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, December 31, 2013

The Edge of Hope: A tanka sequence with Seánan Forbes

The Edge of Hope
by Seánan Forbes, UK/USA
and Kirsten Cliff, New Zealand
in the fringes of my dreams
Mare Marginis
my evening meditations
on the edge of hope

falling again
down this hand-dug well
on the edge of hope
I recite lines of poetry
without moving my lips

circling your garden
I speak of love 
without moving my lips
I lift your name
to the gods

my fears
push against this ritual
to the gods
I pledge my truth
with the scent of myrrh

autumn leaf-song
we sketch memories
with the scent of myrrh
old dreams
become new vows 

Published in Skylark 1:2, Winter 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Still Heading Out

Still Heading Out: An anthology of Australian and New Zealand haiku edited by Jacqui Murray and Katherine Samuelowicz is out now!

How excited I was to receive this so close to Christmas.

still heading out
telling my track
by the Southern Cross

John Knight (1935-2012) 

This landmark publication marks a unique collaboration to honour the memory and legacy of paper wasp co-founder, the late John Knight, who had many friends on both sides of what is known affectionately as 'The Ditch'. Its is available for $A20 in Australia and New Zealand and for $US20 elsewhere in the world. Contact via email Jacqui Murray or Katherine Samuelowicz.

After the joint Australian and New Zealand tanka anthology this year, 100 Tanka by 100 Poets, it is so good to have a haiku version, and it's now on top of my reading pile!

Everyone has a generous selection of haiku represented, and I'm loving the short bio's, too. Get your copy today and read the best of what Down Under haiku has to offer. Enjoy! :-)

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Chosen One

I am delighted (especially after a terrible migraine yesterday) to find out that one of my haiku has been chosen for the 2013 Red Moon Anthology, which collects the best English-language haiku published each year and puts them together in book form.

true north
the eucalyptus sheds
a length of bark 

I haven't had any haiku chosen for this annual anthology since 2010, when the below appeared within its pages:

coming home
to an empty house
so many stars

First published in Kokako 12 (April 2010) 

But between 2010 and 2013 I was lucky enough to have work represented in other anthologies that also strive to gather the best haikai published in that calendar year.

2012 saw my haibun 'hair ties' appear in Contemporary Haibun 14, and in 2011 three of my tanka were honoured to be amongst those in the forth and final volume of the Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka series. 

So I'm travelling well, and in good company. Let's see what 2014 brings . . .

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Detour: A tanka sequence with Pamela A. Babusci

The Detour

A Tanka Sequence
by:  Kirsten Cliff, NZ
& Pamela A. Babusci, USA

a breakfast
of pills & cold toast
out the hospital window
this world i used to know
passing me by

who am i
trapped in this body
invaded with cancer?
looking at the infinity of stars
i touch the hand of grace

still unsure
of how long this ordeal

will last . . .
the stories i tell myself
between waves of nausea

losing all my hair
from chemo... 
more humility & compassion
on my life's journey


a new awareness
of my inner strength—
free in the wind
these Tibetan prayer flags
frayed, but full of colour

Kirsten Cliff is a Leukaemia cancer survivor   
& Pamela A. Babusci is an Ovarian cancer survivor

Published in Skylark 1:2, Winter 2013

You can now download a FREE copy of Skylark 1:1, Summer 2013 here. This tanka journal edited by Claire Everett is hands-down my favourite thing on the haikai scene. Have a read for yourself! :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

With A Little Help From Nature . . .

Nearly four years ago I found these:

What I assume are seed pods, under some trees in a lovely park in Tokoroa. I'd never seen them before and collected about 10 of them. All this time they've been sitting in a draw on my craft table waiting to be turned into something.

Four are now:

Christmas tree decorations for my nieces and nephews. I speckled them with white glitter for that dusting-of-snow look, then placed a red or green heart or star in the centre. Add a ribbon for hanging and I've created something truly unique. But I didn't stop there.

With these decorations being on the fragile side I decided to make them each a box with the letter of its recipient on the top. I hope Toby, Sadie, Rāwhiti and Te Hiranga enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them! :-)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Buttons for Christmas

Don't ask me where it came from, but this year I was inspired to make Christmas cards with buttons! As you can see below, my family will be getting green Christmas trees decorated with coloured wooden buttons on their cards this year. :-)

The pink and lime green one is especially for my brother and his new wife, Jess. She told me that she decorates her tree in a different combination of colours each year and that 2013 was lime green and pink, so I've done a card as close a possible for her to match. I hope they like it! (click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Writing My Way into 2014

Just two days ago I posted that I didn't have any writing goals or plans for 2014, and that I'd just wait and see where poetry took me. Well the Universe has provided . . .

