Archive for the Challenge! Category

‘Haiku Masters’ Photo Haiku Contest in Kyoto

Posted in Challenge!, Event report, Haipho with tags on November 28, 2017 by Tito

No easy challenge was this! Approached by NHK World TV, Tito was asked to create some photographer-poet teams to participate in a special photo haiku event to take place on Nov. 18 at Doshisha University, Kyoto. He asked for volunteers. They were to have a fortnight or so to make a new work on the theme of ‘Kyoto kawaii’, which perhaps translates best into English as ‘fetching Kyoto’. The producer explained that she was not after ‘cute’. Relief at that! 6 Hailstone poets answered Tito’s urgent call and first sent around by email a few each of their shots of Kyoto, hoping to inspire haiku out of one of the others in the haipho unit.

The most popular photo was one by Mayumi of snow, receiving haiku by 5 poets. Albie’s poem – Returning / after New Year’s bustle / the song of snow – was voted the best for the photo, so they became the Hailstone ‘Snow’ Team. Albie & Mayumi then anguished over the size, colour, position, etc. of the words (as we all did later on). There was an unfortunate repetition of the snow of the picture and the ‘snow’ in the haiku, which the judges picked up on. The programme emphasized the idea of 不即不離 (fusoku-furi), ‘not too close, not too far’. This was a visually beautiful work, but everyone soon realized how difficult it was going to be to make a work that is satisfying to all.

There was a Doshisha student team, which showed a photo of a fallen maple leaf and matched it with a haiku about a blushing girl. One judge commented that the leaf was too red for a young girl and wanted more green to symbolize her youth. I think he called the leaf ‘an old lady’. It was a good attempt nonetheless. Hailstone’s second team was the ‘Buddha’ team of Branko (photo) and William (haiku). Their work received the Audience’s Prize as measured on the applause meter. There were perhaps around 80 people present by the end and they certainly seemed to like the fetching little group of buddha statues huddled together on a tree stump matched with a slightly ironic poem evoking their business of caring for all humans.

The third Hailstone team was dubbed the ‘Maiko-haan’ team, of Peter (photo) and Tito (haiku), with a shot of a maiko peeping from behind a half-closed door matched with a haiku evoking the street outside. Both of the latter teams chose to reference spring in their haiku. The Hailstone Maiko-han Team was awarded the Judges’ Prize, which was a box of confectionery and a lacquerware dish.

There was a seventh member of the unit – Sydney, who contributed photos, haiku and votes to the production process, just like everyone else, but she had to be in Tokyo on the day.

In the first half of the programme, Tito was invited to give a 10-min. presentation on cirku-haipho (photos with circular haiku), something which has been shown over the years on this site. Here are the works he presented at Doshisha: 1) Kyoto 2) New Zealand and 3) Shikoku

The three Hailstone teams’ haipho entries will be shown on the Icebox, one by one, in other postings this winter. お楽しみに!For now, you can see them here at NHK World TV’s site.

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Genjuan International Haibun Contest Deadline

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun with tags , on January 10, 2017 by Tito

This year, our sixth as Genjuan (and ninth if we include its predecessor, the Kikakuza Contest), we welcome one new judge, Ellis Avery. The addition of an American female poet/writer to the existing panel of two Japanese and one British resident of Japan is sure to give our judging new impetus. Judge Emeritus is Nenten Tsubo’uchi, one of Japan’s most prominent and well-respected haijin. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to send something off soon to our officer, Eiko Mori, as the deadline is January 31st. Usually she waits for a few extra days in case there are stragglers. The Contest is free, but there are real prizes and signed certificates. In due course, we aim to compile a book of the best works from 2015-2017. There are still some copies of our 2012-14 anthology available (see the ‘Publications’ page link at top right). Non-native writers, please note: perfect English is not a prerequisite for a piece to be considered for a prize or subsequently published. Full Contest details are given under the ‘Genjuan Guidelines‘ page link.   We look forward to reading your work next month. Good luck!

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2017 Opens

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun with tags , on September 27, 2016 by Tito

This is still Japan’s only international haibun contest. Entry is free and there are prizes and certificates. This year we have one new judge, Ellis Avery, who is American, female, a haiku poet, but also a novelist and a fiction writing teacher at Columbia University. She is a contributor to Icebox, too.

Ideally, there will be one Grand Prix, a number of An Prizes (‘Cottage’ Prizes, highly commended), and some Honourable Mentions, too. The authors of entries chosen for the first two of these categories will receive prizes, and all decorated works will warrant a certificate from the organizers. In the late spring, the results will be displayed here on the Hailstone Icebox and elsewhere. You can read last year’s winning pieces on a separate page (‘Genjuan ’16 Winning Haibun’).

Entries to : Ms. Eiko Mori, 2-11-23-206 Jokoji, Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken 660-0811, Japan (to arrive between 1 Oct. 2016 and 31 Jan. 2017)

We have lowered the minimum length stipulation to make it easier for writers using English as their second language. Each entry should total 7 to 35 lines (at 1 line = 80 spaces), with title and at least one haiku (no formal restrictions). Print on one side of A4, if possible, with your name and address, tel. no., and email address typed along the bottom. The judges will not get to know your identity until judging is over and the Genjuan Contest Office already knows the results. We are sorry, but email entries are not accepted.

Judges: Nenten Tsubouchi, Stephen Henry Gill, Hisashi Miyazaki, Ellis Avery.

