17 Nov 2018

BHS Winter Gathering and AGM 2018
Conway Hall, London


At the BHS Annual General Meeting on 17th November 2018 in London results of the biennial election were announced. The Management Committee for 2019-21 is: President, Colin Blundell; General Secretary, Susan Lee Kerr; Treasurer, Paul Hickey; Membership Secretary, Frank Williams; Blithe Spirit Editor, Caroline Skanne; Editorthe brief : Debbi Antebi; Communications Officer, Iliyana Stoyanova; Members without Portfolio: David Bingham, Mark Gilfillan; Mentoring Service: Andrew Shimield

BHS is in very good financial shape and membership is the highest ever, 379 people. This is mainly due to social media and the BHS website. The BHS Facebook group has 1278 members and the BHS page has 2069 likes. The Society is now fully compliant with the new 2018 Data Protection legislation.

Outreach and links to other societies included: London/South East regional group meeting by The National Poetry Library as a regular venue and liaising with Andy Bungay of Wandsworth Radio to promote haiku and the BHS. Wagamama haiku workshops in Liverpool, Chelmsford and London. Collaboration with Bulgarian haiku societies, contact with the UHTS (United Haiku and Tanka Society) and Blithe Spirit articles featuring poets of the Polish Haiku Association and the African haiku network.








Music, trains and words were strands of the 2018 Winter Gathering at London’s Conway Hall on 17 November compered by David Bingham. In the first of four activities Colin Blundell challenged groups with Haiku for Musicalising. From given haiku, members created  musical moods using a range of simple percussion and voices: crinkling plastic cups, small drums, woo-woo sounds, stamping feet, thumb pianos, bells and whistles. Rain fell, winds blew, fireworks burst, loudspeakers crackled…

The Sound of Haiku, a guest presentation, provided a different musical mode. Marco Alessi played nine recordings of experimental electronic music inspired by traditional Japanese poetry. Naviar Records is a music community and label he leads which invites composers to participate online http://www.naviarrecords.com 

Marco Alessi from Naviar Records

Marco Alessi from Naviar Records

The sound of haiku in Bulgarian was introduced by Iliyana Stoyanova. Members read works which appeared in Beyond Words, a Bulgarian-English anthology published this year by the Bulgarian Haiku Union and Haiku Club Plovdiv with some sponsorship by BHS. Iliyana re-read the same pieces in Bulgarian, a demonstration of how one language can take more – or fewer – words and syllables to express the same poem. 

Sue Richards

Sue Richards

At the end of the day came a Haiku Train conducted by Iliyana. Haiku trains are a form of renshi – a modern development of renga and renku with participants in small groups writing collaborative poetry. From the starts of two different haiku many different ‘trains’ resulted. A word from the final line in each haiku – or several words or the whole line – must be in the first line of the next haiku.

Spot the links in this one from Team Squash: David Bingham, Kate B Hall, Sarah Lawson, Sprite.

a veil of snowflakes
covers the hedge
the cat flap opens

Frank Williams

Frank Williams

in a flap…
late for work, still searching
for lost car keys

a streetcar named desire –
all the movies I never saw
and never will

quote the raven ‘Nevermore’
and flew away
from the Tower

Outgoing President Kate B Hall was presented with a gift in appreciation of her service

Outgoing President Kate B Hall was presented with a gift in appreciation of her service

towering above the snowfield
a pine reaches
for the sky

watching sky-divers
I pine for my youth
in dare-devil mode

Write-up by Susan Lee Kerr
Photos: Frank Williams, Mike Keville




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