Yesterday I was invited to take up a place as Writer-in-Residence at the New Pacific Studio Artists' Residency Centre in the Wairarapa (NZ) for one or more weeks. I'm so very excited to be offered this new opportunity.

And what an honour to be invited! A writer's residency is something I've dreamed of doing for years. Now I just have to figure out how I can make it work for me, as the residency is only partly subsidised.

I do have a project idea in mind, so am seriously considering my options over the next few weeks. And maybe my poetry will pay its way there . . .

This week I decided to take the plunge and offer my 2014 desk calendar up for sale to the New Zealand haiku community. This calendar is separate from the one I've made (with my hubby) for my family as Christmas gifts this year.

For my desk calendar of haiku and photography I've used some of my favourites from 2013 and added many new haiku and photo combinations to create a year of beautiful haiku moments. I'm delighted to write that I already have orders totalling 10 calendars, with still a few days left for folks to order, and I'm feeling great about this result.

I put myself out there and so far, so good. At least quite a few people out there in Kiwi land will have my haiku calendar on their desks in 2014, and that is a truly wonderful thought!

Photos of my Christmas cards coming soon . . .

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Daze

Things have gotten hectic this month. Even if you're not a big Christmas person you certainly can't help but get caught up in the rush of others as they proceed to shop, celebrate, and ready themselves for the big day. All this extra buzz and busyness makes things like supermarket parking difficult and appointments for haircuts hard to come by, even in a small country town!

So you'll find me at home making some Christmas cards for family and putting the finishing touches on my 2014 calendar of haiku and photography, which I invited my hubby to be a part of this year. We have six months each and it's pretty cool to have our two styles represented within the pages for our family to enjoy.

Below is my last calendar page for 2013. Click on image to enlarge.

I achieved some big things this year: the biggest of all being completing my first poetry collection and sending it in to the Snapshot Press Book Awards. It will be a long few months yet before I hear anything back about the contest, but it's exciting enough to have fulfilled my goal and the rest is out of my hands for now. 

Another big highlight of my writing year was being part of A New Resonance 8: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Press). I still have copies of this for sale, so please get in touch if you'd like one to give as a Christmas gift to yourself or to someone else. Just send me an email.

2013 also included writing tanka sequences with Pamela A. Babusci and Seánan Forbes (a delight); judging the junior section of the NZPS International Haiku Competition (great fun); coming 5th in the open section of the NZPS International Haiku Competition (yay!), and editing a month of dream haiku thanks to The Haiku Foundation's 'Per Diem:Daily Haiku' feature. Hard to believe it's all coming to an end . . .

So, what does 2014 hold? In regards to the writing realm I'm not sure, but stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kia kaha!

For all those who are struggling but continue to fight on . . .

just out of town
beside the railway track
this one poppy

Monday, November 18, 2013

Given an ordinary stone . . .

The New Zealand Poetry Society 2013 Anthology, Given an ordinary stone, edited by Owen Bullock, was launched over the weekend in Wellington. You can order your copy here.

The anthology includes the winning poems from the NZPS International Competitions, including the Haiku Junior Section I judged, as well as other poems and haiku selected by the author from the remaining entries.

This year I won 5th Prize in the Open Haiku Section, judged by Nola Borrell, with:

drifting evensong
pine needles cloistered
in fresh snow

This appears in the book, along with my Commended placing:

full morning moon
cows chew their way
through the fog

I look forward to receiving my copy and reading all the poems from 2013! I'm sure it will be an inspiration. :-)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dark Days

knowing that haiku
are all around me
but these dark days
I'm just too lost
to find them

                        A Hundred Gourds 2:4 September 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ten Years Tanka

ten years too late
I've translated the Italian
he wrote me that Christmas
I await your presence
in Soave soon . .

                        A Hundred Gourds 2:4 September 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My November Calendar Page

(click on image to enlarge)
This shot was taken about this time last year just down the road from where I live. The haiku appeared in The Heron's Nest volume XV, number 1 (March 2013). Love this page! :-)

You can find other pages from my 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography here, and the 2012 one here. Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mindful Writing Day 2013 -- my small stone

with the weight of the day I find my mind has crumbled
somewhere, the wail of a peacock, the clock's tick
and a dream awaits it's place in my journal

A FREE gift: The latest anthology of small stones, A Blackbird Sings, will be free on kindle on the 1st and 2nd of November.

