Today I have a special podcast dedicated to senryu and haiku written by the haiku pea community on the topic of film.

This topic was inspired by the Zürich film festival. It happens in Zürich at the end of September, beginning of October each year and I love it. One of the downsides of living as an expat is that I do miss going to the theatre in my native language. I compensate by going to the cinema and I gorge myself at the film festival.

The films are in many languages, but the joy is that they are often subtitled in English, when they would not be under normal circumstances here in Switzerland.

There is a relatively new development in a couple of my local cinemas, which I am very much enjoying. They are offering live theatre and opera from the Westend of London. I have been enjoying some fabulous operetta from Gilbert and Sullivan and most recently I have seen All about Eve, whilst sitting in a very comfy seat in Zürich. I would definitely recommend this if it comes to a cinema near you.

Settle down in your seats, grab some popcorn and drinks and let’s filmku…

Previously Published

vigilante movie
my elbow
heavy on your knee

Alan Summers

Publication credits: Symmetry Pebbles ed. Richard Thomas (2011)
Publication credits: Symmetry Pebbles ed. Richard Thomas (2011)

Anthology credit:
The Humours of Haiku ISBN 978-0-9565725-4-7 ed. David Cobb (Iron Press 2012)

Collection credit:

Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)


Alan directs us to the Jodie Foster movie film The Brave One (2007 film)

This seemed to be an unusual role for her in that it’s fictional, as compared to the famous para-factual movie The Accused (1988 film). Unlike other vigilante movies, Jodie Foster brings a 3-D character to the

So the first line is a context set up, and I’m watching with my wife and writer Karen Hoy, with my elbow on her knee, and the film is gripping, and want Jodie Foster’s character to survive, so I instinctively do the famous Death Wish gesture where Charles Bronson cocks his fingers mimicking a gun. But also suggesting that we are not only deeply engrossed in Jodie Foster’s movie, but reflecting how vulnerable couples can be in certain situations.

film festival
in a silent love scene
someone’s snoring

Gérard Krebs
Blithe Spirit 28.3


Straight away I am going to start with a new contributor. **Mariela Gonzalez, who originally comes from Venezuela, although now lives in the Netherlands. Although trained as a scientist, she now works in music, teaching children to play the piano and studying for certificates for piano performance.

She became interested in haiku about 6 years ago, seeking out information on how to write haiku, she found  William Higginson’s book “the haiku handbook” which she recommends.

Having been ill she found, like many of us, that haiku can be a serious tool to use on our road to recovery. Haiku has become very important in her life. She says it is a way of honouring events in life, however small they are.

At the moment Mariela is writing an anthology, inspired by Venezuela’s nature and culture, through which feelings of longing to return to her homeland will be expressed. Perhaps when it’s finished she will let us know.

**Mariela Gonzalez

farewell embrace
I close my eyes
to the scene


comedy film-
a popcorn falls
between her breasts

Ernesto P Santiago:

midway through the film a drowsy moon


without dialogue –
captured on film
the passing wind

This was a very interesting one. It could be very beautiful and serious. The black and white visions of the wind moving, or it could go right back to the times of Bashō and be slightly smutty / humorous.

In another first this week we have a husband and wife team, the Hawkheads, Patricia and John. I’ll begin with John who writes another piece which made me chuckle:

John Hawkhead

late night horror film
with all the lights off
she pulls me closer

and from **Patricia Hawkhead, who we have not met before on the podcast but who many of you will have read in a number of publications such as Haiku Universe, Daily Haiga, Bare Bones, Odyssey, Aireings, Fatchance and The New Exeter Book of Riddles. She gives us this:

**Patricia Hawkhead

knowing the names
of all the old movie idols
our teenager

I wonder how common that is?


Joan Barrett

I have chosen a piece that Joan wrote as a 4 line haiku,

home movies . . .
when the world
and I
were innocent

and then this one, not just because it’s about the very first film that made an impression on me, but I think it’s a clever piece, without being in your face about it.

Wednesday’s child
shedding tears
for Bambi

I couldn’t resist this one, because it’s about one of my favourite films. I’ve even been to Vienna to spot places that this movie was filmed in.

Harry Lime’s shoes
and a lonely black cat
the chaos of a zither


Mark Gilbert

riding her broomstick
it’s ok
she’s only acting

I thought this piece of work had a touching parent child relationship. Mark tells me that as a kid he was terrified of the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, and especially her flying monkeys.

Next another one that made me giggle:

Darth Vader
a character we can all look up to


The following pieces are from a poet new to us on the podcast, **Eavonka Ettinger. She is a former 7th grade (12-13 year olds) English and Drama teacher. She taught for 12 years in public inner city middle schools in Los Angeles. She has been a performance poet, which I am not sure I would have the guts to do. She share an enthusiasm for photography, which a number of us do and is passionate about film. She is an enthusiastic reviewer, list maker, and commenter on Letterboxd.

She started writing haiku as a tool to train herself to be more succinct.

