History of Haiku in SA


In the late 1980's Martina Taeker began giving workshops and classes in writing haiku. Martina had lived in Japan and published her work in several Japanese haiku group journals and Yomiyuri, so she had a good understanding of the essence of haiku and the requirements for writing this genre. On her return to Australia, she published work in Australian specialist journals such as Yellow Moon.

Martina’s workshops appear to have been the only haiku instruction or activity available in SA until 2008, although a few individuals, who had come to writing haiku by other pathways, such as information and forums on the Internet, were composing haiku and publishing in journals such as Yellow Moon, paper wasp and FreeXpression.

Such South Australian poets included, from at least 2002: Martina Taeker, Alma Thorsteinsen of Mt Gambier and Anne Drew of Whyalla, Lynette Arden, Bett Angel-Stawarz and Belinda Broughton.

In 2002, the Newland Gallery in Port Adelaide held an exhibition of sculpture, ceramics, and glass, called Red and White, which had haiku poems on the walls as wall pieces. (Information from Belinda Broughton, who took part).

Lynette Arden completed the Beginner's course at World Haiku Club in 2003, with international and Australian mentors: Andja Petrovic (an’ya), Sue Mill, Alison Williams and Kirsty Karkow. She then took part in online forums Haiku Hut and AHA forums. Her haiku have been published in Australian and international journals and in her collection of poetry A Pause in the Conversation, in New Poets 15 (Friendly St Poets and Wakefield Press 2010).

Bett Angel Stawarz first wrote haiku at school in 1967 and then after a long gap started writing haiku again around 2005. She had funding from the Arts Council for a mentorship with Janice Bostok. Subsequently, she has worked with the AHA forum and had her haiku published in many international and Australian journals.

Martina Taeker was appointed the first South Australian Regional Representative of the Australian Haiku Society in 2006. In July of that year, she conducted a Winter Ginko in the Art Gallery of South Australia and in September a workshop on haiku organized by Friendly Street poets.

In 2007 Dawn Colsey won the Kaji Aso Studio "Remembrance" Poetry Contest 2007 Haibun Award, Boston USA. Dawn is a regular reader at Friendly Street Poets, a member of the Kensington & Norwood Writers Group, and belongs to Women Writing at Sophia, a feminist ecumenical women's centre. She was first introduced to haibun at a workshop run at the South Australian Writers Centre in September 2006 by SA Regional Representative Martina Taeker.

In 2008, Friendly Street Poets held two haiku workshops led by Martina Taeker and ran a competition for haiku, haibun and haiku sequence. Maeve Archibald donated the prize money, as an attempt to give greater prominence to haiku in South Australia. The contest drew together the writers of haiku in SA and interstate contestants in the haibun and haiku sequence sections. They held competitions in several subsequent years, with workshops run by Martina Taeker prior to the competition.

During the 2008 prize night at Friendly St poets, several winners held a ginko, to assess what interest there might be in forming a haiku group, in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on 13 September. Twelve poets attended, including Martina Taeker, Lynette Arden, Maeve Archibald, Belinda Broughton, Margaret Fensom and Allison Millcock.

Following this, we scheduled a further ginko for November in the Himeji Gardens. Nine poets attended that ginko. The group sought an indoor venue, so it could include workshops and other activities in a program of activities and they held the first meeting at the SA Writers Centre in April 2009. Lynette Arden took on the role of coordination for organizing meetings and lodging reports to HaikuOz and Alex Ask became the Treasurer of the group.

In November 2008, Martina Taeker ran a haiku stall at the Matsuri on Mobara festival of City of Salisbury Council. Examples of haiga were displayed and Gathering: Japanese poetry by South Australian poets, a small collection compiled and produced by Martina was offered for sale. This contained haiku, haibun, and tanka by South Australian poets writing in Japanese genres: Martina Taeker, Lynette Arden, Belinda Broughton, and Dawn Colsey. Some of this work had been previously published in a wide range of publications: FreeXpression, World Haiku Club Review, Mainichi Daily News: haiku in English, paper wasp, The Mozzie, Writers on Parade, Famous Reporter, frogpond, Poetrix, Presence, Stylus Poetry Journal, Yellow Moon, Eucalypt.

In December 2008, Allison Millcock presented a haiga workshop to Kensington & Norwood Writers group and several members of that group became interested in haiku and related forms and joined the haiku group. Having started as the SA Haiku Group, in October 2009 the group renamed themselves as Bindii (a native plant with a bit of a prickle to it, which they felt suited our group).

In December 2009, the group began meeting at the Federal Box Factory 59 Regent St South Adelaide. This was a venue free to Community Groups and had other advantages, such as easier parking.

In September 2009, two Bindii members: Maeve Archibald and Lynette Arden, attended the Wind Over Water 4th Haiku Pacific Rim haiku conference in Terrigal, as delegates and Lynette Arden travelled to Japan in 2010 and 2012 on literary tours following the trail of Basho and other Japanese haiku poets. Beverley George was literary advisor for these tours. 

Lynette Arden took on the role of SA representative of the Australian Haiku Society after Martina Taeker resigned that role in 2009 and from 2012 to 2017 took on the role of Vice President of the Australian Haiku Association. In 2016, she designed the AHS new website and took on the role of web manager. 

