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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 11th May '23 — a Thursday feature

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

poet of the month: Lew Watts

11th May 2023

Happy to present Lew Watts and there's a lot waiting for you this month!

Who is this haibuneer, who won the Touchstone Award for his haibun, 'Spacial Concept: Waiting' ?

Lew Watts is the author of Tick-Tock, a haibun collection that received an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s 2020 Merit Book Awards, and Eira (in press), a collection of haiku and haibun (both from Snapshot Press). Lew is also the co-author, with Roberta Beary and Rich Youmans, of Haibun: A Writer's Guide (Ad Hoc Fiction, forthcoming). He is the haibun co-editor of Frogpond and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bristol University in 2016. Born and raised in Wales, he now lives in Chicago with his wife, Roxanne Decyk. His other passions are fly fishing and gin martinis.

We asked Lew some questions and he has been kind to answer them. The second answer will wake you up! THG:

2. How do you translate experience into writing? I wrote and published free verse and formal poetry long before discovering Japanese forms in 2010. For my early haibun, I told stories about my Welsh past and my time living abroad in many countries. But there was always something lurking in the shadows. The first time it appeared was in a haiku that literally flew onto the page. It was so shocking (and true) that I wanted to take it back—too late! Since then, I have been able to surface many memories that had been buried—in that respect, haibun has been a savior for me. Nowadays, I write about experiences and wait . . . and wait . . . for insight or truth to emerge in one or more haiku.


1961 garbled words from space my father back from the pub

1962 click of a stopwatch again last under the desk

1963 nicking a Beano from the newsstand JFK dead

1964 Beatles land in New York creeping downstairs

1965 early hours a phantom punch in the first round


Rumors throughout the school. Older boys picked up at the gates by fathers. Classes cancelled. Walking home through silent streets. Our front door ajar. A note from Dad that he’s gone to help, back in a couple of days. Grabbing an apple. Cycling past the biscuit factory, into Roath, then Llanishen, heading for Merthyr. A puncture in the dark. A chill in the air. A police car taking me home. The helplessness. The fear. The dark.

surfacing my body picked clean by crows

Presence, 72. 2022


Storytelling has various avatars. Have you ever tried to plug into a style that you have never tried before? Did you notice these short sentences? and still, the storyline is not lost. Give us a haibun which is full of punch, vigour and vitality!


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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