**Eavonka Ettinger

Kurosawa made
every exquisite frame
worth examining

Wings of desire are
needed to embrace the all
of being human

Andy Syor

an intermission
living our epoch journeys
we watch others’ films

I was so tempted to use the word epic rather than epoch, which would work, but Andy’s choice makes the verse so much more interesting. Don’t you think?

Katherine E Winnick

She has taken a slightly different viewpoint on film, listen:

Speed and shutter
Moving frame by frame
Black and white

Many of us will already know the next haijin. I’ve already featured one of his pieces in today’s podcast. He is a prolific poet, someone who works really hard to bring the enjoyment of haiku to as many people as possible and who teaches and mentors so many. Who is it? It’s **Alan Summers.

**Alan Summers

An original, just for us.

the long summer
re-imagining myself
as John Carter

This was inspired by Alan’s devotion to John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and his curiosity about the planet Mars.

Long before the low budget and high budget movie versions, he lived and breathed John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and was fascinated by both science fact and science fiction around the planet Mars. Of the two movie versions, he thinks the low budget version is far superior to the Disney film, and romantic, capturing more of the books than the slickness of the higher budget movie.

The long summer breaks as a child meant a lot of reading books and watching old classic movies as well as going out on what he called his ‘Danger Bike’. The idea of a young modern man going to another planet and swashbuckling with a princess was something he could only dream about.

Princess of Mars

A couple of senryu from Patrick Stephens next, the first made me realise once again how technology has changed my life and I don’t regard myself as that old.

Patrick Stephens

16 millimeter
All our childhood memories
lost to DVD

Escaping again
In the dim flickering light

Staying in France we meet a new poet, at least for the podcast, **Cyrille Soliman. She writes haiku because it helps her to connect to the world. She enjoys haiku which are simple, genuine and work in the short/long/short formation. If you are a French speaker/reader as I know some of you are, she recommends the website of Serge Tomé

**Cyrille Soliman

end of the film—
only thing he remembers
her delicate scent

Rickey Rivers Jnr writes a couple of pieces that just take me back to black and white films. Romantic ones… Where do they take you?

Rickey Rivers Junior

Narration in text,
quiet dialogue,
gray romance.


A film life,
projection of fantasies,
imagination captured.

Now another poet new to the podcast but who many of you will know. **Craig Kittner. Craig is currently guest editor on the haiku Foundation’s what’s at hand series. He lives in North Carolina, close to the Cape Fear River. Now that was a film, remember that?

He’s a theatre enthusiast like me, but he has taken his love further, performing and writing for theatre.

Of writing haiku he says “Every rule I can think of has been effectively broken by someone at some time. Writers just need to be open to what’s around them and cultivate the ability to speak about what moves them simply and compassionately. Trust that your readers are out there, waiting for your work.”

I’d like to add something to that. It’s about submitting to publications. Not every editor will like your work, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad piece of work. Take another look at it, if it’s been rejected. Perhaps it does need a tweak, if so make it. Then have confidence and send it to another editor.

He is another person who recommends David G. Lanoue’s book Write Like Issa, a haiku how-to. I must admit to having a love of Issa’s work.

**Craig Kittner

peeking out
from behind the sofa
creature feature

The first definitely resonated with me. As a kid, my family loved Dr Who but I was scared. I was the child behind the sofa.

at the end
we begin
the wait for a sequel

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I begin the wait for a sequel as soon as I hear the film is coming out. Bonkers!

If you’d like to read more from Craig, there’s a link to his poetry chap book “Time’s Sweet Saviour”.

And don’t forget to check out the haiku foundation dialogue, what’s at hand. You might have haiku and opinions to share.

Following on from one new guest to another, this time **Kim Russell, from Norfolk in the UK. Kim is another Londoner who has spent time in Ireland and Germany.

Kim writes haiku every day as a limbering up exercise before writing other forms of poetry and short stories. You can read her blog, which she updates everyday. Details in the notes, along with details of her chapbooks.

Normally Kim’s garden is a source of inspiration for her haiku. It sounds absolutely charming. She has a variety of trees, shrubs, birds and animals, including deer. Perhaps it will inspire her to write for next months topic, “weeds” or as some of you have pointed out, “wildflowers”. Deadline 13th May.

She has a recommendation for a resource I’ve not mentioned before, but it is something I have enjoyed, that is Carpe Diem. Check it out if you don’t already know it.

**Kim Russell

great escape
safe in plush-cushioned darkness
scented with popcorn

The use of synesthesia is, I think, superb. I feel the cocooning of the velvety seats and I smell the popcorn. Do you?

all those faces
turn towards the silver screen

Sometimes I would like to watch the audience rather than the film. I’ve been to some stinkers recently.