In 2013, Lee Bentley took on the role of Co-Convenor of Bindii with Lynette Arden. Lee has organized and run Bindii meetings and email workshops for members in haiku and tanka.

Since the initial formation, Bindii has run a monthly or bi-monthly program of Japanese genre poetry activities each year. Bindii meetings have included workshops in many of the genres of Japanese poetry and the workshop of members’ work. Ginko meetings were held in various venues: Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Veale Gardens, Himeji Gardens, and the SA Museum. The group has also organized occasional social events for members during the year with interstate and regional visitors.

Bindii members performed their work at the South Australia State Library on 16 March 2011 at Friendly St Poets Words@Wall. The readings included traditional Japanese poetry, contemporary poetry by Hiromichi Ikeda and poetry composed by members of the Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group, read by Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Belinda Broughton, Dawn Colsey, Jill Gower and Athena Zaknic.

Four Bindii members: Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Jill Gower, and Belinda Broughton gave a performance of Japanese genre poetry as the Friendly St Peter Words@Wall at the SA State Library on 17 July 2013. At both the SA State Library performances, we were pleased to have a large and enthusiastic audience.

Bindii members have also performed their work at Burnside Library, including readings of haiku as part of the Japanese Cultural Heritage Day and at the Federal Box Factory Christmas Market, where Bindii members ran a market stall to publicize their work.

Local musician Munetaka Umehara, who specializes in Japanese folkloric music, has accompanied many of the Bindii performances.

In January 2011, Julia Wakefield of Radio Adelaide interviewed several Bindii members in a half-hour program of information about haiku and other Japanese genre poetry. The program included both historical information and readings of haiku accompanied by gongs. We spoke about the origin of the various Japanese forms, mainly tanka, renga, and haiku. We read some translations of the masters Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki. We also read a selection of tanka and haiku written by group members and a collaborative renku composed by three Bindii members. They broadcast the program on 25 January 2011. 

For the Through the Door performance, organized by Kensington & Norwood Writers Group for History Month in 2012, six Bindii members composed and performed a haibun renga relating to the history and the ambience of the local area. Taking part were Lynette Arden, Lesley Charlesworth, Belinda Broughton, Lee Bentley, Margaret Fensom and Maeve Archibald.

In 2011, Bindii produced their first anthology: Haiku Bindii: Journeys, edited by Belinda Broughton, Lynette Arden, and Maeve Archibald.

2012 saw the launch of Bindii website Haiku Bindii. http://haiku-bindii.blogspot.com.au/ The website shows details of meetings and showcases work by group members. 

There are around 27 poets with some connection to Bindii. These poets have varying degrees of involvement and activity. Some members regularly have work published in Australian journals such as Windfall and paper wasp, and several overseas journals in New Zealand, England, USA, Canada and Japan and on-line publications. Other Japanese genre poetry written by members includes tanka, renga, and renku, haibun and haiga

Over the past few years Bindii poets have included: Sara Abend-Sims, Judith Ahmed, Karin Anderson, Bett Angel-Stawarz, Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Alexander Ask, Lee Bentley, Belinda Broughton, Pam Brow, Lesley Charlesworth, Dawn Colsey, Margaret Fensom, Nigel Ford, Jill Gower, Simon Hanson, Marilyn Linn, Rachael Mead, Margaret Rawlinson, Veronica Shanks, Robin Sinclair, Josie Saccone, Julia Wakefield, Athena Zaknic.

Other SA Haiku Events: Salisbury City Council ran a haiga competition each year with lucrative prize money. Martina Taeker was part of the judging panel. From 2008, the Council ran six annual competitions. They displayed the winning and other selected entries in the John Harvey Gallery, one venue for the City of Salisbury Writers Festival. The last haiga competition advertised was in 2014.

Co-Convenor of Bindii, Lee Bentley, edited a second anthology of members’ work: Haiku Bindii Vol. 2: Willow Light, launched on 25 April 2015 at the Box Factory by Rob Walker. The book contains haiku, tanka, haibun, and haiga.

From 2015 to 2018, Bindii sponsored four prizes of $50 in the Langhorne Creek Literary Competition for haiku in Primary Schools. Lee Bentley judged the competition. 

In January 2017, Julia Wakefield ran a well-attended haiku workshop for beginners at the Box Factory. Julia Wakefield also ran a similar public workshop at the State Heritage Onkaparinga Woollen Mill in Lobethal on 5 March 2017, as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival in March 2016. Bindii members Belinda Broughton, Lyn Arden, Jill Gower, and Maeve Archibald also read haiku as a part of this event.

Other workshops offered during 2017 and 2018 as part of ordinary group meetings, included haiku (Julia Wakefield) tanka (Lynette Arden and Dawn Colsey), Haibun (Maeve Archibald). A ginko in April 2017 at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens was also part of our program.

Lee Bentley resigned the role of Co-Convener in March 2019 due to personal and work commitments. Lee had also been the treasurer for the group and responsible for sales of our anthologies. Athena Zaknic has taken on the Treasurer role and Maeve Archibald has taken on responsibility for looking after the anthologies.

Julia Wakefield ran a haiku workshop for beginners on 6 March 2019 at the Box Factory, Adelaide.
In June 2019, the group sought a new venue and format for meetings. Julia Wakefield over the role of Convener from Lynette Arden and also the role of Regional Representative for SA. In August, Bindii started meeting at the SA State Library.  


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