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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 16 May 2024 — Cynthia Anderson, featured poet

hosts: Kala Ramesh & Firdaus Parvez

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Cynthia Anderson

16 May 2024

Cynthia Anderson

Cynthia Anderson has published 13 poetry collections, most recently The Far Mountain (Wise Owl Publications, 2024), Arrival (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2023), and Full Circle (Cholla Needles Press, 2022). Her poems appear frequently in journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Touchstone Awards. Cynthia is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. She has lived in California for over 40 years.


Cynthia grew up in Connecticut and attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1974-75 as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. She completed her B.A. in Literature at the College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in poetry. Her senior honors thesis explored the poet George Oppen’s final book, Primitive. She spent her career as an editor and publications coordinator, retiring in 2015. After a lifetime of writing long form free verse, she took up short form poetry in earnest in 2020 and since then has garnered over 600 publication credits for her haiku, senryu, cherita, tanka, and haibun. Two of her haibun appeared in the Red Moon Contemporary Haibun anthologies: “Formerly Known as Ion” in Vol. 17 and “Facing the Music” in Vol. 19. Two of her haiku appeared in the Red Moon haiku anthologies for 2021 and 2023.

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Nearly every day, I walk the vacant lots just south of my house. There’s a view across the valley I never tire of, heightened by memories of hiking the wilderness on the other side. In thrall to that distance, I never noticed the fallen sign a few feet off the path—gray, splitting, weathered in place. Someone took care to outline the words THIS WAY in fanciful script on the crosspiece, as though directing visitors to a hobbit house. But these lots are open desert and always have been—nothing here but jackrabbits, coyotes, and scrub jays squawking in the Joshua trees.


eye of Mordor

a knot in the wood

stares back at me


Drifting Sands Haibun #26, April 2024

On His Blindness


What led my father to recite Milton’s sonnet? It was just him and me in the living room, and though I couldn’t have been more than nine or ten, I knew something momentous was happening. I’d never seen him like that, riding a wave of emotion in a sea far beyond me. All I could do was watch him go—the father I wanted to know better, and would never know.


day labor—

the blank pages

stand and wait


MacQueen’s Quinterly #19, August 2023

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We are delighted to share Cynthia's haibun and grateful for her time and effort in answering our questions.

THG: What is your writing process?

Cynthia: I write daily. If I feel like there’s nothing to write about, I begin by writing down what happened in my day or how I’m feeling at the moment. If I keep that up for a page or two, a subject always appears…sometimes haiku moments or haibun stories slip by in the course of a day and wait patiently to be remembered. I create a computer file for each month and put all my draft poems in there, labeled by day. As the month goes on, I sort through the drafts, discard some, and work further on others.

Prompt for members:

Literary allusion is a tool I particularly enjoy in poetry. Cynthia has employed it well in both of her haibun. In the first, she mentions 'hobbit' in the prose and 'eye of Mordor' in the haiku, evoking the desolate landscape of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings series while describing the wilderness. In "On His Blindness," we can only speculate about the narrator's father as he suddenly begins to recite Milton’s sonnet. John Milton wrote the sonnet "On His Blindness" when he himself had gone blind. I encourage you to look up these references for yourselves; they're quite fascinating. Take a moment to appreciate these haibun and share your thoughts on them. Your prompt word for the week is: FEAR; interpret it as you wish. Enjoy!

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!



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.


215 views82 comments


Alfred Booth
Alfred Booth
7 days ago



before going backstage

imagine a wall of hanging lamps

they are not props to be staged for a particular

atmosphere in theatre, their light must remain

steadfast against these troubled times

although the blindfolded multitudes sweep

their canes and may trip us unknowingly

we, with our heads upturned, we rise beyond pain

beyond fear, beyond these cancerous knots

that threaten to plague our very lives

we, those people


sunlight casts shadows in a crowd

death cowers



Alfred Booth

Lyon, France

(feedback welcome)

Replying to

A haibun for our times Alfred. I love the haiku.


mona bedi
mona bedi
May 20

Post #2


The Moirai *

tulip garden —

cherishing the silence

between us

We sit in the balcony. Delicious tea with potato fritters is served by her long time cook. Dappled sunlight falls on her face. She is beautiful. Slowly she runs her hand through her hair. Quite a few strands come out. “ It’s chemo sis !” she says. As tears well up in my eyes she smiles and hands me a piece of paper. ‘Amor Fati’ Is written on it. I google it and find out it means “love of one’s fate.” I look up at her. She is sitting peacefully with her eyes closed, the faint autumn breeze caressing her lovely face, an almost-smile playing at…

Replying to

Fabulous, simply fabulous writing Mona. I am moved by the simplicity as well as depth of your story and style.


I'm intrigued by the mystery in both of these haibun. Really admire the literary allusion to The Hobbit in the first, and the tenderness in "On His Blindness," a testament to the power of a title. Terrific poems, both! Congrats to Cynthia!



Kingdom for a Hair

A fly in the very ointment of my existence is the embarrassing state of the top of my head, congenitally inclined as it is towards barrenness. A lonesome plot of land as it were, deprived of vegetation except for the most rudimentary variety. Awareness of this fact keeps my burning enthusiasm on leash, even as I ogle  females passing in front of my strategically appointed corner on the balcony. 

cloud seeding …

the flooded streets

of Ghantoot

Dipankar Dasgupta


(The title is influenced by Shakespeare's "a horse, a horse/ my kingdom for a horse" (King Richard III). Feedback welcome.)

Replying to

Thank you Kalyani.


May 19

Enjoyed reading the two featured haibun. The second one touched me more. Beautiful craftsmanship.

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