Full details via the page link (top right) ‘Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2017 Guidelines’.  Please do take part!

Genjuan 2016 – deadline approaches

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun with tags on January 9, 2016 by Tito

Haibun is one of the most rewarding of the haiku arts, both for writer and reader. The deadline for entries to this year’s Genjuan Haibun Contest is coming up fast – January 31st. The Office is apparently lenient with entries received a few days after that date, but only a few days! Entry is free. This is still Japan’s only English language haibun contest and we welcome your participation, whatever country you may live in. Two of the three judges are Japanese haijin.  The Contest Guidelines (incl. Office address) are to be viewed through the page link at top right of our top page. (Click the Icebox header photo of hailstones to return to the top page.) Examples of previous years’ decorated pieces are accessed via further page links at top right. Please enjoy them! Your entries will certainly be carefully read.

Surrealism at Stillhollow Pond

Posted in Challenge!, Event report, Japanese Modern, Summer with tags on July 31, 2015 by Tito

As luck would have it, this month’s Senri Bunka Centre (Osaka) Eigo de Haiku class fell on the sensei’s birthday, July 23. It had been decided to meet a little early at the secretive jewel that is Nagatani-ike for some LIVE composition. KC4F0026As is the sensei’s wont, he first launched a single birthday  balloon, which fell back quietly to the surface of the pond, coming to rest beneath some bankside trees (click on photo: centre left).
A handout listing a sample of previous birthday balloon launches (from mountain-tops, cliffs, shores, boats, bridges, or as offerings to rocks or trees) was given to each participant. Today’s was no. 46 in the global series, which, incidentally, did not begin when Tito was 1 year old! Poets were then requested to wander around the pond and through the bamboo groves and attempt to capture the wayward object and its slightly surreal interaction with something else. As a pointer to the type of poem required, a 1937 haiku by Yamaguchi Seishi was read out (although his one is absolutely real).

夏の河赤き鉄鎖(てっさ)のはし浸(した)る  (誓子)

….. The summer river –
….. a red iron chain,
….. one end immersed

…………… (Yamaguchi Seishi, trans. JW Carpenter)

When we entered the classroom back at the Centre, some redrafting took place …  and soon we had a nice selection of slightly surreal haiku to write on the whiteboard.  KC4F0014 How much more resonant is a slightly surreal haiku than a totally surreal one! The reader is free to imagine his own story. Here are four of about a dozen haiku composed that evening. Which one do you like best? Please leave a comment to tell us!

.

….. after summer rain
….. amidst the green, left behind
….. one blue thing

…………… (Takashi)

….. the ripples here
….. from a grebe
….. and there
….. from a curious blue balloon

…………… (Hisashi)

….. commemorative balloon
….. drifting on the pond …
….. golden carp look up

…………… (Senji) 

….. blue sky
….. through breaks in the cloud –
….. a fallen blue balloon

…………… (Mizuho)

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun, News with tags , , on September 6, 2014 by Tito

This is Japan’s only international haibun contest. Entry is free and there are prizes and certificates. With the retirement of Nobuyuki Yuasa after serving for six years as judge of (first) the Kikakuza and (subsequently) the Genjuan Contests, this year we have one new judge, Nenten Tsubouchi, who is welcomed as one of Japan’s most respected haiku poets with an unusual interest in haibun. He is a modernist with a very strong classical foundation. You can see a photo and learn a little more about him here http://www.gendaihaiku.com/tsubouchi/index.html

Ideally, there will be one Grand Prix, a number of An Prizes (‘Cottage’ Prizes, highly commended), and some Honourable Mentions, too. The authors of entries chosen for the first two of these categories will receive prizes, and all decorated works will warrant a certificate from the organizers. In the spring, the results will be displayed here on the Hailstone Icebox and elsewhere. You can read last year’s winning pieces on a separate page (‘Genjuan Winning Haibun’).

Entries to : Ms. Eiko Mori, 2-11-23-206 Jokoji, Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken 660-0811, Japan (to arrive between 1 Oct. 2014 and 31 Jan. 2015)

We have lowered the minimum length stipulation to make it easier for writers using English as their second language. Each entry should total 10 to 40 lines (at 1 line = 80 spaces), with title and at least one haiku (no formal restrictions). Print on one side of A4, if possible, with your name and address, tel. no., and email address typed along the bottom. The judges will not get to know your identity until judging is over and the Genjuan Contest office already knows the results.

Judges: Nenten Tsubouchi, Stephen Henry Gill, Hisashi Miyazaki.

Full details via the page link (top right) ‘幻住庵 Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015 Guidelines’.  Please do take part!

Genjuan Haibun Contest Deadline

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun with tags , on January 12, 2014 by Tito

. Haibun is one of the most rewarding of the haiku arts, both for writer and reader. The deadline for entries to this year’s Genjuan Haibun Contest is coming up fast – January 31st. The Office is apparently lenient with entries received a few days after that date, but only a few days! Please note that the Contest Office is now in Kansai, not Tokyo. This is still Japan’s only haibun contest.
. Nobuyuki Yuasa has announced that he wishes to retire from judging next year, but that he is very much looking forward to reading this year’s entries! Awarded pieces will appear in a book we intend to publish later this year. This is an international contest, and we welcome your participation, whatever country you may live in. Entry is free.
. The Contest Guidelines are to be viewed through the page link at top right of our top page. (Click the photo of hailstones to return to the top page.) Examples of previous years’ decorated pieces are accessed via further page links there.