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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Most Days . . .

           I feel like
           a walking pharmacy
           most days . . .
           the seasons change, and yet
           my drug regime stays the same

Atlas Poetica, December 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Decemeber Haiku Share: The Week That Was #4

The last full week of Cara Holman's December Haiku Share is complete, and we're now on the home stretch. Below are the links to the last seven days of posts, and the haiku, tanka and haiga I've shared along the way. Now that the Christmas rush is over, come and join in for the last few days! You'll find a supportive community of folks sharing their love of haiku and related forms. (Here's the link to the latest prompt - afternoon fog)

storm clouds . . .
can hope be caught
in a spider’s web?
– Kirsten Cliff
NaHaiWriMo August 2012

she advises
I’m at high risk
of a relapse
I breathe in air heavy
with crushed dreams
– Kirsten Cliff
Moonbathing 6, January 2012

first spring day this breeze her hair
– Kirsten Cliff
DailyHaiku Cycle 12, Dec. 12, 2011

he creates
a new centrepiece
for the dining table
a size nine shoebox
full of medications
– Kirsten Cliff
Presence #44, June 2011

on the morning
of her death, I sit
for the small differences
between these wild finches
– Kirsten Cliff
~for Svetlana Marisova
Simply Haiku, January 2012

(click on image to enlarge)

– Kirsten Cliff  
Notes From the Gean, 3:2, September 2011

dragon fire . . .
the way he moves me
this night
– Kirsten Cliff
The Language of Dragons, January 2012
(Yay Words! project edited by Aubrie Cox)

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Fool's Paradise of Free Holiday Reading

electric blue
beds are burning
like a virgin

“Electric Blue” by Icehouse
“Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil
“Like A Virgin” by Madonna

Above is my short found poem from song titles that was published in Aubrie Cox's latest Yay Words! project, Fool's Paradise. You can find out all about it and download your free copy here. Enjoy!

Fool's Paradise cover by editor Aubrie Cox

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

O, Christmas Tree . . .

My heartfelt thanks to all this year in the world of haiku who have supported me over the past 12 months. Sending happy Christmas thoughts your way today!

To my readers, those that have left comments, and the poets that I've written alongside: Thank you!

To the editors that have published my work, the judges that have chosen my poetry, and those in the community that have sent me gifts through our haiku inspired friendships: Thank you!

Here's our little living Christmas tree 2012

May we all remember moving forward into a New Year that haiku is not a mountain to climb, but a bed to relax in.

My wish for you is that you'll be able to write the way you hear the poetry in your heart.

Christmas morning
 amongst the pine needles
a spider's gift

Kirsten x

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Decemeber Haiku Share: The Week That Was #3

Another week of Cara Holman's December Haiku Share has past and more participants have joined us in this unique challenge. Below are the links to the last seven days of posts, and the haiku, tanka and haiga I've shared along the way. Come over and take a look! (Here's the link to the latest prompt - garden spider)

spring tide . . .
a layer of dust
on the condom packet
– Kirsten Cliff
DailyHaiku, Cycle 12, December 16, 2011
Sea Bandits, September 2012 (Ed. Aubrie Cox)

the night he left . . . 
the many sounds
of summer rain
– Kirsten Cliff
DailyHaiku Cycle 12, November 2, 2011

i finally have
my head shaved
– Kirsten Cliff
‘All the Words that Mean Cancer’ rengay sequence 
with Cara Holman, LYNX 27:3 (October 2012)

one side of the rose
has no petals:
hoping he’ll return,
I keep to my half
of the bed
– Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 13, September 2010

hailstorm . . .
three red petals left
to scent this rose
– Kirsten Cliff
Caribbean Kigo Kukai, September 2012

no mail today
a taste of woodsmoke
on the wind
– Kirsten Cliff
From ‘Between the Birdsong’ (with Cara Holman)
LYNX 27:3, October 2012

(click on image to enlarge)

Appeared on Angie Werren’s blog as part of her 
National Poetry Month ‘Couplets’ posts, April 2012.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Decemeber Haiku Share: The Week That Was #2

