Tag Archives: haiku

The Results Are In

This is not really a post, just an exercise in procrastination. I started writing it last night and left it for completion but had an idea for another post before returning to it.  I should be writing some haibun at the moment, but that isn’t going well. I started writing but wandered off to search Gray’s Elegy for a title, and ended up reading Lowell’s For the Union Dead, which is a fine poem but isn’t going to move my haibun forward. On the other hand, twenty minutes of staring into space and chewing a pen didn’t move it forward either.

I am now going to complete the post so that I don’t need to think about actually writing poetry.

It is now twelve months since I decided to take poetry seriously and I am in a position to discuss my 12 month rolling average.

Fifty six submissions made. Twenty eight have been successful, twenty one have been rejected and seven are awaiting a decision. Three of those have very little chance but I have a reasonable chance with the others. Even if none of them are accepted I am still on 50%, which everyone tells me is a good proportion.

This year it’s safe to say that I have written more, managed a publishable standard and have moved slightly out of my comfort zone by venturing into ordinary poetry and tanka, whilst trying a few new magazines.

In truth, I’ve done a little ordinary poetry before, though I did aim reasonably high with my choice of magazine, so I’m happy there. The tanka seem quite successful too, so I need  anew challenge. This year I will consolidate what I am doing (no need to get over-confident) then look for new challenges.

I also have to work on becoming more productive, but for the moment I am off to read about writing better tanka. It beats bashing away at haibun that won’t come, but is all about self-improvement so doesn’t count at procrastination.

 

 

 

Marmalade Hoverfly

8.23

I rose at 6.30, handed my car over for MOT at 6.45, decided to use my time wisely (reading blogs) and just went to answer a knock on the door. It was the car – returned with its new MOT Certificate. That is what I call service. If you ever need a car fixing in Nottingham, try Hillcrest Garage. I’ve been using them for years, and though they recently had to move, they are still a great garage.

I’m feeling a lot more alert than I was last night but have hit a new challenge -now that the car is back, should we go for a drive in the countryside or should I stay and write. I know what I should do, but Julia deserves a day out and we do have air conditioning in the car, which is more than we do in the house.

Decisions, decisions . . .

That was easy. We’re going out.First stop – McDonalds for breakfast, then I’m not sure what. If we go anywhere too nice it will be full people. If we go somewhere that isn’t crowded it’s probably not worth the trouble of visiting.

With six submissions in the pipeline I deserve a day out, but if we all took that sort of view nothing would ever get done. I have another submission in the bag and then there will be a bit of a struggle getting more done by the end of the month. I’ve been a bit lazy and haven’t kept up with the haibun writing – just done the haiku and the tanka.

Ah well, off for breakfast now – see you later.

A Small Success and a Digression on Auction Technique

I had a note yesterday to tell that I was on a 24 day streak with WP. The days pass so quickly! It only seems like last week that I broke continuity and it’s already back to 24 days. You know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t improve my writing and it doesn’t improve the blog.  It’s just a way of WP trying to draw you in – a bit like your dealer congratulating you on taking drugs for 24 days in a row.

Presence arrived today. I have a haiku and a tanka in there. Unfortunately it’s a print journal so I can’t send you a link. I’m liking the tanka form. It’s two lines longer than  a haiku and less restrictive, so it’s more fun. I’ve submitted two lots and had two accepted, so I seem to have the hang of them.  However, I won’t make too many predictions of success as I’ve been here before. Early success is often followed by a run of poor form before it picks up again.

This was quite a common thing when buying and selling antiques. You buy one without knowing much about it, you learn, you sell. Next time, armed with more knowledge and confidence, you end up paying too much, or not spotting a fault, and the second one proves hard to sell. Buying in ignorance is often best. I bought several bargains simply by putting my hand up at an auction when nobody else wanted something. As I’d never risk more than a tenner on this sort of bid, it worked out very well on several occasions, though there could be problems.