Find out about Mindful Writing Day and small stones, brought to you by Satya Robyn. You can post your small stone here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Now This

spring festival--
in this belly dancer's hips
a new blessing

first outing
in my wheelchair
even the cats give way

Two of my haiku from Now This: Contemporary Poems of Renewals, Beginnings and Firsts (ed. Robert Epstein, 2013).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Now on Twitter!

I've been finding my way around Twitter for a few weeks now. It's fun! You can find me @KirstenCliff. There's lots of #haiku and #tanka to read, and I've enjoyed connecting up with poets that aren't on Facebook. If you're on Twitter then look me up. If you're not, then come and join me! :-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

100 Tanka by 100 Poets

Cover & inside art by Ron Moss

Yesterday I received my copy of 100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia & New Zealand. It's beautiful!

My tanka included in this fine collection is:

planning out wedding
in the hospital chapel
while I have chemo
I am not dying
but a part of me is

Published in Presence #44 and Take Five vol 4

 It was also mentioned in the introduction by Kiyoko Ogawa (co-editor 2010-2011 Poerty Nippon 1967-2011) who wrote:

"Kirsten Cliff's tanka of 'our wedding / in the hospital chapel' sounds sad, yet her shadowed love must be all the more pure and profound."

This fine collection is edited by Amelia Fieldon and Beverley George of Australia and Pat Prime of New Zealand.

Reading through the tanka last night I was blown away. So good, so moving, so delicate. I'm over the moon to be included within the pages. And dare I say that tanka is edging ahead of haiku as my first love . . .

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Thirty-five and still I travel as I did when I was a child. Head pressed against the cool of the window trying to ward off the carsickness rising within. Asking Dad to stop the car when things threatened to boil over. Mum having to give up her right to the front seat for my spot in the back. Watching the world swerve by in a mess of green as my forehead bumps lightly on the glass. Twirling my hair between finger and thumb, something my husband says I still do when tired. And what I used to do while sucking my thumb for comfort not so many years ago. 

this forgotten shoe
at the path's end 

Contemporary Haiku Online October 2013, vol 9, no 3

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Damaged goods

When you have a car accident (although emergency services don't believe in accidents, so they call them car crashes) if the damage to your vehicle is greater than its perceived worth, then it is written off. As I drain my savings account, and that of my parents, seeking to fix what is broken within me, I wonder: is my damage greater than my perceived worth? Maybe nothing is ever an accident . . . 

low moon
the drive home
in silence 

Contemporary Haiku Online October 2013, vol 9, no 3

Friday, October 4, 2013


first drought --
I make an altar
of this tree stump

I wrote this haiku in New Zealand's summer months, and during the first drought my hubby and I had experienced on our rural property. I entered it in the Svetlana Marisova Memorial Kukai 2013 as I thought it encompassed the theme of atonement, or rather "at-one-ment" as Sveta was reported to have pronounced it. You can read the other haiku entered on her blog, and see the results of the voting soon, here.

My tree stump altar is a bit overgrown and cobwebbed now -- I haven't paid much attention to it over winter. But my hubby did write this haiku about it a few months ago, which was published in Kokako 19:

her wooden altar
crowned, just now
by a blackbird

              Cameron Elliot

The blackbirds are singing beautifully these spring days as they prepare their nests, or bring food to their young. We also have a magpie clan in the 30m gum tree near our house, so are experiencing the magical sounds they make on a daily basis. And for the first time we have swallows making a nest under the eaves of our home. These uniquely shaped birds have always swooped and sawed close to the house, even sometimes coming through the house from the back french doors to the front ranch slider. I hope they enjoy living with us for this season. One thing's for sure: there will be haiku written about them. :-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October's in the Air

October page: 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography (click to enlarge)

See other pages from my 2013 calendar here and my 2012 calendar here. It really is time to start on 2014 . . .

