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Blithe Spirit

About Blithe Spirit
    The name of the Journal of the British Haiku Society comes of course from Shelley’s Ode to a Skylark. But there’s more to it than that. It celebrates R H Blyth, who did so much to bring haiku to the West; he relates it tellingly to a whole range of English Literature where he finds the spirit of haiku as in this ‘found poem’ from Shelley’s Ode:-

          in the broad daylight
          thou art unseen
          but yet I hear thy shrill delight

One of the core beliefs of the BHS is that, whatever else it may be, haiku is essentially poetry.

The first ‘volume’ of Blithe Spirit came out in 1991: it was duplicated on stapled A4 sheets. A more substantial journal, perfect bound, made by hand, taking one person 27 hours to make 235 copies — a circulation that has remained more or less constant for ten years, often rising to 300 — came out between 1992 and 1995. The journal was a stapled booklet between then and 1998 when the number of pages doubled to 64 and it became glossy and more professional.

The Journal has always contained lively authoritative articles on all aspects of the writing and appreciation of haiku and related forms; members’ thoughts and a steady flow of haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun and renku are regular certainties in each issue. Discussion has been free-flowing, informative and often controversial.

The British Haiku Society exists to foster the appreciation of haiku and related forms amongst the general public, to define and maintain high standards in their writing. It initiates and supports publications, conferences, tutorials and workshops with exchanges of poems between members, offers critical comment to new members and gives assistance to teachers in schools and colleges through its Haiku Kit. All these activities find a focus and outlet in Blithe Spirit.

Colin Blundell

Annual membership of the British Haiku Society (standard subscription in UK £27, £22 concessionary — airmail to Europe £30; rest of the world £38) includes four issues of Blithe Spirit (cover-dated March, June, September, December) and a regular newsletter (The Brief) advertising world-wide events and competitions amongst other things. Subscription to the magazine alone costs £22 a year in UK. All enquiries about membership should be sent to The Membership Secretary, Steve Mason, The Basement 67A Offord Road, London, N1 1EA.

The Editor welcomes submissions of poems (a maximum of ten for each issue) articles from full members of the British Haiku Society on the understanding that these are not under consideration elsewhere. Please provide publication details of any item submitted which has already appeared in print. Poetry will not normally be held over from one issue of the journal to the next. Copyright reverts to the author on publication, Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope or JRC with each submission for a print-out of choices for proof-reading before the next date of publication.