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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 04 April 2024 — Dr Anna Cates, featured poet

Updated: Apr 5

hosts: Vidya Shankar & Shalini Pattabiraman

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Dr Anna Cates

04 April 2024


Dr Anna Cates


Anna Cates is a graduate of Indiana State University (M.A. English and Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction/English) and National University (M.F.A. Creative Writing). She teaches college writing and literature and graduate education online. Her haiku have won first place in the Caribbean Kigo Kukai Contest, European Quarterly Kukai Contest, Indian Kukai Contest, and Ohio Poetry Day’s Haiku for Betty Contest. Her haibun won first place in the Cattails UHTS Contest.  Her other poetry awards include first place in Indiana State University’s Arion Poetry Contest, co-first place in Ohio Poetry Day’s Welcome Aboard Contest, and Ohio Poetry Day’s Evan Lodge Workshop Contest Award. Her poetry has been nominated for the Touchstone Awards, Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and the Dwarf Stars, Elgin, and Rhysling awards. Her books include The Meaning of Life (Cyberwit Press), The Frog King (Cyberwit Press), The Darkroom (Prolific Press), The Golem & the Nazi (Red Moon Press), The Journey (Wipf & Stock), the Illumination Book Award winner Love in the Time of Covid (Wipf & Stock), The Poison Tree:  A Peace Play (Wipf & Stock), Little Black Box:  Poetry from Ohio (Wipf & Stock), Electric Cat City:  A Poesy (Red Moon Press), and 39 Triolets:  A Chapbook (Cyberwit Press, 2023). She resides in Wilmington, Ohio, with her beautiful kitties, Freddie and Fifi. 


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VS: Welcome to The Haibun Gallery, Anna. We are honoured to feature you and your work all through this month.

 

Could you tell us briefly about your day job as a college lecturer teaching writing, literature and education? While we understand that haikai would probably be tiny portion in the vast syllabus of literature, what role does it play in your teaching of writing?


AC: Since 2003, I have been an online instructor. The first school that employed me online was Florida Metropolitan University. For them, I taught courses like English Composition I and II, Introduction to American Literature, and Strategies for Success. The second school I began to teach for, Southern New Hampshire University, hired me to teach similar courses. Eventually, when Liberty University hired me in 2007, I began to teach graduate education courses. To date, I have taught online, part-time and intermittently, for about ten different schools, a combination of undergraduate and graduate level writing, literature, and education courses. 


When I have taught creative writing workshop courses, I have been able to discuss haiku and other short forms.  But in most of my courses, the topic doesn’t come up because the focus is another type of writing, such as fiction or expository writing, or a different subject entirely, such as education. However, in general, writing and publishing helps me model for and mentor my students, and keeps me current on research methods.  Sometimes, I post a “just sharing” announcement for my students with a link to something of mine that has been recently published.  My students are interested in these kinds of activities of mine, and so, writing helps me build rapport. 


I think that haiku could play a bigger role than it does in education, not only in language arts but also in second language acquisition.


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Who

 

can bend space and time

like an iron rod, electrify

dry wood into serpentine

remember your future

when what you thought a threat

becomes not even sacrifice,

only forgiveness, peace . . .

 

shooting stars deepening blue serenity

 

Star*Line 47.1 (Winter 2024): p. 24

 

Observations:

 

This haibun has none of the ‘conventions’ of the form. The title runs into the prose section, except that where there usually is a prose narrative, she has written free verse. And the concluding ku is a one-liner. It’s not that any of these techniques are new to or uncommon in a haibun. What makes this work stand out is that she has used them all in the same poem.

 

The Toll

 

branches of Thursday

crashing into vertigo

. . . after the blast

the cold haze limps

into a civilian . . .

 

first daffodils

fleeing into the steppes

a homeless cat

 

a sparrow sings

on a broken limb . . .

bodies

 

bomb crater

filling the hollow

common yarrow

 

Modern Haiku 54.3 (Autumn 2023): p. 83 (Nominated for a Touchstone Award)

 

VS: Congratulations on this nomination, Anna. I love the unconventional combination of a tanka and haiku/senryu where the tanka takes the place of prose. While reading through your work, I was fascinated by how you go full-on to take advantage of haibun’s adaptable nature. Does your role as a college lecturer teaching writing and literature influence you in your haibun writing? I am sure our members would like to hear about your unconventional style in general and these two haibun in particular.