Monday, September 30, 2013

NZPS Feature Article for September: Collaborative Poetry

Inspiration through Collaboration
by Kirsten Cliff

I never thought I'd need a prompt to get me writing. I always seemed to have new ideas, and could easily draw from what was happening around me. Then some dark days arrived – cancer, mostly – and it seemed that the act of writing got harder. I was writing less. Maybe that was okay? But being generally uninspired in my play with words did not feel good. So when a haiku friend (who'd also survived cancer) asked if I wanted to write with her, I welcomed the opportunity to expand my writing world.

Cara Holman and I started writing rengay together: a modern form of linked haiku verse. I found that writing to the prompt of her haiku lead me to write poetry that I wouldn't have penned otherwise. On really hard days – when the chemotherapy was stripping me bare – collaborating was what helped me get out of bed in the morning. Why? Because I knew that the next link in the poem would be waiting in my email inbox.

I quickly became excited about writing again. I was inspired in a way I hadn't been before. My writing was taken in new directions. It was still my writing voice, but it was brought to life through the links of my poetry with Cara's. I got instant feedback on my work, often in the form of her next haiku verse. This was highly positive as it meant I had inspired my writing partner, too. We were on a roll.

The Scent of Pine
Cara Holman & Kirsten Cliff

evening sky
the moon cradled
in the ginkgo's branches

the scratch of pencil
on paper

hushed dawn
bird tracks
in the snow

fallen fence post
counting out pills
for the day

a hawk scatters
the flock of starlings

cloud cover
the scent of pine
from the wood pile

Our first two rengay, “The Scent of Pine” and “Turning a Corner”, were quickly accepted for publication, appearing in the on-line journal A Hundred Gourds (June 2013). Over the course of that year we wrote 13 rengay together, including four on our joint experiences of cancer, and all were well received by editors. Every time we completed a rengay, we'd start another. It was addictive. And so much fun!

Then I got the itch to try a tanka sequence and asked another writing friend, Margaret Dornaus, if she'd like to work with me. We quickly found a subject we could both get stuck into: our overseas travels. We took inspiration from photos of our journeys abroad, and wrote our first sequence of tanka linked by that travel bug. Margaret and I have since written together several times and I find her feedback invaluable. I'm learning all the time in this world of poetry and she is one of my teachers.

So the positives of collaboration continued, and the desire to do more never waned. After each project I'd feel the need for a break – it was time to return to my own writing. But these 'breaks' never lasted long. My hunger for this new type of inspiration would rapidly grow, and before I knew it I'd be emailing a friend with a new idea for a rengay or tanka sequence. I soon grew bolder and began asking others to write with me. I've now written with six different people.

Lost & Found
Margaret Dornaus & Kirsten Cliff

crossing the river
into this new year, alone
I stop
to look at every turn
before I carry on

first dream of the year
diagnosing her pain
as leukaemia . . .
could I find the strength
to do it over again

on the bench
at the foot of her bed
a clutch of tissues . . .
abandoned like the words
she can no longer recall

I hear her say
she's lost the will to live . . .
the waves
keep on cresting
keep on breaking

winter fog—
the lighthouse steps
we climb
to see whatever
we might see

all day long
the peacock's cry
once again
I fail to listen
to my intuition

Part of a tanka sequence published in LYNX (March 2013)

Experimentation was part of the joy. Cara and I played with the rengay form creating what we called 'rengay sequences': four rengay linked together. This developed from that drive to keep writing with one another, and wanting to explore all avenues of a particular theme. Now I'm breaking new ground with Seánan Forbes: we are writing tanka sequences using repeating lines. This occurred the first time naturally when I was so inspired by Seánan's starting tanka verse that I wanted to use one of her lines in my linking tanka. It can be quite a challenge to use your writing partner's first line as your third line, for example, but, once again, I can't seem to say no!

A very different experience was my first time writing face-to-face, and as part of a group, at the June 2012 Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Tauranga. It was a session filled with laughter, and where I realised I wasn't too good at writing haiku under pressure! Sandra Simpson lead ten of us in writing a junicho: a longer and stricter form of Japanese linked haiku verse. It was also a 'competitive' write, which meant that we all contributed verses for each new spot, and Sandra choose the one that linked best. Although this began in real-time, it was completed on-line, which gave me more space to become inspired by the preceding verse. The experience of working face-to-face in a group setting is one I would definitely repeat, though. After all, it is how linked verses were traditionally written in Japan.

I've since gone on to create collaborative haiga (putting haiku with a photographic image) with two of my haiku friends. I was also part of Ruth Arnison's 'Poems in the Waiting Room' fundraiser, which saw the haiku of North Island poets paired with South Island artists. In this collaboration I was a silent partner, but was excited by the artists' interpretations of my haiku. I look forward to future collaborations with other people outside the world of haiku, as well as those within it.