I twice bought lots thinking they were one box, and they turned out to be multi-box lots. Once I bought some toy cars and six boxes of unsaleable secondhand Christmas decorations. Another time, I bought a box of old pots to get a book and found they came with four boxes of mediocre amateur paintings. At least I was able t give the paintings to a charity shop. I couldn’t even give the Christmas decorations away.

Anyway, I digress.

It is now time to write some more and see if I can repeat my early success.

IT could be a lef. But then it could be a writing prompt . . .

 

A Worse Thing than Being Accepted

I didn’t realise there was anything worse than being accepted, until yesterday.

I’ve just had an acceptance and I am very annoyed. In fact at one point I was filled with rage. I sent in three haibun, each one elegantly and interestingly crafted and probably some of the best work I have ever done. I also sent in seven tanka to make the numbers up and see how the tanka are going. I’ve only just started writing them and have had one accepted, so they seem to be hitting the mark. However, they are just lightweight 5 line poems compared to the more serious business of writing haibun. They are also, let’s face it, a lot easier than haiku – two extra lines and fewer rules make for a more relaxed writing experience.

You can see where this is heading already, can’t you?

None of the haibun were required and one of the tanka was accepted. My first reaction was disbelief, then, as read the email again (because I’d clearly missed something first time) extreme annoyance.  I’d just spent the best part of a year on the haibun, editing, cutting, polishing and letting them mature (all the stuff you are supposed to do), and they were tossed to one side in favour of something that took me five minutes.

However, after sleep and breakfast I’m looking on it as just one more manifestation of the mystery of interaction with editors. I will put it down to experience, use it for the basis of a blog post and, eventually use it in  a magazine article about rejection. But most of all I will look at my work critically and try to work out why it took a year to produce a bad haibun. I used to be able to that in twenty minutes. I’m getting slower  . . .

 

Haiku and Haibun

I have had a couple of pieces published online recently.

One was a haiku in Wales Haiku Journal Spring 2021. You can either go down from the top – I’m about 154 down, or work up from the end – I’m about 35th if you start at the bottom. Ther are so many

The other is in Drifting Sands, and is available here.

I like being in online journals because I can share the links and show off.  I also like being in printed journals, because I like seeing myself on a page, and admire the editors who keep the tradition of print journals going. In the next month or two I’m going to sort out my subscriptions. I think the least I can do is subscribe to 12 different journals. It’s not as if I smoke or drink anymore. All I need to do is spread them out a bit so that I don’t land myself with a big bill one month. Christmas is always a bad time because so many subscriptions to different things fall due at the end of the year. Don’t they ever stop and think about this? Why put all the subscriptions at the most expensive time of the year?

Of course, there’s a certain amount of self-interest at work here, and I will be supporting journals that I’m in, or want to be in. I’m a realist, not a saint…

Meanwhile, I have a few pieces from print journals that are probably old enough to be reprinted on the blog. I’ll sort them out in the next week or so.

 

Plans and Haiku

Despite the first part of the day consisting of a mathematically implausible three halves, I did have a plan for the next bit of the day, which I’m going to describe as “bit” because it saves me having to be accurate.

The plan was to go home, write, wash up and make stew for tea. It also included, after my talk with the doctor, eating eggs for lunch and not sleeping in front of daytime TV whilst watching quiz with my lunch. Next time, I’m going to eat lunch at the computer.

It’s has all come to pass, apart from the not sleeping bit, but instead of being 5 o’clock, as planned, it is seven o’clock. As days off go, it has been OK, but not hugely productive. However, I have had another acceptance, this time from Wales Haiku Journal. It will be published in the next two weeks and is a haiku of eleven words. It almost feels like cheating to claim I’m having a poem published when it’s only 11 words long, but as Mark Twain said:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Brevity can be tricky.