The second week of Cara Holman's December Haiku Share has finished and it's still going strong. Below are the links to the last seven days of posts, and the haiku and tanka I've shared along the way. Yes, that's right--tanka too! Come on over and share your previously published works, or write something new if inspiration hits you. You'll find a group of poets who care about haiku and tanka, enjoy reading it and commenting on it when they do. (Here's the link to the latest prompt - blue eucalyptus)

cold moon
still the weight of her baby
in my arms
Kirsten Cliff
DailyHaiku, Cycle 12, January 27, 2012

he weeds
between the gravestones
– Kirsten Cliff
Moonset 6:1 2010

in that deepest green . . .
the mountain alone
has left its imprint
on my psyche
– Kirsten Cliff
‘Forever Home’ tanka sequence with Margaret Dornaus, LYNX 27:3, October 2012
see this link for the image that inspired the tanka

*waka taua –
paua eyes reflect
the afternoon midges
– Kirsten Cliff
the taste of nashi: New Zealand Haiku (Windrift, 2008)
Bay News, Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Waiariki Institute of Technology 2010 Calendar
*Waka Taua is a Maori war canoe.

winter afternoon
one empty space
in the library carpark
– Kirsten Cliff
Honorable Mention, Haiku International Association 2009 Haiku Contest

thinking of you –
the light
on a paua shell
– Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 10 (April 2009)
Waiariki Institute of Technology 2010 Calendar

for today
I have this one wish
not to feel
like I’ll always carry
that scared little girl
– Kirsten Cliff
Presence #44 (June 2011)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Moving Day

                    on moving day
                    do I take my memories
                    of you away . . .
                    or leave them to rest
                    in this blackbird's spring nest

moving day . . .
inside this matchbox
a cicada shell

DailyHaiku Cycle 12 (January 24, 2012)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Puzzle of Poetry

I'm pleased to say that I have begun playing with the puzzle that is my first poetry collection, Patient Property. I've been writing for this collection since being diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2010, and it's only recently that my treatment has finally come to a conclusion. That's a lot of experiences to draw on!

At this stage all the relevant haiku, senryu, tanka, and haibun I've written over the past 2+ years is printed out and blue-tacked onto the back of my study door. From there I'm working out in what order the poems should appear, what stays and what goes, and if there are any gaps in my story for which new works need to be written.

Having never done this before, I can tell you it's a challenging job; though no bigger a task than I had expected it would be. I think I'll be a good few months working my way through the ups and downs of this process. I'm very grateful that a few fellow poets have already put their hands up to be early readers.

In the meantime (and long before my book sees the world!) will be my appearance in A New Resonance 8: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku. I'm very excited to have my haiku chosen for this volume, which will see a sizable body of my work published in one place for the first time. Many thanks to editors Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, and all those who have supported my haiku habit over the past six years!

Now I just have to get over the small shock I feel every time I close my study door and am suddenly confronted with a wall of poetry! How is it that I keep forgetting it's there . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mindful Writing Challenge January 2013

Fiona and Kaspa are once again hosting their small stone writing challenge in January. The Mindful Writing Challenge 2013 (formerly River of Stones) is all about noticing something each day and writing it down. I'll be doing it, as will many others around the world. I hope you'll join us! :)

Here's a small stone to get things started:

above the mountain
a cloud that looks
like a mountain

You'll find many more examples on Fiona's A Handful of Stones blog-zine. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hortensia Anderson Memorial Haiku Competition

The 1st “aha” (Annual Hortensia Anderson) 

Memorial Haiku Awards Competition 2013

This Memorial Haiku Competition is to honour the memory of well known and respected New York based haiku poet, Hortensia Anderson. Sponsored by Haiku Oregon. Find all the details here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Decemeber Haiku Share: The Week That Was #1

The first week of Cara Holman's December Haiku Share has finished. Below are the links to the seven days of posts, and the haiku I have shared each day. I hope you enjoy reading all the haiku as much as I have been, and maybe you'll come and join us this week! (Here's the link to the latest prompt - night sky)

coming home
to an empty house
so many stars
Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 12, April 2010
evolution: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Press, 2011)

from an evening cloud
the mountain
Kirsten Cliff
the taste of nashi: New Zealand Haiku (Windrift, 2008)
Bay News, Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Waiariki Institute of Technology 2010 Calendar

drifting fog
where does the dream end
and I begin
Kirsten Cliff
“Dream Catcher” rengay with Cara Holman, Fox Dreams, April 2012 (edited by Aubrie Cox of Yay Words)

after love-making
a single candle
– Kirsten Cliff
paper wasp 17:3 (October 2011)

summer again
the dress I wore
to hospital
– Kirsten Cliff
‘All the Words that Mean Cancer’ rengay sequence with Cara Holman, LYNX 27:3 (October 2012)

as I begin to sing
in my head
the sparrows scatter
Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 9, September 2008
Waiariki Institute of Technology 2010 Calendar

fallen blossoms –
loading empty beehives
on the truck
Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 8, April 2008

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Books on My 'To Buy' List . . .

