Artwork: Ernest J Berry

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December 2014                      

                                                                                                                   Photo: Sandra Simpson

The last month of the year. My, how this year has flown by - I hope that it has brought you your fair share of good fortune and haiku success. I've just come in from the garden unable to tolerate the strong winds any longer. Spring has held on and on this year with heavy hail, high winds and falling temperatures again in the last few days - we had a few hot days last week where we thought, "that's it, summer's finally here", but it was a tease.

I see some pohutukawa are flowering so we can't be imagining that it's the right month for summer! This month's image is a flower on a rewarewa tree (Knightia excelsa) or New Zealand honeysuckle taken on a high boardwalk at Otari Wilton's Bush in Wellington. I've been told that the flowers are "like candyfloss for possums" and also popular with bees (and further down the process, humans) for honey. Read more about the tree here. The complicated-looking flower has evolved to prevent cross pollination and is adapted for bird pollination - the beaks snap the curled flowers open.

Former New Zealand Poet Laureate Elizabeth Smither has provided a selection of her favourite haiku this month, generously allowing me to reprint extracts from her The Commonplace Book. Melissa Allen has also been generous in her permission to reuse several postings from her Red Dragonfly blog as the monthly article - it's a fun piece to end the year and may prompt some of us to undertake some writing exercises over the summer (come on summer).

The competition listings have been updated through to the end of February, so plenty of time to plan ahead and get some writing done.

Two new books have been added to the Noted section on the Books page - one is a collection of unpublished tanka by Sanford Goldstein, some dating back to his earliest notebooks from 1976. Tanka Left Behind has been published by Kei Books (Atlas Poetica).

My thanks to those who have supplied information, articles and their favourite haiku in 2014 - Haiku NewZ wouldn't be the same without you and I appreciate the effort everyone puts in on behalf of this website. Thanks also to Signify, our website host, and the New Zealand Poetry Society for giving us the space on its site - free of charge.

If you'd be good enough to consider joining the NZPS, it would be a small repayment for the hosting and support that we receive out of kindness. For those within New Zealand, your membership fees are tax deductible, as is any donation you make over the top of the annual sub. Read more about joining and membership benefits here, including how to join if you live outside New Zealand.

If you'd like to recommend an article, offer to write something for these pages, or generally have something to say about haiku and its related forms, please feel free to get in touch.

And don't forget to have a look at my other web venture, Sandra's Garden. If you like it, please be sure to share it with your friends.

- Sandra