First published in a fine line, The Magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society (September 2013); reprinted at NorthWrite

Saturday, September 28, 2013

NeverEnding Story: Last Call for Haiku/Tanka Submissions

NeverEnding Story: Cool Announcement: Last Call for Haiku/Tanka Submi...: My Dear Fellow Poets: This is the last call for haiku/tanka submissions. The accepted haiku/tanka will be translated into Chinese and posted on NeverEnding Story and Twitter. Click on link above to follow post . . .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hubby and Haiku

I use Grammarly for online proofreading because although my husband, Cameron Elliot, is a self professed geek in these matters, he isn't always right! So it's great to have a more reliable back-up at my finger tips.

We met at the local writer's group, and aren't the first to have found more than friendship there. But apparently we are the only couple writing and publishing haiku in New Zealand. 

Here I share some of my hubby's 'ku on the month of our fifth year since falling in love . . .

busy road 
the rest
of this seagull 

Kokako 15 (September 2011)

city centre
the footpath swerves
around two silver birches 

Commended, NZPS International Haiku Competition 2009; moments in the whirlwind (NZPS Anthology 2009)

treatment ends
the sky yields
a burst of rain

Oh, and he doesn't like me using the word 'hubby' (or geek for that matter -- he prefers nerd) but this is my blog so I win! :-)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This Little Haiku Poet Went To Market . . .

Here's a photo of me by my stall at The Little Vintage Markets in Mount Maunganui yesterday.

I didn't sell any of my haiku cards, but I did sell several of my handmade Christmas cards, and some other goodies, making the day a happy success.

Thanks to my friends and family who came by to say hello and offer support. It was much appreciated! :-) Now for the next market...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Of Summer's Past . . .

return journey --
I fill my sunhat
with ripe tomatoes

Kokako 19 (September 2013)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Persistent Rain

bone marrow biopsy --
through my internal tears
a doctor talks
of the persistent rain
on his summer holiday

Kokako 19 (September 2013)

Thankfully all my treatments (and related procedures!) for leukaemia ended a year ago this month. Although I'm still considered high risk, a label that will stay with me for life, I have remained in remission for three years now, so all is looking good. I have also finally completed my collection of haiku and tanka that explore my journey through this experience. It is now with some very generous readers, and then I hope to enter it in the Snapshot Press Book Awards.

My work has just come out in Kokako, A Hundred Gourds and A Fine Line. I've recently had work accepted for Skylark, Presence and Contemporary Haibun Online. And have submitted work to The Heron's Nest, A Hundred Gourds, and the Australia-New Zealand Haiku Anthology. Now I'm getting my entry ready for the Kokako Haiku and Senryu Competition, as well as making haiku cards to take to the fair. Collaborations are still continuing, with Seanan Forbes writing haiku and tanka for some of my photos from Fiji. Never a dull moment!

Don't forget about the Svetlana Marisova Memorial Kukai 2013 (closing September 14th), which marks two years since Sveta's passing from cancer.

from a dream --
on my lips
I find the word

*Maori for with love/deep affection
RIP Svetlana Marisova

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Somehow I knew about them before I arrived in Japan. But I was beginning to realise it was the small ones that I should be wary of. The big ugly black ones, that you could clearly see inching along the roadside, were much too heavy to scurry up surfaces. The charming little red ones however, would suddenly appear on the wall behind the customer you were with. I would jerk and point, though only my fellow foreigners seemed to cringe at the shocking sight.

godless month . . .
I dream of riding a horse
into my childhood home,
all the family waiting
and expectant

We foreign girls started sleeping with the light on. It seemed the only solution. I was not going to lie in that top bunk with red cockroaches running around my head. Japan was not going to beat me. I needed the money, and anyway, I wanted to hide from real life for a while.

between snowfalls . . .
I wasn't meant to
find a love like this,
my slight resistance
not lost beneath languages

A Hundred Gourds 2:3, June 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Month of Dreams has Begun!

Finally September is here and so my month of Per Diem haiku has started over at The Haiku Foundation website. You can read my introduction to "Dream Speak" here, and view the first haiku on the home page here, which will change every 24 hours.

