It is through the cracks in our brains that ecstasy creeps in.

the cracked path

sprouts of green
from shades of grey

how deep below
and far along
did these weeds

travel to find
the light

in the cracks between

Copyright © Kirsten Cliff
Winner, ME Awareness Day Writing Competition 2008
First published in Meeting Place: The Quarterly Journal of ANZMES Inc., Issue 93, Sept. 2008
Also appeared in the Waiariki Institute of Technology 2010 Calendar

(Title quote by American writer Logan P. Smith.)

Photo by Kirsten Cliff

Monday, May 30, 2011

New For Me: Sketchbook Haiku Thread

I recently submitted to the Sketchbook May / June 30, 2011 "vegetable(s)" Haiku Thread. It's the first time I've joined in with one of these and also the first time I've taken a good look at Sketchbook: A Journal for Eastern & Western Short Forms.

Pop over and take a look yourself. It's fun checking in every few days to see what new haiku have been added to the thread, and I look forward to seeing what the editor's choices will be in the next issue of Sketchbook. Let me know how you get on!

Friday, May 27, 2011

that song haiga

that song
and I'm taken back to
a sadder time
where I was alone, but
I had found writing

(Please click on the image to see a full screen view.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

making mud pies haiga

making mud pies
in the after school sun
nobody to hand down
my recipe books too

(Please click on the image to see a full screen view.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

leukaemia - haiga

leukaemia -
not letting the tears fall
until I phone mum

(Please click on the image to see a full screen view.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For My Northern Hemisphere Friends Heading Into Summer

summer preening

toenails, colour chipped, pearly pink
cotton balls, acetone smell
leather kit, instruments in place
sun on the stainless steel clippers
crescent moons jump across the grass
nail file, one side rough, one side fine
checking the edges with a finger
tissues, folded, rolled, threaded between
toes, outstretched, separate
new bottle of polish, shaken
hunched over, two hands busy
painting each canvas, twice
minutes, waiting, walking on heels
stepping out in jandals

Copyright © Kirsten Cliff
First published in Waiariki Today, Issue 6, October 2008

Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand by Kirsten Cliff

Monday, May 23, 2011

The 12th Tanka Society of America’s International Competition

Deadline: Postmark date of June 30, 2011.

Eligibility: Open to all, members and non-members alike, except TSA officers and judges.

Regulations: Any number of tanka may be submitted. Entries must be original, in English, unpublished, and not submitted for publication or to any other contest.

Entry Fee: $1.00 per tanka, U.S. funds only. Please make checks/money orders payable to the "Tanka Society of America."

Submissions: Submit each tanka on three separate 3 x 5 inch cards, two with the tanka only (for anonymous judging), the third with the tanka and the author's name and address in the upper left-hand corner. Type or print neatly please.

Submit entries and fees to: Celia Stuart-Powles, PO Box 521084, Tulsa, OK 74152, USA

Awards: First prize: $100; Second Prize: $50; Third Prize: $25. Amount of prizes may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries are received. Winning poems will be published in Ribbons, the Tanka Society of America journal.

Adjudication: The name(s) of the judge(s) will be announced after the contest.

Rights: All rights revert to the authors after publication.

Correspondence: Unfortunately, entries cannot be returned. Please send a business size SASE for answers to queries or for a list of winning entries. For foreign entries, send a self-addressed envelope and one international reply coupon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

STOP! Haiga In Progress. DO NOT DISTURB!

Finally! I have found a decent time/energy envelope to focus back on my collage haiga. I haven't made one in well over a month: exhausting myself with poetry prompts throughout April and having nothing left to give to my hands-on artwork/play. I've been itching to get stuck into it again! And I'm very excited about my first piece back.

About a week after NaPoWriMo ended for me (which was four days later than everyone else:) an idea flooded my vision for a haiga, as I knew it would: Create the space and the creation will come. (Note: Always have pencil and Post-It notes handy!)