This might be a good time to give you my effort. I went to see Mary Poppins at Christmas. I took the kids, when I say kids, they are in their twenties. They were two of the youngest people there. Most people were around my age, people for whom Mary Poppins was an essential part of their childhood. Did you see it? As a film I enjoyed it, I listen to the music on spotify, but Emily Blunt, as good as she was, played Mary Poppins all wrong for me. She put Mary into the wrong class. Perhaps this is just a British quibble, but really Mary Poppins is not a burlesque artist…

So having got that off my chest here is my very imperfect verse:

velvet womb
baby boomers return
to Mary Poppins

m shane pruett firstly reminds us of simpler times with his take on westerns. I wish there were more contemporary westerns.

m shane pruett

old west
the line between good and bad
black and white

and then this which I found rather amusing and yet heartbreaking

my own romcom
trying to kiss her
after the movie

Let me introduce another poet new to the podcast **Sarah Ziman. She is Welsh but now lives in England, working as a freelance proofreader. This sounds like my perfect job, either that or librarian or as the host in a cafe/performance studio/ bookshop. She is currently working on a collection of poems for children, but she also writes for adults. She says she “enjoys the sparse nature of haiku, and the challenge of painting a picture in just a handful of syllables” but is still learning the various forms.  I don’t think you ever stop learning, do you?

**Sarah Ziman

lacking his partner
a small world in monochrome
shrinks to Fred Astaire

It is inspired by Sarah’s grandfather. she reveals, “My always taciturn grandfather spoke even less after my grandmother died. He always watched old dance films.” Thanks for sharing that Sarah.

Mineko Takahashi writing from Japan shares something that struck me as culturally interesting as well as carefully crafted:

Mineko Takahashi

small theatre
the tall man squeezes
himself into a seat

Richard Bailly, initially tells us a story of something which has become very important in today’s world.

Richard Bailly

film preservation
digitizing cellulose
maintaining memory

and then perhaps a comment on plot development?

chamber of horrors
square of random violence
brave intervention

This refers to what, in Richard’s opinion, is one of the most powerful films ever made, starring Liam Neeson–Schindler’s List.

Robert Horrobin has started to experiment with monoku. Something I will come back to in another podcast.

The thing I often enjoy about monoku is the way you read them,so much can change depending on where you put the pause.

Robert Horrobin

back row Romeo and Juliet kiss unseen


midnight repeats
the dead walk again
and again

What is your favourite film in this genre? Mine I think has to be Shaun of the Dead

Well that’s it for this week. I think we can say that for a topic most of us found hard, we did a pretty good job, don’t you think?

My thanks as always to everyone who submitted and to everyone who listened. I do enjoy having your company and of course your feedback. Email me or tweet.

I have a favour to ask of you this week. I don’t use facebook. Just never got to grips with it. If you do, do you think you could mention the podcast in your feed? I’d be terribly grateful.

Next month our topic is weeds, you have til the 13th May to get your submissions to me please. Please email them, I can’t cope with tweeted submissions.

In a couple of weeks I have a full podcast, another opinion piece, a book review and a special guest feature. Hope you’ll join me.

Until then, keep writing….


**Mariela Gonzalez:
If you want to follow her haiku, search for MCoromoto Haiku on facebook.

Ernesto P Santiago
Living Haiku Anthology Page
The Haiku Foundation Poets Profile

John Hawkhead
My twitter account: @HawkheadJohn
Small Shadows
haiku and senryu
John Hawkhead
ISBN 9781910185537
Paperback 106pp
Publication: December 2016
£12 / €14 / $15
To order:

Mark Gilbert
The Haiku Foundation Poet’s registry

Andy Syor

Katherine E Winnick

**Alan Summers

Karen Hoy, has now created three incredible courses covering beginners who can be quality fast tracked, the intermediate continues to be more and more exciting, finding new voices, and also new voices in people writing haiku for a while.

The ultimate course is The Sound of Haiku which pulls in everything Karen knows as a former sound recording expert for wildlife and urban documentaries, and her poetry background, as well as haiku background:

 They now have what Alan dreamed about, and that’s the complete package for anyone to move from complete novice (even about poetry in general) all the way through.

Alan also offers one to one skype calls so that might work for you too.

I know there will be a stunning live event coming up soon. Alan is keeping it under wraps at the moment, but perhaps if you sign up for the newsletter you will be one of the first to hear about it.

His and Karen’s website

Alan’s Blog

**Craig Kittner
Twitter: @craigkittner
Craig’s book: Time’s Sweet Saviour:
The Haiku Foundation: Haiku Dialogue -What’s at hand

**Kim Russell
Her website: Writing in north Norfolk
Twitter @kim88110

She has had poetry published on a number of websites and in anthologies, including the dVerse Poets anthology, Chiaroscuro – Darkness and Light, and two published by The Emma Press: Anthology of Aunts and Second Place Rosette.

m shane pruett

Twitter @HaikuMyBrew

**Sarah Ziman
Twitter @SarahZiman

Mineko Takahashi

Instagram sites teaching Japanese Idioms “your_private_japanese_tutor” and “ur_japanese_tutor” which teaches Japanese characters
FB account @yourjapanesetutor which discusses many facets of the language from the viewpoint of a foreign learner.


**Denotes a poet new to the podcast



Series 2 Episode 8: Filmku

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