(click on image to enlarge)
Above is the September page of my calendar. The picture is taken from the end of the road where I live. A busy first of the month with my mum's 65th birthday today, and also Father's Day in New Zealand. I hope your September 1st contained some haiku, some good laughs, and some yummy food, just like mine did! :-)

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm Going to the Fair!

Next month I'm joining my sister for a stall at The Little Vintage Markets in Mount Maunganui, and I'm so excited!

On my table there'll be books, of course! Including vintage children's books -- great for sharing the stories you grew up reading, with your kids. Also, these beautiful vintage books sets -- an alternative way to add colour and character to your home.

Above is my 'display only' set -- a rich green with exquisite gold detail. I'm searching out more vibrant colours -- blues, reds and greens -- over the next couple of weeks that I can fashion into these little clutches. (Hubby won't let me take any from the many shelves in our home, no matter how enthusiastic I am, and no matter how supportive he is of my ventures!) I hope people agree that they'd be a wonderful addition to any home decor -- a celebration of the written word!

I'll also be selling my handcrafted cards. As I've recently given away so many with the A New Resonance 8 books (email me to buy your copy) it's time to get stuck into creating more. Some will be haiku cards:

Both of these have a vintage-style embroidered butterfly, with the first line of the haiku hand-stamped on the front, and the remaining lines inside.

holding my breath
the butterfly lands
on her finger

the taste of nashi: New Zealand Haiku (Windrift, 2008)

between breaths
following the white
of this butterfly

The Heron's Nest 15:2 (June, 2013)

Others will feature text and images from vintage books. I love collecting old boy and girl annuals as they are fabulous for finding cool bits and pieces for cards. Below is an unfinished one where I've cut a bird from sheet music, and have paired it with a few lines from a trinket book, The Little Book of Gems:

And even more cards will have origami hearts and cranes on the fronts. This is my idea of fun at the moment. (Click on any of the images to see an enlarged view.) I hope you'll come to see me at the fair in a few weeks if you're passing by the Tauranga area.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Call for Submissions: Australia-New Zealand Haiku Anthology

In honour of the late John Knight, Paper Wasp is producing a joint trans-Tasman haiku anthology, open to residents of Australia and New Zealand, as well as Australians and New Zealanders living in other parts of the world.

Send up to 10 haiku, published or unpublished with a cheque for $A10 or $A10 in cash. That amount will then be deducted from orders for the final cost (including postage and handling) of the anthology. Poets must also include brief biographical notes to a maximum of 50 words, as well as publication and/or prize details of previously published haiku. Paper Wasp reserves the right to make selections for the anthology based on established conventions of merit.

Go here for details of where to send your submissions. Deadline: October 20. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku Competitions 2013 Results

In June I was the competition judge for the junior section of the New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku Competition. I had a great time doing this job. You can read about it and find out the results here.

Then last month I found out I'd won fifth place in the adult section of the competition. Yay! Great to have finally cracked the top five of my home country's major haiku contest. I was lucky enough to also receive a commended placing. You can read the full judge's report by Nola Borrell here.

My congratulations to all the winners! Next on the New Zealand haiku calendar is the 7th Kokako Haiku & Senryu Competition. Find out all you need to know here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy National Poetry Day New Zealand!

That's right, today is New Zealand's Poetry Day.

How will you be celebrating?

Check out this link to find an event in your area.

I'm pleased to announce that I have finally finished putting my poetry collection together this month, and that is certainly something to celebrate! As I write, my manuscript is being read by three generous and talented poet friends so I can get some feedback before moving forward.

While we're all waiting to see my collection come out in book form (it will happen!) why not check out A New Resonance 8: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, which I featured in this year with my biggest ever crop of haiku in one publication: 15. It's almost like having a chapbook, in an anthology with 16 other chapbooks! :-)

You can read the first New Zealand review here, written by Tony Beyer. He writes of my work . . .

"Kirsten Cliff's characteristic sensitivity is demonstrated throughout her contribution:

wind gusts--
the letter was not
meant for me

Nature and human nature, co-dependant in our existence, operate in harmony through her lines. She stands up well in this international company and richly deserves the wider audience her inclusion in A New Resonance should bring her."

I have for sale copies of A New Resonance 8 (Eds. Dee Evetts & Jim Kacian, Red Moon Press 2013). If you'd like your copy signed by me, sent from Hobbiton, and with one of my handcrafted cards as a free gift to you for your support, then please contact me here. I'd love to hear from you!

