About HaikuDanmark

The Haiku Group

The Haiku Group of the Danish Authors Society was initiated by Hanne Hansen in 2001. At the first meeting on the 1st of February 2001 Kate Larsen, Niels Kjær and Hanne Hansen participated. At the second meeting the 16 of September  2001, Sys Matthiesen joined the group.

From a slow start with only a few members the Haiku Group has now about 40 members, mainly from the Danish Authors Society.

On the occasion of the 5th anniversary in 2006, the Danish Authors Society donated the home page, which you are visiting now, to the Haiku Group, a long desired gift.

Establishment of The Haiku Group and The Haiku Network 1.1.2007
Haikugruppens første styrelse

The first meeting of the group was on February 1, 2001, with Kate Larsen, Niels Kjær, and Hanne Hansen in attendance. The three recited haikus to each other. The second meeting was on September 16, 2001, which Sys Matthiesen also attended. Here, Hanne Hansen gave a presentation on “Haiku in Danish.”

As of January 1, 2007, the haiku group has become a group within the Danish Authors’ Society. It includes those members of the society who are interested in haiku. In connection with the haiku group, there is a haiku network with members outside the Danish Authors’ Society who are interested in this particular form of poetry. The haiku group and network currently have about fifty members.

Interest in haiku has been strongly increasing in Denmark over the past year. More is being written and read than ever before. We hope to strengthen and develop this interest through this website with articles about haiku and related subjects, as well as reviews of newly published books – and with newly written haikus.

Haikudanmark.dk is updated every four months: in February, May, August, November.

We thank the Danish Authors’ Society for their support and interest in this somewhat special, but truly unique form of poetry—a discipline that most poets will benefit from engaging in at least during periods of their lives.

The Haiku Group of the Danish Authors Society

Hanne Hansen was on a trip to Japan in 1990 to study haiku, and when she returned, she called for others interested in haiku and participating in haiku competitions in the Authors’ newsletter. We became a small group that participated several times, and Viggo Madsen was lucky to win a bag of tea. In 2000, Hanne Hansen went to England for a meeting in the British Haiku Society and wrote an article from the stay, which was published in the Authors’ newsletter. Based on this, four of us, namely Niels Kjær, Kate Larsen, Sys Matthiesen, and Hanne Hansen, met in 2001 to form a haiku group affiliated with the poetry group in the Danish Authors’ Society. We took turns giving lectures to each other, and gradually the group gained the status of an independent group in the Society. This led to more intensive studies, theoretical lectures on haiku and other Japanese poetry forms such as renga, haibun, tanka, and a website was created thanks to member Ole Bungaard. In 2008, Colin Blundell from the British Haiku Society held an excellent workshop on writing haiku. We also received help in learning to write renga from the resident Dick Pettit. Additionally, we cooperated extensively with Sweden, an endeavor that continues. We were invited to symposia in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium. The group has been on many exciting ginko walks, including in the Botanical Garden, the Arboretum in Charlottenlund, at Kronborg, in the Karen Blixen Museum, and a fantastic trip to Hven with the good ship Anton from the Living Sea and high waves, made possible thanks to Skipper Knud Andersen and one of our members, Ib Ivar Dahl, among others. In 2012, we managed to arrange a reading event with EU politician Herman van Rompuy, who was visiting Denmark for another reason but took the time to share his own haiku. The group’s dream project was a trip to Japan, but due to various obstacles, only Bo Lille was able to go. He forged many international connections. Our external activities have included readings and workshops, many of them in elementary schools, high schools, and language schools.

Publications Sys Matthiesen edited our first anthology “Small Silhouettes” in 2005. Bjarne Kim Pedersen, poet and publisher for Ravnerock Publishing, was the secretary of the haiku group for many years and was also the ongoing editor of many of the haiku group’s anthologies:

Leaves in the Wind 2011 Danish Haiku Today 2012 There is a Lovely Country – H.C. Andersen 2013 Danish Haiku Today 2013, version 2, ebook, 2019 Devil’s Dandelions 2021

Additionally, Ulla Conrad, chair from 2021, has been in charge of the journal “Goldsmith” since May 2022, which is published twice a year. Thorvald Berthelsen has, among other things, contributed with “Danish Haiku and Modernism – The Literary History of Haiku in Denmark 2021.”

Niels Kjær has made haiku accessible to the ordinary Danish reader by translating haiku directly from Japanese to Danish. He started with Basho in 2010 and has currently published 10 translations of Japanese haiku works. The haiku group has contributed to making haiku, from being something especially high-culture, part of the curriculum in Danish schools.

Hanne Hansen