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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I created this book Christmas tree for Elliot Books and I'm so stoked with how it turned out. Oh, and before I forget - here is the December page of the haiku calendar I did with my husband for this year. (click to enlarge)

Haiku first published in The Heron's Nest Volume XV, Number 2 (June 2013)

Well, it's been a crazy year with lots of twists + turns. And for those that haven't caught up - I stepped down as editor of the haikai section of the NZPS magazine. Onwards to 2015.

I wish you all the best for a safe + happy holiday season, and a creative new year ahead. Blessings!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November Calendar Page

Here's the current page of the 2014 calendar my husband and I did for our family. (Click on image to see enlarged view.)

thoughts of home
the air sharp
with sea salt
I didn't think I'd get a calendar done this year, but even with all that's gone on these last several months the itch to create one was still strong. So glad I did it, and my family members that have already seen it are loving it. I hope you've been inspired to create some of your own Christmas presents this year, in whatever form that takes. Maybe even pop a haiku in a card, or two. Enjoy! :-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

My latest venture: Elliot Books

My husband, Cameron Elliot and I, have teamed up to create Elliot Books. And we're super excited!

Yes, we dreamed of owning a bookstore (many booklovers have, eh?). This probably started when I was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, and many hours spent in hospital were whisked away on dreams such as these. In the end we decided that doing it online was the way for us, and so here we are.

That's right, we're operating 24/7 through New Zealand's Trade Me. To find us just type elliotbooks into the search line, making sure you have the category set to 'Members', and there you'll find our listings for your perusal. We currently have over 800 listings, and over 1,000 books with fresh listings every week. Well, almost every day, actually - we're pretty obsessed!

Once you've found us you can save elliotbooks as a favourite trader. This way you'll receive all our latest listings right into your email inbox. Once on our listings page just hit the 'Save this seller' button (circled in red in the picture below), and you're all set.

To search our listings, go to the elliotbooks page then type the author, book name, or subject you're looking for in the search line and hit enter (circled in red in the picture below). This will filter our listings and hopefully you'll find what you're looking for. If not, please just ask! We might be able to help. :-)

I've also set up a Facebook page for Elliot Books so please do connect up with us there: www.facebook.com/elliotbooks
It's so good to be home and be launching our dream. Cameron and I hope to connect up with you soon. Happy book hunting!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spolight on Christine L. Villa

Friend and fellow haiku poet Chrissi Villa, is doing so many great things in the writing world right now that I wanted to share them with you. Here she is wearing one of my "Trust me, I'm a haiku poet" t-shirts, which you can buy from my online store Haiku On - www.cafepress.com/haikuon


Frameless Sky is the first haiga and tanka art video journal, which was dreamed up, and is edited by, Christine L. Villa. It brings haiku and tanka poets together with visual artists and musicians. Chrissi has created a demo of the journal on the site so you can see how it will be. It's amazing! Submissions for the first issue close at the end of this month. There is also a competition on the site called 'Take the Challenge'. Read about that here.


Chrissi has recently published two children's stories, both of which you can find at her author site here: http://christinevilla.weebly.com/ The first is a DVD - The Eskalets. I have a copy of this and can't wait to show it to the little ones in my life. The story follows four Robbins from birth to first flight, and includes true-to-life photos, video clips, and music background. The second I haven't read yet - The Magic Paintbrush - but it looks and sounds delightful. Both are available through Creatspace and Amazon. Great Christmas gifts - yes, it's getting to that time already. :-)

You might notice that my Facebook profile pic is of this cover at the moment. That's because Chrissi is generously giving away a copy of The Magic Paintbrush, and you're in the draw if you've changed your pic. Thanks, Chrissi! I hope you'll take a look at her work. You're sure to come away inspired.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tan-renga: Seánan Forbes & Kirsten Cliff


bearing winter on its back —
a silent crow

I add my ex's name
into the spell check


cicadas’ cries
the sharp names
of lost loves

a phlebotomist asks
if I'm prone to fainting


saying goodnight
when I mean goodbye . . .
Hunger Moon

condensation beads
on the cake's icing

Seánan Forbes
Kirsten Cliff
Kokako 21 (September 2014)


Saturday, September 20, 2014


Yes, almost! Our house is almost ready and we hope to move back in next weekend. Wow, what a long 5+ months it has been since what hubby and I called home was severely storm damaged. Now it's all fresh, clean and new and I can't wait to settle in to our country retreat once again.

Here's the September 2014 page from the calendar hubby and I did together for our family last year. Looking forward to getting back to this!

(Click on image to see an enlarged view.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Number 2 of 3 Haiku in Pulse Magazine

Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine -
Take a look around the issue at this link: https://pulsevoices.org/

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Calendar Page

August 2014 - Calendar of Haiku & Photography by Kirsten Cliff
Can't wait to get back to this! Looks like it will be September at this stage. Doing my best to hang in there. (Click on image to see an enlarged view.)

