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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 15th February 2024 — Dru Philippou, featured poet

hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman & Vidya Shankar

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Dru Philippou

15th February 2024

This month we have the pleasure of featuring Dru Philippou, a multiple award winning writer with a strong and unique voice. 

Dru Philippou was born on the island of Cyprus, raised in London and currently lives in northern New Mexico, USA. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado. She writes haiku, tanka, haibun, and tanka prose. An award winning poet, her work is widely published and anthologised. She has also written two featured creative essays regarding haiku "Haiku Geometry" and "HaikuHolograms" Her haibun "Afterlife" won first place in the Haiku Society of America’s 2021 Haibun Awards. Also, her haibun "Pilgrimage" won first place in 2023 in the same contest. In 2022, she published her first collection of poetry,  A Place to Land, a memoir written entirely in tanka prose. 

Dru Philippou


Pushing the mop in a figure-eight, a custodian washes the floor. Waves build, crash against the front of his bucket as he rolls it on quiet castors across the tiles. Yellow A-frames warn Caution: Wet Floor, while travelers rush past him, tracking in more dirt with wheeled suitcases, on their way to Bora Bora, the Bahamas, Tahiti.

evening break 

stars unspool 

across the sky

*Originally appeared as an Honorable Mention in the Genjuan International Haibun contest, 2017.

Source: Getaways

Observations: I admire the way Dru looks at the mundane. She builds a narrative, she adds pathos, and makes the image do more than just look striking. Consider the first line where she describes the mop as moving in ‘figure-eight’ or think of the way she describes the flouncing movement of water as the mop is dropped into the bucket as waves that build and crash. Consider the contrast she builds with ‘as he rolls it on quiet castors’. In her writing, one sees an efficient control over language, that is deliberate and purposeful. 

SP: In “Getaways,” I see how you build a narrative while always keeping the “I” the observer out of the frame. The embodiment of “show, don’t tell” is carried out with such delicate craft. I absolutely love your work. You display a diversity of subjects and there is a strong sense of voice in your work, the emotion is tightly reined in and after reading, the feeling remains inside, feeding, lingering for a while [I mean days, months]. 

DP: Removing the “I” in “Getaways” allows the reader to become its coauthor, inviting freedom of interpretation. Yet, even without the “I,” in well-written prose, the narrator shows through. It’s what you call the writer’s voice. His or her distinctive, individual way of observing the world and relating to it. It reveals itself in the choice of subject matter, the choice of details, metaphors, images, turns of phrase, and the emotional tone of the piece.

With regards to “show, don’t tell,” I prefer reticence to a big show of emotion in poetry. If you write well, understatement and indirection will make your point with greater power.

The emotional tone in “Getaways” comes through not only in its simple and straightforward narration but also in its choice of words and actions, in its showing, not telling. In the contrast between the custodian and the travelers, and in the choices the poet made to write about these particular characters and more. 

Prompt: For this week's prompt, consider bringing to the forefront the experiences of someone who works behind the scenes or celebrate someone who never gets celebrated, or acknowledge the work of someone who quietly makes it easy for you to do what you want to do. 

Haibun outside this prompt is welcome too

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!



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.


537 views159 comments


Revision #1


Thank you @joanna ashwell and @Shalini Pattabiraman for your valuable feedback.

Chance Occurence

I saw her at the metro railway station, reading a book. To my surprise, she was reading the same book that I was planning to read while I was on my journey. The book was in my bag. Before I could strike up a conversation, my train came, and I rushed to board it. She was deeply engrossed in the book, even as my train moved. 

Chances of seeing her again are rare, I thought as I looked out of the window, trying to find her amidst the crowd as the train gathered speed.

tumult of tourists

at the waterfall subsided— 

cascading moonbeams 


Replying to

Very true. Thank you.


#1 off-prompt gembun

how I lost 50 lb in one day …

trimming the fat

shreds of my life

returned to the forest

Bonnie J Scherer, USA

Feedback welcome 🙂


#2 2-19-24


You came to school on crutches, just days after surgery, to read with our students. You could have stayed home and rested, we would have understood. But you came anyway. You came a week or two after losing your father-in-law unexpectedly. We would have understood if you needed to rest your weary heart, but you came anyway. You came in the midst of moving house, although we would have understood if you’d canceled that week. I am a bit in awe of you.

week by week

amidst life’s tribulations

you give

Jennifer Gurney, US




The night unfolds gracefully over the hills, a tranquil embrace. Bales of hay punctuate the sparse vegetation, accompanied by the crows' final cawing as if time itself were dwindling. In the lawns, boys weave stories with their spirited football match. Amidst this scene, I grapple with uncertainty, attempting to find the elusive direction in my writing.

purple sky —

what palette paints

the moon today?

Nalini Shetty


feedback welcome

Replying to

Thank you Joanna...


#1, 19/02, gembun

how irritating are the loose and baseless talks . . .

focusing precisely

an eagle snatches a fish

from the rough sea

Lakshmi Iyer, India

feedback please

Replying to

Good one Lakshmi.

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