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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 16th November 2023 — Gavin Austin, featured poet

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Gavin Austin

16th November 2023

Gavin Austin lives in Sydney, Australia. His work has been widely published in anthologies and journals, and he has been recognised in literary competitions. In 2016, Gavin was awarded a Writing Fellow of the FAW NSW Inc., and was the Featured Poet in the January 2016 issue of cattails. Also, he was the Poet in Focus 57, Presence #72, March 2022. The Drifting Sands Special Feature, Girt by Sea was Gavin’s undertaking; a partnership of his photography and poetry from Australian writers. He currently has two published poetry collections: Shadow Play, Dragonwick, Aus., and changing light, Alba Publishing, UK. Gavin was shortlisted for a Touchstone Award 2022 for Individual Poem. He is currently completing a collection of haibun and haiku, which he hopes to publish late 2023. You can find Gavin in The Poet’s Hub Gavin Austin – Drifting Sands Haibun – Poet's Hub (

We asked Gavin some questions and he has been kind in answering them.


4: Would you share some tips on editing?

I would say that we wear two hats. One as the writer, who allows the creative process to happen organically. The other is the editor’s hat. So, I write when I write, and edit when I edit. When we wear the editor’s hat, for me, it is an entirely different process. I read the work with analytical and critical eyes. So often we have repeated ourselves in some way. It may be because we don’t always trust the reader will take the point. I particularly find satisfaction in the process of editing and polishing the work. Making certain I have voiced the work as I want it. My writing comes from life experience, either my own, or from others, but I am always involved through close observation, or from an intimate knowledge. I know a reader will spot inauthenticity very quickly. Whereas something taken from a lived experience rings with truth. I spend time searching for just the right word to bring about the feeling I wish to convey. The right textures for the writing. And I always read the work aloud to myself, to discover any awkward phrasing.

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As we unfold the art of Gavin Austen's haibun, here's what we have for you today!

Gender bias is the tendency to give preferential treatment to one gender over another. It is a form of unconscious bias, which occurs when someone unconsciously attributes certain attitudes and stereotypes to a group of people.

Contained My father’s big hands are as ugly as the Sunday roast. Tentatively, I push my fork into the peas but avoid the meat. He watches, his eyes as cold as the blade of the knife he used to butcher the lamb. The rejected twin I’d helped to raise. “Eat!” he barks. School holidays begin, and we are warned not to build a treehouse in the old gum behind the hayshed. My older brother knows better. I am seven and follow without question. A dry branch cracks and gives way. I plummet to the summer-baked earth, breaking an arm. Thundering from the house, my father strikes my cheek with the back of his hand, grabs the neck of my shirt and bundles me onto the back seat of the car. "Boys don’t cry," he hisses, driving to the hospital. Stubbled jaw clenched, his eyes never leaving the road. old bucket rusted from the inside

contemporary haibun online #19.1, April 2023

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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!


Prompt: Gender bias is often a form of unconscious or implicit bias. It happens when someone unintentionally attributes certain attitudes and stereotypes to someone else.

When growing up, many times we've heard, "Boys don't cry" / "Girls are only to be seen and not heard."

We have endless gender bias issues in workplaces and in almost all walks of life. Do you have anything to say about such stereotyped judgemental behaviour and would you like to share them here?

Haibun outside this prompt can also be posted!


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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