Here's a pic from my birthday: Hubby made me a 'Happy Birthday' sign in Spanish. :-)

The t-shirt was one I purchased with some birthday money, and I was so pleased it arrived in time for me to wear it on the 31st. As well as being a rockin' tee (I love Frida Kahlo!), it was my way of giving a little on my birthday. It's a Shave for Cure supporter t-shirt designed by WORLD, and $17.50 from the sale went to Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand. Yay!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

For My Birthday . . . Give A Little

The last few years here on my blog I've done some sort of giveaway for my birthday. This year I'm encouraging you to pay it forward, and below are some of the deserving causes that are close to my heart at the moment:

During my 4+ months of inpatient chemotherapy for APML leukaemia I had countless transfusions of blood and platelets. They literally helped save my life, from day one of my diagnosis, in March 2010. So please, if you are willing and able, do go and give blood at your local centre. You can find out more about giving blood in New Zealand here.

For those of you unable to give blood for health reasons (like me!) or are just squeamish at the thought, please consider a monetary donation to one (or both!) of the below fundraising projects:

Firstly, emerging writer and fellow sufferer of ME/CFS (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) is raising money to go to London to collect her well deserved prize. Anna Sjardin-Killick (of Annie Blackberry Jewellery) has not once, but twice, won the Write Your Own Christie competition by writing two winning chapters for this worldwide contest, where entrants submit a chapter for an Agatha Christie-style book. You can read more about it on Anna's blog here: http://dreamingwithagatha.wordpress.com/

As Anna says on her write-up:

Through 16 years of illness I have seen many dreams die. One of my dreams has now come true: I have won an Agatha Christie writing competition. An even bigger dream? To meet Agatha Christie's grandson, Mathew, at a special dinner in London.

After years of chronic illness myself (plus cancer!) I can totally relate to Anna's story. I wish her all the best for following her dream all the way to London where she should take her place at the winners' dinner with Agatha Christie's grandson, Mathew, and the publishers. I know she has almost reached her fundraising goal, and I hope this will help boost her over the line.

Support a fellow writer in her success. Anna is certainly a generous soul herself doing giveaways of her jewellery all the time through Facebook, of which I was one of the lucky winners last year.

Donations to Help Anna Meet Mathew can be made here: https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/helpannameetmathew

The second fundraising event that I want to draw your attention to is for a Habitat For Humanity house building project in Fiji. This time last year I had just returned home from Fiji having spent a wonderful six days on Castaway Island for my brother's wedding. (You can read my post about it, complete with haiku and photos, here.)

During the trip from the airport to the island resort, I got to see the less fortunate places of those living in Fiji, and I've always thought that I wanted to give something back. Also, with what's happened to my home this year, the Habitat For Humanity cause seemed a perfect fit.

So please join me in donating to Nicola, on behalf of Habitat For Humanity New Zealand, who is going with a team to Fiji in September to help build a house for a family there. Donations are being collected here: https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/NicolaFiji

givealittle.co.nz provides Zero fees fundraising for New Zealand, thanks to the Telecom Foundation. 100% of what you donate gets through to your cause on Givealittle. I hope you can help! :-) It's a great way to celebrate my birthday.
rising wind
my worries drift out
to the horizon
May you let yours do the same. ~Kirsten Cliff

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Roofless: 3+ months on . . .

July 2014 - Photo & Haiku by Kirsten Cliff
Here I am finally writing a post for my birthday month of July. I was really hoping that hubby and I would be back home by the 31st, but it's not to be. Thankfully I have lots of good news to share . . .

Firstly, a remission milestone: I found out last week that I've been downgraded from three-monthly clinic visits to six-monthly. That is progress, folks! Still monthly blood counts, and a special blood test every three months for molecular studies. But all in all I'm moving further away from cancer. Phew!

As to the progress on my home: we now not only have a new roof, but all the internal walls and ceilings have been erected, as well as some parts of the flooring that needed repair. It's all looking much more like a house now, instead of a barren womb.

I'm told that plasterers are starting this week (that may be "Gibb-rockers or stoppers" to some of you not in NZ). After that it will be internal and external painters, kitchen and carpet installers, plumbers and electricians. Such a big job - I'm so glad I'm not the one organising it all!

The good news includes our contents claim being settled in full, too. All that the insurers said they would repair they have; all they said that they'd replace they have; the rest has been paid out to us to buy the things we need. So yes, you guessed it - I plan to shop it up on my birthday tomorrow! :-)

Many of my fellow poets have their birthdays in July, and here I'll just mention a few. Margaret Dornaus invited poets to write a moon haiku or tanka in celebration of her birthday. You can read the results on her blog here. And Chrissi Villa is asking poets to join in her birthday fun by writing a poem for her inspired by the music that you'll find at the top of her blog here. There will be prizes - find out more about it on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/704682542937953/

It was also my late Granddad's birthday on July 10th. I wrote this tanka during the summer, the last months of his life:

the call that says
he’s gone …
two petals left
on the last poppy

A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Wow, a month since I've posted here. That's how exhausted, strained, stressed and busy I've been. But things are looking up. Decisions are being made. I'm writing again, and submitting again. Have just started a summer kasen with two other poets and am looking forward to working and playing my way through that process. Collaboration is good for my soul.