I now have a nine rejected haiku which can be sent out again. Just because they have been rejected doesn’t mean they are bad. I’ve shown that before, with many pieces. As it is, I have ten ready to go to another magazine and if everything goes as it normally does, and they take one, as they often do, I will have 18 haiku looking for a home. It’s amazing how they mount up. That’s how it goes – one day you have nothing, next day you have too many. It’s a shame that the same doesn’t apply to £10 notes.

I’m off to eat stew now, I’ll see you all tomorrow.

The haiku features a robin, so that’s the reason for the picture.

Good Things Happening

I forgot to tell you about something good that happened on Thursday – I finally remembered to order my new prescription from the surgery. I’d meant to do it at the weekend, but I kept forgetting. That isn’t the good bit, though, the good bit was that I remembered my username and password two months after I last used them. This probably says as much about my very simp[le password as it does about my memory, but it was still a pleasant surprise. maybe my faculties aren’t universally deteriorating.

The usual story is that every time I use a password I forget it and, next time, have to get a replacement. I spoke to Number One Son about this and he tells me he doesn’t bother remembering passwords most of the time as it’s so easy to get a replacement.

Talking of which, I looked up an article on the subject of passwords a while ago. I don’t think I wrote about it but the results made me shake my head in disbelief. Most of them are stupidly simple, even by my standards, I looked at a second list and have to say that Number 86 rang a few bells. It’s interesting to see that there are others who share my hatred of aspects of the internet. I’m told that British codebreakers of WW2 were given lists of German swear words, as German soldiers, like me, were given to profanity when thinking of passwords.  I notice echoes of this on the current list of most common German passwords. It might be the same in all countries, but I am not able to swear in all languages.

Actually, I see I can recognise at least one Spanish swear word and that the Italian for password is password. At least the French go with motdepasse.

There will be a break of a few seconds now – I need to alter the password for my banking details. I wasn’t very happy with them last time I had to alter it.

Finally, it seems that the best way to ensure password safety is to use a password management system. I always thought that was a way of having all your passwords lifted in one go, so I’m not going to rush into it. I will, however, be looking at the patterns I use to produce passwords.

Just one more thing before I go, I know I said I was going to stop doing this, but have a look at this month’s Failed Haiku. I’m near the top this time. (That’s Simon Wilson for those of you who don’t remember). Most poets adopt a meaningful and mysterious name for their poetry and use the boring one for everyday life – just one more way I have got it wrong. I’m near the top, in case you are wondering, because I got my submission in early – it’s about speed rather than quality.

My Favourite Day

It i now just after midday and it is probably time to take stock.

I delivered Julia to work this morning. Traffic was heavier than usual, which was probably due to the return to school, though it could just be that Monday is usually busier in general. I have no way of measuring, but the queue in a couple of places was a little longer than usual.  It might just appear heavier because I was expecting it to be. I really ought to devise an accurate system of measurement.

On the way back I went to Lidl as we need bread and I like their bakery. I’ve been avoiding it lately, but you have to go out at some time.

As usual, I observed some selfish parking. A single man in a Range Rover parked in a parent and child space (we didn’t have them in my day, we just had to learn how to control children and shopping at the same time!) I don’t see why anyone needs a Range Rover if they live in town. I don’t see why Range Rover owners can’t walk a few yards extra. And I definitely don’t know why he felt it necessary to park at an angle so that a corner of his vehicle jutted into the corner of the parking spot next to him. Somehow, I always asu8me that if you have the money to buy a big car and fuel it that you should know how to drive. I am clearly wrong.

Again, in the absence of a proper measuring system I can’t say this was the worst parking I’ve ever seen. How does it compare, for instance, with a small car parking across two disabled spaces whilst playing loud music? So many variables.

I bought the usual selection – sandwich baguettes, chocolate brownies, ham offcuts for sandwiches and mini cucumbers, which Julia likes with her sandwiches. She actually ordered some plants yesterday to grow her own this summer.

