A Hundred Gourds 4:4 September 2015

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The Second International Haiku Conference in Krakow, Poland (May 15-17, 2015)

by J. Brian Robertson

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 |page 4


To conclude the conference, the winning poems were read out by the two judges (Roberta Kania and Roberta Beary) and the poems’ authors were asked to identify themselves and collect their diplomas and prizes. The winners were: 3rd place, Rob Scott (Sweden/Australia); 2nd place, Bob Moyer (USA); and 1st place, J. Brian Robertson (Germany/Canada). There were also three honorable mentions to the following poets: Stoianka Boianova, Marta Chociłowska, and Margaret Chula.


from left to right: 1. Bob Moyer, Marta Chociłowska,
Stoianka Boianova, J. Brian Robertson, and Margaret Chula
2. Robert Kania and Rob Scott.

The winning poems were:

methadone clinic
we form a line
at the coffee machine

space- J. Brian Robertson

the clank
of bottles in a bag
his scraggly beard

space- Bob Moyer

spring morning
the poet’s pen
reflects the sun

space- Rob Scott

the sun is rising
from all directions
haiku conference

space- Stoianka Boianova

rainy season
in the bride’s bouquet
a seed sprouts

space- Marta Chociłowska

seeing you again
the clip-clop of horse carts
on cobblestones

space - Margaret Chula

For me, the biggest take-away from the event stemmed from a chat I had with Rob Scott, one of the conference’s speakers. The idea was that it didn’t really matter what a “real” haiku was, or whether modern haiku in English (or in any other language) even fit a strict definition of haiku. I found this idea liberating. It reaffirmed that “certain something” most of us yearn for when we read poetry in the first place.

I want to extend a very appreciative thank you to the conference co-organisers and everybody who supported their hard work: Robert Kania, Krzysztof Kokot, Lidia Rozmus, Bogna Dziechciaruk-Maj, and Charles Trumbull. From the pre-arranged, affordable accommodation for attendees to transportation in the city and the detailed schedule of the conference, the whole event was smooth and pleasurable. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. And the haiku were inspiring.


butterfly - 126th WHA Haiga Contest (01/2015)

For the photos, I’d like to thank Robert Kania, Iliyana Stoyanova, Irena Szewczyk, Bob Moyer, Rob Scott, and everyone else who took photos at the event and posted them on Facebook.

In conclusion, I suggest readers check out the following publications linked to the event:

- Haiku Anthology, Second International Haiku Conference (Kontekst Publishing House, Poznan 2015) Multilingual.

- Cherry Trees and Willows. Anthology of Polish School of Classical Haiku (Japonica, Warsaw 2015) in Polish, English, and Japanese.

- Whirligig Vol. VI-1 May 2015 with collections of 77 haiku by 26 Polish authors, in Polish, English, and Dutch.

- 39 haiku by Robert Kania (Kontekst Publishing House, Poznan 2015)


Haiku Anthology. Second International Haiku Conference

                          cover J. Brian Robertson began writing short stories in 2006 and caught the haiku bug in 2011 followed by the tanka bug in 2013. Since 2010, six of his short stories have been published in North America and Europe, and since 2012 his poems have appeared in haiku journals (A Hundred Gourds, The Heron's Nest, Lynx, Mayfly, Asahi Haikuist Network, and so on – the usual suspects) and a few contests (Robert Frost International, the Vladimir Devidé contest, etc.). Aside from writing haiku and tanka, he is currently experimenting with flash fiction and haibun. At some point in his life Brian wants to write a novel, but not yet. His favourite novel at the moment is Lake Como by Srđjan Valjarević. With a German doctorate in economics, Brian – a Canadian – has worked for organisations like the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and on numerous international climate-change mitigation projects.


1.“A Brief History of Polish Haiku” written by Rafał Zabratyński in Issue Number 9 of Shamrock.

2.“Haiku Anthology” - Second International Haiku Conference, Muzeum Manggha, Krakow 2015; Kontekst Publishing House.”

3. European Quarterly Kukai

4. The 4th Miłosz Festival

5. UNESCO Cities of Literature