AC: Teaching, reading, and studying literature has impacted how I write. You write what you read—there’s much truth to that saying. What has been most helpful to my poetry writing is studying broadly modern to contemporary poetry, and poetry in general. I also focus on what’s being published now, especially for short form poetry. I have subscribed to, and read, Modern Haiku and Frogpond for about ten years now, and I also read from other worthy online and hard copy publications of haibun and related forms. I am also a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, which also features some of my writing, and I like to explore their publications and contest winners. 

           

I have noted that many publishers appreciate innovation and experimentality in poetry, and ambiguity and opaqueness are very much in keeping with diverse styles of contemporary poetry in general. I often strive for originality. 


I wanted The Toll to convey the confused dismay a person feels when experiencing the evils of war, and the poem shows my bias toward practicing peace. I essentially combined a tanka with a haiku sequence to derive at a haibun. I sometimes structure the prose section of my haibun more like poetry. This is just a stylistic variation of the form.

           

Who is, in part, a subtle expression of my faith. It suggests God. But there’s an openness to the interpretation; otherwise, I don’t think Star*Line would have published it. There is so much fascinating mystery to our universe that sometimes we just ask questions in a climate of mystification rather than itemizing solid answers. I structured Who as a short poem followed by a monoku. Both the monoku and the more poem-like arrangement for the prose sections is, as with The Toll, a variation of the haibun form.        

 


Prompt for members:


Which of Anna's stylistic features would you want to use to break from your own conventional style of writing? We would love to read your experiments with this form.

Haibun outside this prompt can also be posted!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Important: Since we're swamped with submissions, and our editors are only human, mistakes can happen. Please, please, remember to put your name, followed by your country, below each poem, even after revisions. It helps our editors; they won't have to type it in, saving them from potential typos. Thanks a ton!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


PLEASE NOTE:

1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt. Please put your name and country of residence under your poem, it makes the editors' work easier. Thanks.

2. Share your best-polished pieces.

3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written.

Let it simmer for a while.

4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version.

5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.


We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.

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523 views64 comments

64件のコメント


Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
6 days ago

ANNOUNCEMENT!!

The selected poems for haikuKATHA, ISSUE 30 is up on CELEBRATION!!

https://www.trivenihaikai.in/post/celebration

いいね!

revised:


Mother’s Apron


her rubber gloves

plunge into the hot suds

first the glasses

rim down

then knives forks spoons plates

begin to pile up

on the dish rack

rivulets of rinse water

shimmering

down the drain

“Dry these,”

she says before I can

escape outside


sunny windowsill—

a fistful of Queen Anne’s lace

in tinted water


Linda Papanicolaou, US


originally posted:

Mother’s Apron


her rubber gloves

plunge into the hot suds

first the glasses

rim down

then knives forks spoons plates

begin to pile up

on the dish rack

rivulets of rinse water

shimmering

down the drain


“Dry these,”

she says before I can

escape outside


sunny windowsill—

a fistful of Queen Anne’s lace

in tinted water


(Trying Anna’s…

いいね!
返信先

Thank you for your feedback, Alfred. I am an adherent of traditional haiku and would never take that tercet at the end of the free verse as a haiku, but indentation is worth considering. Or, eliminate that double line break before the tercet. Thanks.


いいね!

#2 4-6-24


I See a Bad Moon A-risin'


We all know that full moons have a powerful effect on our natural world and on we humans. Tides, cycles, moods, etc. We know from personal experience that the effects of a solar eclipse is just as powerful. Our world darkens, birds hush, dogs cower and children look directly at the sun, with or without flimsy "solor glasses" on their faces. So let's just picture a solar eclipse during a school day in an elementary school ... on the first day of standardized state testing. Not sure what brilliant person planned this one. I'm holding my breath for Monday.


concentric circles

line of totality

dark side of the moon


Jennifer Gurney, US

いいね!
返信先

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

いいね!

Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
4月05日

Welcome, Anna!

Brilliant poems and answers.

Thanks, Vidya.

いいね!

C.X. Turner
C.X. Turner
4月05日

5/4/24 #1


Scumbling

 

viridian green

across a piece of paperbark

maple, colour crumbles

beneath fingernails and a smooth

boiled pear drop sticks

to the roof of

my mouth.


The soft blend of

sunset yellow with flesh ochre

smears a slight smile

across a melancholic world

and the air is

full of

blackfly.

 

bleeding heart flower

nothing left

to lose


C.X. Turner, UK


(Feedback welcome. *Scumbling refers in this case to a technique where oil pastels are used to build up highlights on top of a dark background).

いいね!
C.X. Turner
C.X. Turner
4月06日
返信先

Thank you! I wish I had...