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!