In no particular order:

Forgiving the Rain by Lynne Rees (haibun) http://www.snapshotpress.co.uk/

twelve moons by Claire Everett

breakfast with epiphanies by Owen Bullock (haiku) http://owenbullock.com/haiku.html

In the Garden of Absence by Stella Pierides (haiku)

Friday, December 7, 2012


My poetry has appeared in five anthologies this year, which is a record for me. I thought I'd do a round up of them here as part of my end of year review, with thanks to all the editors who've published my work in 2012:

I have one haiku in The Heron's Nest, Volume XIII 2011, which is a collection of all the haiku from all the issues of The Heron's Nest that appeared on-line in 2011. This was my first time appearing in this annual anthology, and, to date, is the only haiku I've ever had published in The Heron's Nest. Copies can be bought from this link (either cheques to the postal address, or scroll to the bottom of the page for a PayPal option). You can read my haiku here.

Three of my tanka were chosen for the final volume of Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume 4. Again, this was my first time appearing in a Take Five anthology, and I'm honoured that my work was chosen from the eighteen thousand tanka read by the editorial team. You can purchase a copy here, or through Amazon. Read the tanka of mine that are included here.

A Blackbird Sings: a book of short poems is the second anthology to come from the River of Stones January small stone challenge (now renamed Mindful Writing Challenge for 2013-- Join us!). I have two small stones in this collection, which can be read here. You can buy a copy in print or Kindle from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

When one of my haiku won a Highly Commended placing in this years New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Competition I automatically made it into the annual anthology, Building a time machine. It was a bonus to have another haiku chosen for the collection by the editor. Read my two haiku here, and purchase your own copy here.

Last but not least, is the Haiku News Anthology 2009-2011, which is a collection of haiku, senryu and tanka chosen from the first three years of this unique on-line newspaper. I have one haiku in the collection that you can read here. Copies can be bought from here.

I can recommend all of these anthologies as Christmas gifts for yourself or the creative people in your life. My work is but a small part of these fine collections that comprise some of the best that short form poetry has to offer. Get into it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Peacocks and Dandelions

Here are two of the pages I made for my 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography that didn't make it into the final cut . . .

Click on image to enlarge.

I think this is the first image I put together when starting out planning for my 2013 calendar. I really like this combination, but in the end I couldn't find the right place for it. The haiku above was first published as a one-liner on DailyHaiku here. Our neighbours are horse breeders and have peacocks roaming amongst their fields. We don't see them as much as we'd like, but we hear them making their distinct call, more especially in summer. Hubby found this peacock feather on our property not long after we'd moved in. I first photographed it for a tanka that I wrote for Hortensia Anderson, in memoriam (you can read that post here).

Click on image to enlarge.

This would have been another summer page, but in the end, I created ones that I liked better. This photo was taken on our property after my husband alerted me to the butterfly. The fence is between us and a cow paddock, and the cows often push through the fence, shifting these posts, to get to our grass. The haiku first appeared on DailyHaiku here. I first paired this photo with another haiku that I'd written as part of a rengay with Cara Holman, "The Scent of Pine". You can view the post here.

I look forward to sharing the pages that comprise my 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography here beginning January 2013! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Crafty Christmas

Christmas cards: an angel cut-out from Christmas music (click to enlarge)

Here are two crafty gifts I've made for my family this Christmas,
along with my 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography.

Reindeer Christmas tree ornaments for the kids

Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas haiku-style on 
Gillena Cox's blog Lunch Break from  
Tuesday, December 25 to Saturday, January 5
where she invites you to collaborate for the fifth year running.

I'm hoping to share in Gillena's Christmas story for the first time.
It would be great if you joined me! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Band Names + Song Titles + Poetry =

. . . Aubrie Cox's new challenge, of course! Over at her blog Yay Words! she's looking for short found poems using song titles, band names and the like. See all the guidelines here. Deadline is Thursday, 20th December, after which she'll put out one of her brilliant pdf books for us all to gush over. :)

Here's one of her examples:

dante’s prayer
lost in the echo
wild mountain thyme

“Dante’s Prayer” – Loreena McKennitt
“Lost in the Echo” – Linkin Park
“Wild Mountain Thyme” by Sarah Calderwood

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Happy Haiku Holiday Season . . .

