Saturday, November 8, 2014

Haiku - 111

Dr. Sandeep Chauhan Commendable Prize for Haiku
by RaedLeaf Poetry Award 2013

festival wind
the street child relights
a bottle rocket

The Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award
by 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest 2014

still pond…                     
fading from its center           
this stormy cloud 

The Honourable Mention in Second International Matsuo Basho Award 2014
by Italian Haiku Association

Peak hour . . .
a flock of sparrows pass
the evening moon

6th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest
Selected Haiku Submissions Collection, July 2014

slow day
the old topics

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Editor's Choice Tanka

the crows
 are vanishing
 at twilight
 my child stretches
 the end of play

Ramesh Anand

Such a simply delightful tanka by Ramesh Anand of India depicting a familiar scene, that I selected it as an Editor's Choice. The "crows" are vanishing at twilight", but no matter what country you live in, a child will always try to stretch out playtime. Minimal yet rhythmic in its presentation, this tanka is a little gem!
an'ya, cattails principal editor

Monday, May 12, 2014

Haiku - 110

on the lake wrinkled face of wind

street sleepers mist

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prize Winning Tanka

Excerpt from 2014 Diogen Tanka Winners.rtf by M.Kei, 25th Feb 2014, USA/SAD.

The poems I selected offered fresh images, or new ways of writing about established ideas. (Is it possible to say anything new about love?) The winners all contain what in English we call ‘multivalence’ or ‘dreaming room.’ In other words, a deliberate ambiguity that invites the reader to contemplate the poem and summon up multiple thoughts that reflect their own experience. The reader expands the meaning like ripples expanding outward from the pebble of the poem.

3rd Place Ramesh Anand, Indija / India

snow on snow
to a colleague's remark
on my shirt
should i even tell him about me
sharing with my father?

The ‘snow on snow’ is a metaphor for how the poet feels when a coworker comments on the imperfection of his shirt. We know his shirt is marred because he wouldn’t feel sensitive about it and his colleague wouldn’t have noticed if all were well.
Since the son has a job, perhaps his unemployed father has moved in with him. That he must lend his father a shirt suitable for work suggests that his father is job-hunting, but something very serious must have happened for him to be without suitable clothes of his own. That the poet hesitates to tell his coworker suggests that his father has suffered a blamable misfortune; that is to say, that the colleague may think that his father (and perhaps the poet himself), have done something to deserve the disaster.

In this poem we see the narrator confronting a painful and very real moment in his life. Tanka is best when it comes to grips with the world as it is, rather than putting on rose-colored glasses to view the world through a haze of softening romanticism.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Kala Ramesh : In Conversation

Indian music being extempore in nature, has taught Kala Ramesh to think within and without the box — to be creative, daring and innovative and still adhere to the demands of an art form. Kala is keen to see children and adults in India take to haiku and its genres. In the last two years, she has conducted nearly 50 workshops and has had 90 hours of teaching haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka and renku to the under graduate students at Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Pune.

Kala Ramesh
Noted Indian English Short Forms Poet

Ramesh Anand: What are the different types of short poems you write?
Kala Ramesh: I started with haiku and in a week’s time began to write tanka, haibun, senryu, one-line haiku and even tried zip haiku. In November 2005 Norman Darlington introduced me to renku and we composed a Triparshva in India’s six seasons, which was published in Simply Haiku in summer issue 2006, Vol4:No2. After that I’ve taken part in many renku led by John Carley. John Carley was a pleasure to have as a sabaki [lead poet]. He knew so much about renku and the link and shift that is employed in renku. All these works are published in reputed journals.

RA: Why did you choose Japanese short forms over several other forms of poetry as your specialness?
KR: Sheer accident. My passion, from the time I can remember, was to become an Indian classical musician. I come from a family of writers – my mother is a Tamil poet, my siblings - two sisters and one brother, are all such good writers that I totally kept away from any sort of writing. My father, age 93, is still a practicing doctor and has written his life story with the help of my brother.

