International Women’s Haiku Festival: Haiku by Angela Leuck

Antipasto Salvadonica

Photo: Salvadonica Borgo del Chianti/Creative Commons/Flickr

Middle-aged women and younger men meet up in a haiku by Angela Leuck in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

antipasto –
middle-aged women
eyeing younger men

Here, cougars lick their chops on the veldt of sexual politics.  That Leuck’s “middle-aged women” only “eye” the “younger men” seems to toy with the transgressive notion of a woman of mothering age indulging her sexual appetite with someone possibly young enough to be her child.  But when you consider that the “antipasto” is the appetizer one indulges in before the main course, this senryu suggests that the women might do more than “eye” the men as the “meal” progresses.

Angela Leuck’s work has been published in journals and anthologies around the world.   An award-winning poet, she is the author of More Grows in a Crooked Row (inkling, 2016), Garden Meditations and A Cicada in the Cosmos (inkling, 2009), and Flower Heart (Blue Ginkgo, 2006).  She has also edited numerous anthologies, including Rose Haiku for Flower Lovers and Gardeners (Price-Patterson, 2005), Tulip Haiku (Shoreline, 2004), and, with Maxianne Berger, Sun Through the Blinds: Montreal Haiku Today (Shoreline, 2003). She lives in Hatley, Quebec.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Julie Thorndyke

Quince fur :-)

Photo: Storebukkebruse/Creative Commons/Flickr

Julie Thorndyke writes about plump quinces and an overloaded bookshelf in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

plump quinces
the velvet skin
of your memory

Like a plump quince itself, Thorndyke’s haiku changes texture the more you linger with it.  There’s a fleshiness, an implied juiciness to the “plump quinces” in the first line.  Then the second line unites the “velvet skin” of a quince with the fuzziness of the memory and takes us into a relational No Man’s Land.  What began as a seemingly luscious fruit poem ends on a dark note, or at least with a question mark: Did the fuzzy memory forget something of monumental significance to the poetic speaker?  Does it suggest the beginnings of dementia?  After this final turn, the tartness of even a plump quince continues to resonate in our experience – and to linger on our tongues.


overloaded bookshelf no gaps in my diary

The bookshelf and the calendar are so overcrowded that this poem has to be squeezed into a single line.  This poem is a deft reflection of lives crammed full of material goods and busy-ness, leaving no time to reflect and no empty space in which to do it.  If we find ourselves asking how we ended up in this hand basket, Thorndyke’s senryu at least hints at an answer.

Australian writer Julie Anne Thorndyke graduated with merit from the Master of Creative Writing program at the University of Sydney.  She has published poems and stories in many literary journals.  A winner in the U.S.-based Tanka Splendor competition in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, she was also awarded an honorable mention in 6th International Tanka Festival Competition 2009 (Japan).  She facilitates a local tanka writers’ group, participates in collaborative poetry presentations and leads creative writing workshops.  Julie won the 2011, 2015 and 2017 FAW Pauline Walsh short story competitions.  Two collections of her tanka poetry are available from Ginninderra Press.  Her first picture book for children will be published by IP in 2018.  In 2017, Julie was appointed editor of  Eucalypt: a tanka journal by founding editor Beverley George.