I then sat down to write. I finalised a selection of haiku, which needed to be sent before the 15th. That is now done. I’ve submitted to that magazine before and expect I will be making a contribution to my target of 100 rejections quite soon.

After that I settled down to some “ordinary” poetry. At the moment I’m writing by setting ideas down and adding to them. When they are about the right length I check I have everything I need – theme, detail, ambiguity- then I start pruning and refining. I have two or three on the go, in various stages of completion and it’s feeling good. I’m pinning a lot of hope on my ordinary poetry to bring in the 100 rejections.

I then twiddled around with ome tidying of folders, made a cup of tea, browsed the internet and skimmed a book that arrived last week. I answered a phone call from a very nice lady who wanted to help me extend the warranty of my washing machine. Regular readers, who know we use the launderette for washing, will realise she was unlikely to succeed, and thi proved to be the case.

That’s it for now. I’m going to make lunch, using a liquidised vegetable stew and I will then start rounding up some haiku for another submission. If I get that done, I will have a go at refining some haibun and writing a couple of new prose sections.

After I pick Julia up I will have come full circle and that brings us back to the chocolate brownies. I will miss my Mondays when I have to go back to full-time work.

Orange Parker Pen

 

A Dying Fall

Life is a bit dull at the moment. It’s like my normal life but with added tedium and a dash of boredom thrown in. Of course, if it were exciting it would probably be worse. Excitement, in the form of boundary disputes, car breakdowns and pandemics, is not good either. I know I should be grateful for the monotony, but when the most exciting event of the week is watching Sharpe on TV, there is something wrong.

I really need to do more writing, send more submissions out and start playing editor roulette again. There’s nothing quite like a rejection letter for rousing the passions as yet one more philistine fails to appreciate your endeavours. Ans similarly, there’s nothing quite so worrying as an acceptance, meaning ta the whole world is about to laugh at you when they see your work and realise it’s rubbish.

Currently I don’t have too much out, just two competition entries, one lot of haibun and an article. The competition entries are doomed, they always are. The haibun are currently under consideration and the article is, I think, doomed. There’s going to be very little in the way of excitement coming from there.

There isn’t much coming up in the next month in the way of deadlines, though the month after that is going to be busy.  I am preparing my material for March and April, but I am, unfortunately, not the most industrious of men unless I have a deadline coming up.

I was reading an essay by a writer of haiku recently, in which he notes that most of his haiku have been in progress for about a year by the time he gets round to finishing them. He is quite clearly a patient and focussed man. I, of course, am not, and should probably go back to writing clerihews.

Ambitious PM Boris Johnson
had trouble keeping his pants on.
Thanks to Dominic Cummings
he now looks a bit of a muggins

Yet Another Day, Yet Another Post

Little and Large!

I have now managed to do a few things on yesterday’s list.

I have rung the Pharmacy – got straight through this time – and given them my PORN number. If you wonder what that is (and it probably isn’t what you’re thinking) you can read it in yesterday’s post.

I have also reset my OU password and had a quick look at where I am. Having done the courses What is Poetry? and War Memorials and Commemoration, I am 31% of the way through Approaching Poetry. I haven’t done anything since 16th December, when the great password purge locked me out and ignored me over Christmas, so I’m going to have to redo the 31% to get back up to speed. I may well go through the others too, just to brush up.

As a third thing, which I should have done, but didn’t list, I have sorted out my first published haiku. I needed it for something else and also needed to check submission dates for Wales Haiku Journal. Having done all that, I thought, I may as well give it an airing alongside a couple of almost relevant photos.

I have been working towards deadlines of 25th and 31st January, thinking I had plenty of time. I don’t. It’s 21st today and I am badly prepared for 25th. I have the material, but it needs a final polish. I’m actually better prepared for the 31st, having two of the three submissions to go. Only the third needs work, the main problem being that I haven’t decided which is going to be the third piece.

With that in mind, I had better go and do some work on that instead of messing around with haiku and photos.