So I started work/play on the idea last week and have had to leave it sitting for a few days at a time as health (or rather illness) demands. But I'm in the final stage now of sticking stuff to other stuff (one of my most favourite things to do!) and then I shall place my collage haiga on my easel and stand back to delight in the full 3D effect of my original vision.

My currently empty easel

I've found haiga are the artwork/play that most often turns out better than my original idea or vision in my mind's eye. And this is the magic for me.

My writing of prose pieces never turns out the same as first thought, which doesn't usually mean that it's better or worse than the first concept, just different. But I am sometimes left with a feeling that I haven't quite created what I set out to achieve. Granted this hasn't happened for some time as I haven't done much prose work; not as in previous years. I've been concentrating more on poetry and this has been wonderful: my diary has never been so empty of appointments and so full of haiku, senryu, tanka, small stones, one-liners, inspirations, poetry, Poetry, POERTY!

With my visual art I've learned (after much struggle!) to just go with my gut and NOT my head. I may think that a poem involving blood tests or transfusions should sit on red card, and so instinctively allow my mind to override my unconscious flow and grab for the red straight away. But when I just sit for a moment I find I want to choose blue card for this one. I can't explain why, and my mind tries to fight this, puts up an argument that there is no good reason to choose blue over red, red is of course the obvious choice for this haiga!

However, my mind does NOT know best: definitely not when it comes to art anyway! So I've learnt to slow down, enjoy the process, quiet my mind, and go with what comes up without questioning.

"My Art is my Heart" February 2011
Paint, origami, transfers, stickers on stretched canvas.

Too often in the past I would complete an artwork, say a painting, and just not be satisfied by what I'd created because I could see where I had fought against a natural colour choice or natural stopping/finishing point. I had listened to my head instead of my heart/soul/spirit/unconscious.

Now I gain so much enjoyment from my art work/play and I know it's because this process of creation is one of the few times in a day that I really let my spirit have a voice, and this is vital to my well being.

The haiga I'm creating is for a senryu that's part of my collection exploring my leukaemia journey, and has been accepted for the next issue of Prune Juice. I hope to have it finished this week. Then I can sit back and wait for a new idea to pass through me and onto the page. Happy creating to you! 

"Peace is the Way of my Heart" February 2011
Paint, origami, transfers, stickers, brads on stretched canvas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Submitting To Haijinx

haijinx - putting the hai back in haiku - is where I'm submitting this week (that's week 20 of 2011) and it's my first time submitting to this online journal.

The deadline for haijinx IV:2 is May 21, 2011. Check out the 'call for submissions' details here. One of the great things about haijinx is that they accept previously published haiku, although the majority of your submission must be unpublished work. Read through the recent issue haijinx IV:1 here to get an idea of the kind of haiku, haibun, renga, renku and sumi-e they're looking for.

Special guest editor for haijinx IV:2 is Aubrie Cox who is also in the process of editing the first Women's English-Language Haiku Anthology and has just released her first haiku chapbook - tea's aftertaste. The full haijinx editorial team includes Mark Brooks (Shimi), Carmen Sterba, Alan Summers, Roberta Beary, kris moon and Melissa Allen. You can read more about them here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Lime Trees to Eucalypts: A Botany of Tanka - Call for Submissions

The Special Features section of the Atlas Poetica website is seeking submissions for a collection From Lime Trees to Eucalypts: A Botany of Tanka to be edited by Angela Leuck.

Poets are invited to send up to three tanka, but only one, if selected, will be published, in keeping with the theme and format of the features on the Atlas Poetica website. Find more information here.

Deadline for submitting is August 1, 2011. The planned publication date is September 2011. Special Features are published on an irregular schedule. All the usual guidelines for Atlas Poetica apply, you can find them here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Snapshot Press Announces International Annual Awards for Unpublished Collections of Haiku, Tanka, Short Poetry, Haibun

The Snapshot Press Book Awards

The Snapshot Press Book Awards are international annual prizes for unpublished book-length collections of haiku, tanka, short poetry and haibun.

