hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh
A Thursday Feature.
poet of the month: Ludmila Balabanova
18th January 2024
Ludmila Balabanova is a computer engineer and has a Ph.D. in literature. Her books include nine collections of poetry (four of them haiku and haibun books) and a book of criticism on haiku (Haiku: A Dragonfly under the Hat. The Power of the Unsaid, 2014). She is the editor of the Bulgarian Haiku Anthologies Mirrors (101 Bulgarian Haiku selected and edited by Ludmila Balabanova, 2005, Bulgarian, English and French) and Tuning up the Violins (2022, Bulgarian, English).
Her works have been published in several journals and featured in over 40 anthologies worldwide. Her most important awards are Basho’s 360th Anniversary Haiku Award, Japan, 2004; Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Honorable Mention, 2016 for her haiku book Dewdrops on the Weeds; Touchstone Distinguished Book Award, Winner and HSA Merit Book Award for her collection of haibun, Sunflower Field (Zhanet, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2019); HSA Haiku Anthology Award Honorable Mention for Tuning up the Violins. She currently lives in Sofia, Bulgaria
You can read about her views on haibun, here:
THG. 4. Would you share some editing tips?
Editing is a creative process for me. That's why I need more time. Whether I'm editing my text or another author's, I leave the text for a while, then get back to it, often with new ideas. I wish I could make it perfect, even though I know it's not possible. Everything is important: the prose, the haiku poems, the title. Regarding haiku, I would like to share something about the thoughts of "stand-alone haiku". If haiku is “stand-alone”, that's great, and I aim for my haiku to be just that. However, overly strict rules are unacceptable in any art. The strength of a haiku poem is often in the oscillation between many interpretations. Sometimes, however, the direction that comes from the prose can highlight and multiply the impact of certain aspects that go unnoticed in diffused light—like a directed beam of light illuminating an object in an unexpected way. I think in this case the interlinking between prose and haiku is more important than the haiku poem itself as "stand-alone".
THG 5. How do you create diversity in your writing?
LB As a writer of literary theory and criticism, short stories, non-haiku poetry, haiku and haibun, I do not lack variety in my work. Writing a theoretical book on haiku poetry, I also wrote perhaps my best book of non-haiku poetry. Yet sometimes I stop writing and just read a lot. Maybe it seems like I write a lot, but actually I don't write too much, but I work in different literary fields. When you start repeating what you have already said, or what others have said, you have two choices: to look for new approaches, going beyond the limits of a given literary form; or stop writing. But a work cannot be good just because it does not follow certain traditions. Sometimes it remains only a provocation without artistic value and unfortunately, we have seen this often in postmodern art. The second choice has no risks.
She is climbing the open staircase of the next hotel and is carrying a sleeping child in her arms. From the balcony where I am sitting and watching, you cannot see the child well, but I suppose it is a boy, one or two years old. Probably he fell asleep at the beach and she is carefully carrying him to the room. In her gentle steps, in her movements you can perceive deep tenderness. I feel it through the distance that separates us.
today a sparrow
called me Mom
contemporary haibun online, 10.4, January 2015.
Nothing short of brilliance in the way Ludmila has answered both questions. Try to write something you've never written before! Step out of the trodden path!
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.