we speak of God
in whispers . . .
my ache for touch bathed
in the music of his eyes

Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)
My haiku journal, which I also used for recording all manner of creative thoughts and ideas, was thoroughly soaked when a big storm left my home open to the elements this Easter. Mid-week I went in search of a new journal, and after 5 shops I finally found the journal that spoke to me.
Having a beautiful journal is not necessary for writing, but lots of the nice things we have we don't need, but they inspire us. The smallest things can bring joy. I hope you find a haiku / writing / creative dreaming journal that speaks to you. Maybe it's one of the ones that I created to help bring a little joy into this world. View them here in my online shop, Haiku On: http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon/11141019
June - winter for New Zealand, and being mid-year, a good time to take stock of where one is at. Through Facebook I'm participating in a month of daily "Abundance is . . ." (fill in the blank) to shine light on things I'm grateful for and to notice the abundance all around me. A haiku and two tanka of mine came out in A Hundred Gourds this month. I'd completely forgotten about them with everything that's been going on, so it was a nice surprise to find my work amongst the pages. And of course, there's the calendar of haiku and photography that I did with my hubby this year, for friends and family. Below is the June  2014 page, by Cameron Elliot:
Haiku & Photo by Cameron Elliot

Friday, May 23, 2014


Here's a photo that shows the current state of our home: Me standing in my study saying hello to my husband who's standing in his study . . .

where does
the pain go
when I can't feel it
a lilac sunset     soft
on the year's first day
Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)
I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the insurance claim stuff that needs doing: phone calls, decisions to make, information to send through, things to pick up or drop off. But everyone is being very kind and helpful. And I hear the roof is going on today, which is more than enough to be grateful for! :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Things are coming together . . .

The house: the architect's plans for the new, reinforced roof of our home were sent through to me this week, and have been sent to council for the required building permit. Also, the house has been gutted - all the walls, ceiling, kitchen, carpets, etc., have been ripped out, and will eventually be replaced once the new roof is on and the building is watertight. It's so good to know that things are continuing on over there in Matamata while hubby and I make another day-to-day life for ourselves in Te Awamutu.

A photo I took from my study last August of the peacocks that roam our country property.

I have no need
of all these peacocks
to teach me how to cry
last night I felt you
in my arms at last
Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)

The manuscript: my haiku and tanka manuscript did not place in the Snapshot Press Book Awards, but I'm very excited to say that it is now being read by another publisher. Happy, happy, joy, joy! :-)

The store: my online shop Haiku On has taken a backseat for a while now, but today I released a new t.shirt design that I'm really excited about - "What's my sport? Haiku!" This is with thanks to friend and haiku poet Margaret Beverland, who told me about a conversation she had along these lines with fellow haiku poets, and her husband! The bestselling tee "Trust me, I'm a haiku poet" is still available, as well as some beautiful haiku journals, and much more. Come over and take a look at http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon

Brand new t.shirt design at Haiku On available now! http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Situ

Here is the May page of the calendar of haiku and photography that I did with my husband. I've taken a photo of it 'in situ' at our new, long-term temporary accommodation, which we moved into on May 1st. It's so great to have our own place again, even if we don't know for how long we will be living here. And "here" is Kihikihi, Te Awamutu in my brother's recently vacated house, and not far from the support of my parents.

Haiku & Photograph by Cameron Elliot (haiku first published in Kokako)
duck flight
this grey stump
no longer unnoticed
As far as our Matamata home goes, things are starting to move along. Plans are being drawn up by an architect for a new roof - one that can stand the high winds we catch up on our Hobbit hill. The place is being stripped out - carpets, plaster board, etc. - and then remodelling and decoration will begin from there. I miss the beautiful views of mountain and sky, the ducks laughing away at this time of year, and the places I know so well. Time to make some new memories. :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Updates: Haiku, Tanka Prose, House . . .

The first of three of my haiku appears in Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine this week. You can check it out on the site here and take a look around the rest of the issue while you're there. Submission information can be found here (scroll to the bottom for haiku).

I'm currently racing to meet a May 1st deadline for a commentary I'm writing on my tanka prose, The Taste on My Tongue, first published in Skylark. I usually don't leave things until the last minute, but I had been busy for the past six weeks and knew I had time to do this in the last two weeks of April. Then the roof came off, and here I am. The piece is for Haibun Today and will hopefully include reactions re its meaning from those that have since read it. You can read the tanka prose in question here and send me your thoughts by email here. I can't guarantee that what you send me will end up in my article. But if you'd like to be part of it then please send it through by the end of Monday 28th. I'd love to read your response! :-)

Last but not least, an update on my home. Well, we made it to page 3 of the regional newspaper, Waikato Times, as well as our local Matamata Chronicle. Read the web version here, complete with pic. The insurance assessor has been through both our home and contents claims and we're waiting to hear back. Meanwhile hubby and I are still living at my parents, but hope to move into more long-term temporary accommodation next week. It could be months before we get home, and there ain't no poetry coming to me yet . . .