As late as October 2004, I began to write short articles and essays on Indian music. Before that, all I remember writing were school leave notes and debates for my two children. Nothing more! My brother did mention the existence of a type of poetry called ‘haiku’ as early as 1998, when we were seriously discussing Hindu philosophy, but that passed me by like an autumn breeze.

I again came upon haiku accidentally through an Indian poetry online site – - on 14th of January 2005. Down loaded their five lessons on haiku and started to write. Since I was then into serious classical music [as a vocalist], I tried writing haiku, all based on music without any connection to nature. Blissfully unaware of haiku's subtle nuances, I began to submit my work within a week. Every rejection made me look at my work through the editor’s eyes, and I think that helped a lot.

RA: Briefly tell us about your entry into global publications in short forms?
KR: My first submission was to Robert Wilson of Simply Haiku. He patiently pointed out to me that haiku have to have seasonal references and suggested that I study this genre more.  I sent him a second batch, two days later, which was promptly rejected. And, by that time I had happened to read a tanka. I dashed off some 21 tanka to Michael McClintock, editor of Simply Haiku on 31st January, all based on our visit to Kashid beach on the Arabian sea and was truly surprised to receive an email from Michael. The one he had chosen was:

I look at the blue sea
and the blue sky
in wonder . . .
gently they turn
into night

He said that if I could give him four more tanka as “strong” as this, then he would make a set for me in Simply Haiku. I was stupefied! This, according to me was my weakest, the rest of the tanka in my submission were ‘bejewelled’ with heavy words and complicated thoughts . . . In the end, nine of my tanka were chosen for the summer issue of Simply Haiku 05. A beginner’s luck, as they call it!

And then Stanford M. Forrester of Bottle Rockets published my first haiku in Fall 05, in the autumn issue of Simply Haiku, Robert Wilson showcased my work in “Haiku and Indian Music” and in Spring 06, I won The Heron’s Nest Award . The Mainichi Daily News picked up several of my haiku, and my tanka began to be accepted by Ribbons, Modern English Tanka, and other journals. Contemporary Haibun online and Simply Haiku published my haibun. Alan Pizarelli encouraged my writing and picked many of my senryu for Simply Haiku, around that time.

RA: Who were the prominent Indian short forms poets during your entry into global publications?
KR: Angelee Deodhar of course. I contacted her when I was just 10 days into haiku. She introduced me to K Ramesh. I invited K Ramesh to my Hindustani vocal concert held at a  woman’s association, Chennai, in February 2005. I met Johannes Manjrekar at the first Haiku Festival I conducted at Pune in December 2006, sponsored by The Pune Municipal Corporation. All three were there much before me and I greatly admire their work.

RA: Who are the prominent short forms poets in India today?
KR: Haiku in India is blooming. I think she’s soon going to be a force to reckon with in the world haiku scenario, for sure. There are too many brilliant haiku poets now for me to enumerate and I wish you all great success and joy on the haiku path. Even the youngsters are doing very well now. Special mention has to be made about the students who took the 2 day intensive haiku course at the Katha Utsav on 28 & 29th of December at Delhi, 2013, an initiative of Katha and CBSE to get children into creative writing. Some of the participant’s haiku have been published by the well known haiku poet, an’ya in Cattails – a haiku and tanka journal.

RA: Please share with us the honours you have won in short form poetry along with the honoured poems.
KR:  I used to enter contests the first two years, and then stopped it completely. It was too cumbersome to take a print out of our poems, then send them abroad with the money etc. I now enter contests only if they are free and they allow email submissions.

The awards and prizes I’ve won are:


mountain bridge —
           I pass through
the clouds

First place: The 5th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai 2007


spring breeze —
I catch the tune
she leaves behind

Heron's Nest Award – v8n2. Summer 2006
First runner-up in The Heron's Nest Reader's Awards - Volume VIII – 2006
big sky –The Red Moon Anthology of English language Haiku 2006
Tiny words - April - 2007
Winner – Snapshot Press Calendar Contest 2009


howling wind —
an autumn note within
the bamboo flute

The James W Hackett/BHS Annual International Award for Haiku – 07
Highly commended


