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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 16th February '23 — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Reid Hepworth

poet of the month: Roberta Beary

16th February 2023


While reading Roberta's haibun, I found most of what I read seemingly personal or inspired by the autobiographical.

Q: What role does memory play in your writing?

RB: In all of my haibun the speaker is an unreliable narrator. In ‘Piano Practice’ the narrator may not remember accurately, but does know one true thing: when they were a child, one person loved them.

Piano Practice

by Roberta Beary, Bethesda, Maryland

My grandma speaks in a thick accent. I try to keep her away from my school friends. I don’t want them to make fun of me. At home it’s different. I like having her around because she likes me. That puts her way ahead of both my parents and my sister. Those three avoid me at all times. So when my grandma tells me to play the piano, I obey. I like the way her face lights up as I stumble my way through five easy pieces for classical piano. It warms my insides. Fast forward three lifetimes. My therapist says that someone must have loved me very much when I was young. He tells me he can see that love in my face, in my smile, in my eyes. Yes, I answer, there was one person.

on the broken

middle c

winter dusk


Q: Additionally, I have noticed some of your work includes art (photographs, memorabilia) in the background that offers a different dimension to the reading of the haibun. Any thoughts on the use of mixed media, found poetry as a technique applied to haibun writing?

RB: I love the idea of haibun which combines found objects, such as old family photos or passports. I believe these objects spark the creative part of the brain, in which memories, sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful, are locked away waiting to be discovered.

For a sample of ekphrastic haibun by Roberta, see the link below:


This week, I would like to invite you to write a haibun that evokes the memory or image of a person whose love framed your life or write a haibun that carries the distinct idea of how a particular object or event has shaped you.


As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Kala and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun. Keith Polette is the MENTOR for THE HAIBUN GALLERY from 16 December 2022. Thank you, Keith 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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