THE HAIBUN GALLERY 10 March — a Thursday feature

hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman & Shobhana Kumar

10th March

For those who have been writing and reading haibun, Paresh Tiwari needs no introduction. Here's a writer who bends the rules, plays with language and experiments with craft.

Poet, writer, artist, and editor Paresh Tiwari has been widely published, especially in the sub-genre of Japanese poetry. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has published two widely acclaimed collections of poetry – An inch of Sky & Raindrops Chasing Raindrops. His second collection of haibun is the recipient of the ‘Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards – 2017’. His works are being used as cornerstones for close reading and creative discussions by readers across the world.

He has co-edited the landmark International Haibun Anthology, Red River Book of Haibun, Vol 1, in 2019 and an anthology of erotic poetry, The Shape of a Poem, in 2021. Paresh was the resident cartoonist for Cattails, a journal by United haiku and tanka society, USA and the serving haibun editor of the online literary magazine Narrow Road, a tri-annual publication.

Paresh has read his works at various literature festivals including Hyderabad Literature Festival, Kalaghoda festival and the Goa Art and Lit Fest. He has also conducted haibun workshops at venues across India in an attempt to dismantle the boundaries that keep the various forms of poetry and literature from sharing the same spaces.

Reading Poetry at a Cafe

It has been raining flowers all night long.

This should have been a poem in itself. Only it isn’t, for they are everywhere now. These pearl-pale petals. On the wet tarmac, the metallic roofs of cars, and under the sticky rubber of wiper blades. Even the brick-lined drain that curves along the road is full of them.

There’s one on the toe of my left shoe. And I cannot bring myself to peel it away.

morning after

the beginnings of a poem

in a sugar sachet

Sometimes, I look up from the book – Mary Oliver’s Blue Horses – arrested by her lack of frivolities and notice the swollen breath of the coffee machine.

The light from the window slants over the barista’s hand, turning his fluid movements into a shadow dance. He etches a latte froth with heart. Another one with a leaf.

An old man in the corner watches the ocean framed in a two-by-three glass. A couple on the centre-table sits in silence; which could be heavy or comfortable, depending largely on how you spent your day before coming here.

And you at the far end, your back pressed against the wall. I notice you keep stealing glances at the petal making love to my left shoe.

almost night . . .

a stray curled around

its shadow

Paresh Tiwari


Paresh writes with a careful attendance to craft. He never wastes a word. The economy with which he writes is inspiring, yet he captures details lyrically. There is a keen sense of observation that often pairs the banal with something deeper. This pairing makes his link and shift transformative for the reader. Notice how he does this in this haibun.

For the prompt this week, pay attention to the pairing of ideas. Use something mundane like rain, or a bus ride, or a visit to the haat and pair it with an unusual experience that changes the meaning or direction. Find the extraordinary in the ordinary!

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


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