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I could have posted a scarlet poppy to mark April, but although they are synonymous with Anzac Day (April 25), they don't flower in New Zealand at this time of the year - so instead we have some appropriate autumn colour, the leaves of a scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). This year marks 100 years since the Allies' ill-fated campaign at Gallipoli in Turkey and will be marked by special events around New Zealand and overseas. Beginning this Anzac Day but continuing each year to commemorate all the major battles New Zealanders were involved in during World War 1 is the Forest of Memories - Te Wao Whakamaumaharatanga on Coromandel Peninsula.
Meanwhile, April 17 is a day for celebration - International Haiku Poetry Day. Did you know that? Pop over to Haiku Happenings to read more about the day registered by The Haiku Foundation.
Last month's Haiku Happenings recorded that the popular HaikuNow! contest won't be held this year - this month there are notes about another three contests that have also faded from view. Such a shame when we lose these outlets for our writing but I can well understand the sentiments of Cathy Drinkwater Better who says that the Haiku Poets of Central Maryland just ran out of steam with the same people doing the work year after year. It's a scenario that I daresay replays around the world in haiku organisations. So here's a challenge for you - if you're not a member of a haiku group, join one. If there isn't a haiku group in your area, start one. Spread the word, increase the pleasure and knowledge of our preferred art form, make some new friends!
While we're on public service broadcasts, I'd like to thank all those people who promptly agreed to supply a selection for the My Favourite Haiku feature when I began emailing at the beginning of the year. Generally, when I send out requests I get a mix of thanks but no thanks, agreement but with a get-out clause, or agreement. This time, every person I contacted said "yes" and so far, each one has met his/her deadline. Marvellous stuff and much appreciated.
This month's selection is from Ken Jones of Wales, primarily known for his pioneering work with haibun, while Michael Dylan Welch has supplied this month's article on the topic of editing and which contains accumulated wisdom that will be of use no matter where you consider yourself to be on the slide rule of haiku.
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.