receding wave…
crab holes breathe
the milky way

Honourable Mention 13th Mainichi Haiku Contest 2009


Devi temple . . .
along with the ants
I enter barefoot

2nd place in kukai - Sketchbook – May 2008


full moon
a glowing taj mahal
on river Yamuna

Third Prize, Mainichi Daily News Annual Selection 2008


lotus leaf...
a water droplet rolls
the moon

Honourable Mention, Mainichi Daily News Annual Selection 2008


sudden rains -
     bringing to life
the child in me

Honourable Mention, 14th Mainichi Haiku Contest 2010


where are the hills
that mount the horizon up . . . ?
this hammering rain

Honourable Mention, 16th Mainichi Haiku Contest 2012


sunset . . .
the cuckoo repeats
his morning song

The Heron’s Nest - Volume IX, Number 4: December, 2007.
Winner – Snapshot Press Calendar Contest 2009


the year passes . . .
longing for cranes
to colour the sky

Acorn #20, March 08
Winner – Snapshot Press Calendar Contest 2009


if I'd had
just this one bridge to cross . . .
cherry blossom park

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Sakura Award - 2011


weathered field—
slowly coming to terms
with my aborted child

Shintai ( New Style ) The Ten Best , Third Prize
World Haiku Review Volume 6 issue 3 May 2008

liquid sky . . .
a steel bucket hits
the well water

Notes from the Gean - Issue #4, , March 2010.
FAVOURITE HAIKU chosen by Jane Reichhold, spring 2012


London morning dew —
fumes through my nostrils and mouth
like an Eastern dragon

Mainichi Daily News 1st Jan 07
World Haiku Club showcase: Haiku (#87) 05/01/07

new year’s eve
all that I could have left
unsaid . . .

Moonset, the newspaper
Featured haijin – moonset, spring/summer issue 08

wild violets . . .
      he finally agrees
to the path I took

Winner: Potpourri Haiku Desk Calendar December 2012, India

the struggle to get a lily to stay in water after all

Roadrunner Haiku Journal – 10.3 October 2010
Roadrunner’s Best Ten: 2010


how little
I know of bird calls
distant thunder

The Akita International Haiku Award, First prize September 2013
The Second Japan-Russia Haiku Contest

Kala’s  book titled “Haiku” brought out by Katha in December 2010 was awarded the Honourable Mention for Best Book for Children: The Haiku Society of America’s Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards, 2011


Winner: The Snapshot Press eChapbook Award 2012 (UK) for the collection of her tanka poems “the unseen arc”. It should be go online by spring 2014.

the split-second
flash of a hawk's swoop
I wait
for the sky to return
to its own blue

Mandy’s Pages - Inaugural Tanka Fest 2013 (Certificate of Merit)


Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2012 (Japan). An (Cottage) Prize for the haibun: The Blue Jacaranda


Our Rengay [Tracy Koretsky, Garry Gay and Kala Ramesh] "The Last Word" won the first place, along with the prize money of $100 in the 2011 HPNC Rengay Contest, USA.

RA: Tell us about your experience in teaching haiku for children in India.
KR: Absolutely wonderful! At present I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. Children take to haiku like fish takes to water. I’m sometime stupefied, amazed at the quality of their haiku, that for days on end I don’t ever attempt to write any haiku, for whatever I write doesn’t seem even half as fresh as theirs!

All said and done it’s a very big challenge and commitment, for the participants in their enthusiasm send me dozens of haiku for my *opinion and feedback*. It gets tough. So I keep reminding them of my favourite quote of the month, make it quote of the year: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.” – Ernest Hemingway.

RA: Thank You Kala for this wonderful interview. It is evident that you are a poet’s poet – absolutely one of a kind.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Haiku - 109

festival wind
the street child relights
a bottle rocket

Sandip Chauhan's Commendable Prize for short poetry, Raedleaf Poetry Award 2013.

the grasshopper -
children eyes

Third Prize, DIOGEN's Best Autumn Haiku 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Haiku - 108

warm wind
the neighbor tosses back
the fallen apple

short twilight
the dog circles
its burrow