There is a brand new haiku journal on the scene. Issue #1 of Kingfisher was released in July 2020.
Kingfisher will be produced twice yearly by Tanya McDonald from Washington State in the USA. Tanya describes Kingfisher as ‘a print journal of traditional and experimental haiku and senryu’.
Kingfisher is beautifully produced in landscape format with front cover artwork by Jessica Sebok. The journal of almost 100 pages could be described as ‘hand-bag’ size. It’s perfect for slipping out of a bag and reading on a park bench, or while travelling on public transport.
Inside, the focus is on the poems. There are no essays, no book reviews; just the poems, laid out two to a page. This arrangement encourages the reader to spend time with each poem. Not rushing on down the page to subsequent poems, which can occur in other journals where more poems are presented per page.
As promised, many of the haiku are quite traditional in format. Often comprising a phrase and fragment written in three lines with a reference to nature. These are interspersed with other poems which, while not excessively experimental, are less traditional in content, format or style. When read in sequence, the diversity of voices brings an energy to the collection as a whole.
lights of a fishing fleet
spread across the night sea
old enough to be a table for one
rain all day
still the air reeks
of bushfire smoke
one bon mot
paring my nails on the edge of wilderness
Opening the very first issue of a journal is a hopeful experience, bringing a sense of anticipation. Not just anticipation of the poems within, but of the poems to come in future issues.
The first issue of Kingfisher is already a joy to read, with pleasing presentation and seamless editing of the varied poems.
Combining a range of poetic styles, from traditional to experimental, in a format which enhances the enjoyment of each poem, Kingfisher is a welcome addition to the English-language haiku scene.
Subscriptions are available from the Kingfisher journal website.