Me beside the "Welcome to Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand" sign in my hometown. (click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fiji Wedding

Last month I spent a wonderful six days on Fiji's Castaway Island with my family for my brother's wedding. Here's a photo of the happy couple . . .

Fiji wedding--
between their vows
the sound of waves

At the wedding reception there were quiz cards, which they had devised to encourage mingling. I was so pleased to see that one of the questions was: Who is a recognised poetry judge? Answer: Kirsten Cliff :-)

Me with my brother Cameron after the wedding ceremony.

I love to swim and so enjoyed the beautiful blue ocean and warm weather away from New Zealand's winter. I swam with the fishes, without having to worry about jelly fish! I also saw the coral reef in a glass-bottomed boat.

It was cool exploring the rock-pools when the tide went out, something I remember doing as a child. I saw crabs, sea snails, and the striking blue starfish that is the symbol of Castaway Island.

And the sunsets!

I also had some wonderful meals, including a traditional Fijian feast complete with entertainment. All in all a fabulous holiday, and an emotional time seeing my brother get married. I would definitely go back, but doubt that's happening any time soon! Maybe I'll make a Fiji calendar for my family for 2014, though . . .

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"A" is for August and Apple and Art

I thought it was about time I posted some more of my calendar pages. August is below:

(click on image to enlarge)

My 2013 calendar of haiku and photography was created by me for my family. You can see all the pages to date on this new page: Kirsten's 2013 Calendar of Haiku & Photography

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Winner of the "A New Resonance 8" Book Draw is . . .

Carole Harrison

Congratulations, Carole! A copy of A New Resonance 8 will be on its way to you soon, along with one of my handcrafted cards.

Here's one of Carole's haibun created during the month:

Day 17

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go." ~Hermann Hesse

murrumbidgee -
a submerged log letting go
of the morning

Note: Murrumbidgee, a large river in SE Australia

Thanks to everyone who took part in I Quote, You 'Ku this July. Your support of my month-long project is much appreciated, and I hope you enjoyed taking part. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday. :-)

If you'd like to buy your own copy of A New Resonace 8: Emerging Voice in English-Language Haiku (Eds. Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, Red Moon Press 2013) then please drop me a line. Read the first New Zealand review here.

FYI: All the 52 names of poets who posted went into the online tool 'Pick a Winner!' from which one was randomly selected.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 31

The taste
    of rain
Why kneel?

~Jack Kerouac 

Something a little different today, on my birthday. Above is my favourite haiku, which I wrote about here. You can either write a haiku response to today's "quote" or, seeing as it is a haiku, you can choose to write the prose portion of the haibun. It's up to you. Have fun! I look forward to reading your responses.

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 30

"To begin writing haiku, and to make progress to any significant extent, requires two gifts: the ability to be alert to the subtleties of sensory or psychological experience (i.e. to notice things); and a sensitivity to the subtleties of language (i.e. to be able to express things). However it isn't necessary to know that you possess these gifts before beginning to write: the gifts are very often revealed – and developed – in the writing. The haiku path is an unfolding process of discovery , and the only magic words of access are the words of each haiku that you read and write. If there is some special or exceptional condition called 'haiku mind' then I, for one, don't have it. As far as I'm concerned, there are as many haiku minds as there are readers and writers of haiku."

~Martin Lucas, Stepping Stones: a way into haiku

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 29

“The only reason for wanting to be a writer is because you love doing it. All the rest is confetti.”

~Susan Hill

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 28

“The richer our sensory environment and the greater our freedom to explore it, the more intricate will be the patterns for learning, thought and creativity.”

~Carla Hannaford 

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 27

“The idea that memory is linear is nonsense. What we have in our heads is a collection of frames. As to time itself – can it be linear when all these snatches of other presents exist at once in your mind? A very elusive and tricky concept, time.”

~Penelope Lively

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 26

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about."


Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 25

"Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart." 

~Ancient Indian Proverb

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 24

"If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced."

~Vincent Van Gogh

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Quote, You 'Ku - Day 23

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~Maya Angelou

Your challenge is to write a haiku or tanka (or choose one of your previously published works) that has a connection with the themes/feelings/images of the above quote, without just restating what has appeared in the text, to create a haibun. Play around with it and see what you come up with. Enjoy!

Click here for the first post on how I Quote, You 'Ku works. Every poet who posts a poem this month will be entered into the draw to win a copy of A New Resonance 8.