The Award winners will have their collections published in paperback or hardback by Snapshot Press. There may be up to four Award winners each year.

Submissions are open from July 1–November 30. Full details here.

The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards are international annual prizes for unpublished short collections of haiku, tanka, short poetry and haibun.

The Award winners will have their collections published online by Snapshot Press. There may be up to eight Award winners each year. Each entrant will receive a copy of a print anthology featuring a selection of the best individual poems and haibun entered into the contest.

The deadline for submissions is July 31. Full details here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Matter of Tea - All Proceeds to Japan Quake Victims

Friend, author and fellow haijin Charles T. Whipple has put together an anthology of short stories to raise money for Japan's earthquake victims - A Matter of Tea and other stories

"This work is dedicated to the people of Japan – May they overcome the overwhelming tragedy and destruction thrust upon them March 11, 2011." Charles T. Whipple

All royalties which would normally go to the author and the publisher will go directly to help the earthquake victims. Laura Shinn, the cover artist, also donated her design and cover work for this project.

Charles T. Whipple, aka Chuck Tyrell, is on the scene in Japan and will be personally overseeing the use of these funds, as well as donating his time and labour, to aid those in such desperate need. More on Charles' blog.

Only US$1 for this ebook available in several different formats here at Smashwords or for Kindle from Amazon.

Title story "A Matter of Tea" Winner of the 2010
Oaxaca International Literature Competition

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Submitting to Prune Juice: Journal of Senryu and Kyoka

Prune Juice is an online publication appearing twice annually and edited by Liam Wilkinson. Submissions for Issue 6 are open now: deadline June 1st 2011. You can find all the submission guidelines here. Issue 6 will be published in July 2011.

My goal of submitting to a poetry journal or publication every week this year is making me seek out new avenues for publication and I'm really enjoying myself. Submitting to Prune Juice was my poetry submission for week 18 of 2011 (that's last week) and it was my first time submitting here. I was very pleased to have two senryu accepted for publication!

One of the great things about Prune Juice is that it doesn't consider poems that have appeared on social networking sites or blogs to be in the "previously published" category. This from their Submissions page:
* NOTE ON THE TERM ‘PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED’: Here at Prune Juice, we believe ‘previously published’ poems are those that have been previously selected for publication by another editor. Therefore, any work that you yourself have submitted to social networking sites, blogs and microblogs are still considered here at Prune Juice. In short, if your poem has only appeared publicly in your Twitter stream or on your personal blog, we will still consider it as we believe this is not considered as a previously published piece.

You can check out previous issues here, which are a lot of fun to read. The most recent issue has work from New Zealand's own Andre Surridge and Patricia Prime.

Prune Juice Issue 5 Winter 2011
Edited by Liam Wilkinson

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dream Speak

After a month writing poems exploring my personal mythology, I'm getting back into the rhythm this week of writing my dreams down, and returning to one in particular that I've been working on interpreting. I find doing dream work in short bursts works best for me otherwise I waste energy fighting with procrastination.

Here's a tanka I wrote about dream work for the InkSeeds prompt on Revelation during April's NaPoWriMo - read it here
And a poem from the first prompt: Recycling the First Dream - read it here. This was one of my favourite prompts as I again reconnected with the power of dreams and the significance and importance to doing dream work.
This is an earlier post about the books I use for dream work and a found poem from one of them - Receive Dreams as Messengers from Another Realm Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Check Out My Updated Website

Some exciting news for me this month is that my website has finally been updated! Many thanks to my immortal beloved, Cameron Elliot, who originally created my website in secret as one of my birthday presents nearly two years ago.

Up on the site are new links to my writing, information about what services I'm currently able to provide and poetry journal covers that have featured my photographic images (more covers coming in July and September 2011).

Do go over and take a look and let me know what you think - Kirsten's Website

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Round-Up - My First NaPoWriMo Complete!

NaPoWriMo kept me super busy over April as I followed the daily prompts at InkSeeds on personal mythology, writing a poem-a-day (PAD). I got four days behind on these prompts mid-way through due to illness, but still managed to write a poem each of the days I had off, penning a haiku from my sick-bed.