December 2012 - Kirsten's Calendar of Haiku & Photography

The end of the year is upon us and it's time for me to look back and see if my ideas for 2012 came to fruition. My poetic leanings for this year were to:
  • Make haiku and tanka a part of my everyday life -- I've certainly done this with having my own haiku calendar on my kitchen wall this year, the December page of which you see above. (See the pages for each month of 2012 at my side-bar link Kirsten's 2012 Calendar of Haiku & Photography.) I've created a second calendar for 2013 with all new photos and haiku, which I look forward to my family seeing for the first time come Christmas; and of course, having it on my own wall for the year. I also wrote haiku in cards this year, and made cards with haiku on them, giving them to family and friends. And I added haiku to the odd email or other message here and there, when I felt it might be appreciated. You can also read the post I did for New Zealand's National Poetry Day here about how I get my daily dose of haiku.
  • Write more linked haiku and tanka verse -- Yes! All up this year I wrote 13 rengay with Cara Holman, all of which have been published, and three of which have been submitted to the rengay anthology. I had never written rengay before this and have found it very inspiring and enjoyable. I also wrote one rengay with Aubrie Cox, which was published in Kokako, and has been submitted to the rengay anthology as well. Mid-year I was part of a group that wrote a junicho; most of us for the first time. This was quite a different process to writing rengay, and a steep learning curve, but definitely something I would try again. The result of our efforts "Cold Sun" is in the December issue of A Hundred Gourds. Last, but not least, I wrote a tanka sequence with Margaret Dornaus, which was published in LYNX. This was another rewarding experience, and another first for me. We hope to write more together in the future.
  • Write more haibun and tanka prose -- I wrote the most of these forms in a year than I ever had, and read a lot too! I decided that two of my haibun were worthy of polishing up and presenting to editors, and gratefully both were accepted; one in Kokako and one in Contemporary Haibun Online. Tanka prose I found a bit trickier and only in the last few weeks have I finalised two that I think are of a publishable standard. The first has been accepted to Haibun Today, and I'm waiting on news for the second. Needless to say I'm super pleased with my efforts and definitely want to keep writing more. I'm still interested in writing a poetic memoir in this fashion, although I'm keen to write it about a different time in my life than I'd originally conceived. Watch this space!

I did lots of other things in haiku-land for the first time, too, this year, like participating in kukai, judging a competition, and collaborating on photo-haiga. It's all made for a well rounded year of fun and challenges and learning and friendships. I'm looking forward to more! :)

There is a lot I'm interested in pursuing next year: collaborations of all kinds, finalising putting my first collection together, and entering the most haiku and tanka competitions I ever have in 12 months!

What will actually happen?

I don't know, because what I do know is that I can't do it all. I'm actually only a few submissions away this year from having done, what would work out as, one submission a week (which I did as a minimum in 2011). My coffers are running low. So it's a big period of concentrated writing that is needed right now. See you soon...

Here's to a happy haiku holiday season to all my readers!

May you eat, drink, write and be merry. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Share a Haiku-a-Day for December

Cara Holman has come up with a great haiku sharing event on her blog Prose Posies for this month. As she points out, there's many haiku out there that we miss seeing because there is so much to read, or maybe it was published before our time, or in a journal in a country far from our own.

What Cara is inviting us to do is to share a haiku each day in the comments section of her blog that relates in some way to the haiku she posts each day. Easy peasy, and heaps of fun. Get into it folks! Here's the first post (sign up to her blog and receive her posts directly to your email inbox).

a stranger in the crowd
that looks like you
blue mist

Cara Holman
(Shiki Kigo Kukai, November 2012)

coming home
to an empty house
so many stars

Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 12, April 2010
evolution: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku
(Red Moon Press, 2011)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cold Sun junicho

The first junicho I've participated in creating is now online in the new issue of A Hundred Gourds. You can view the whole piece here, and click on 'next renku' at the bottom of the page to read the Tomegaki for Cold Sun by our sabaki Sandra Simpson. My main contribution was the hokku, which also gave the junicho its title, and is considered an honoured position.

We started writing this at the NZ haiku conference in June where Jim Kacian was our distinguished guest and presenter of two Masterclasses. Jim was also a participant in the junicho. You can read a full write up of the Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012, including Jim's workshops, in the fearture Sandra has written for AHG here.

Enjoy our junicho, and the rest of the December issue of AHG! :)