All the poems are up here at Swimming in Lines of Haiku: haiku, senryu, tanka, small stones, free verse and rhymed verse. I'm happy with all my poems (though some could do with a little fine tuning) and cherish the insights I've gained through this process.

The personal mythology prompts explored dreams, the elements, archetypes, memories - all that makes up your personal story. They're so much more than mere prompts - they're a conversation with your soul. And will be remaining up on InkSeeds: you can check out the first one here - Recycling the First Dream.

You can also read the poems other people wrote in response to the prompts on Fiona and Kaspa's Writing Our Way Home on-line community under April 2011 InkSeeds Poetry Project. Poems are still being posted and discussed here - come join us!

Here's how I'm doing on my 2011 goal of submitting poetry to a publication or competition every week:
This month saw one of my photos printed in the local paper as the Weather Spotters pic for that week. I was surprised and excited about this as it's the first time I'd ever sent a photo into the paper, and when I still hadn't heard from them months later I figured it was no good. Great to be proved wrong! You can check out the photo on my Photography page.

I also spent some time playing around with text on photos. I put a few of my previously published free verse poems onto images and think they look amazing. It's a striking way to showcase both my writing and photography on the Internet. I made a few into haiga, doing some with tanka for the first time. I use an old version of PhotoStudio as my editing software, which is limiting. So I'm going to look into downloading the free OpenSource software (as I'm already using OpenOffice as my word processing software) and see if this is easier to work with.

I'm enjoying getting more involved with my prose again. One of my articles was a Friday "Speak Out!" guest post on the WOW! Women On Writing blog - "Writing Each Day Keeps The Doctor Away". And three of my quick tips for freelance writers will be appearing in issues of Excellent Writing - an e-newsletter for writers edited by Janie Sullivan. You'll see above that I also sent her a poem as a filler, which was accepted for the May issue. My post about that here.

This month I look forward to creating some more collage-style haiga and reading and sharing haiku on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page where many people continue to write a haiku-a-day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April PAD Challenge: Personal Mythology Prompts Day Thirty - Beginnings

Poem #30

new moon -
first harvest
from the feijoa tree

Copyright © 2011 Kirsten Cliff
For the prompt used to write this poem, please go here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April PAD Challenge: Personal Mythology Prompts Day Twenty-Nine - The Fifth Element

Poem #29

words -
the way God
creates through me

Copyright © 2011 Kirsten Cliff
For the prompt used to write this poem, please go here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April PAD Challenge: Personal Mythology Prompts Day Twenty-Eight - Place

Poem #28

my soul
no longer sings
in this place
my mind & body too
seek safer shelter

Copyright © 2011 Kirsten Cliff
For the prompt used to write this poem, please go here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April PAD Challenge: Personal Mythology Prompts Day Twenty-Seven - The Shadow

Poem #27

May Day
a storm is brewing
all I can do
is keep saying "yes"
to my growing anxiety

Copyright © 2011 Kirsten Cliff
For the prompt used to write this poem, please go here.

Submissions Now Open For Kokako 15

Kokako is New Zealand's only dedicated magazine of haiku, tanka, haibun and related forms showcasing poetry from Aotearoa and around the world. It's edited by Patricia Prime and Joanna Preston, and is published twice annually, in April and September.

Submissions for the September issue close July 1st, 2011.
All work should be previously unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere. The editors ask you to please make just one submission of up to 10 pieces during each submission period to kokakonz[at]gmail[dot]com. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made after the closing date of each submission period.

Kokako 15 will feature one of my photographic images on the cover so I'm really looking forward to this issue! If you'd like to subscribe, please use the above email address to contact Pat. Cost of annual subscription is NZ$22 for two issues within New Zealand; Overseas AU$20/US$20 for two issues, posted airmail.

And don't forget to about The Sixth Kokako Haiku and Senryu Competition closing October 31st, 2011. First Prize $NZ200!