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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 2 May 2024 — Cynthia Anderson, featured poet

Updated: May 6

hosts: Kala Ramesh & Firdaus Parvez

A Thursday Feature Mentor: Lorraine Haig

poet of the month: Cynthia Anderson

2 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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During the Summer of Love, my family flew west to visit my grandparents at their new home in Sedona, Arizona. Vortexes weren’t popular yet, and the red rock landscape lay mostly undeveloped. Bordering an old movie set, their street, Last Wagon Drive, petered out with Coffee Pot Rock dead ahead.



the coyote who won’t

look away


One day, my brother and I decided to hike to the rock. Strange how the terrain became rougher as we went, the chaparral denser, our goal farther rather than closer. After a while, we gave up and turned around—but saw no signs to guide us. Of course, we’d told no one our plan and had no water.



the patience

of rattlesnakes


It was up to me, the big sister, to get us out. Scanning the horizon, I noticed a line of power poles. We walked toward them and followed them to a dirt road. I kept talking nonstop to bolster Steve’s spirits. When a pickup finally appeared, two men in ten-gallon hats let us climb in their beat-up truck bed and dropped us at Last Wagon.


black on blue

a murder riding

the thermals


By then it was dinnertime, our parents starting to wonder. They took a photo of us nearing the house, swinging our arms like windmills to keep from falling over.


twilight hush

the shifting shapes

of mule deer



Unknotting the Line: The Poetry in Prose (anthology), Dos Gatos Press, 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: Do you come from a literary background? What writers did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you write as a child?

Cynthia: My parents were both avid readers. My mother read to me. My father loved poetry and could quote poems from memory, though I only heard him do so once that I remember. I loved reading from an early age and devoured everything our local library had to offer. My favorite childhood books included classics like Little Women, The Secret Garden, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Heidi, Winnie-the-Pooh, My Side of the Mountain, and on and on. At age three, I insisted on learning how to write, and I wrote my own poems and stories starting from age five or six.

Prompt for the week:

I loved how the haibun unfolded. A childhood memory interspersed with haiku. Each haiku added to the tension of the prose. The image of each a rich texture of the terrain and its habitat. I especially enjoyed "black on blue/a murder riding/the thermals. Without mentioning the word 'crows', Cynthia has painted the picture of a bunch of black birds against the blue sky in the warm breeze. Are they circling a carcass? Adds to the tension. And then there are coyote and rattlesnakes and mule deer. And lost children. I'm glad it ended on a happy note. We have a prompt word for you this week. 'Lost' - interpret it as you like. Have fun!

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.

******************************************************************* Mentor: Lorraine Haig

A million thanks to Lorraine for accepting to be the mentor for all matters concerning haibun. 05.05.2024 *******************************************************************


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The light has dimmed

I don’t need to go to the window to know rain has returned. It has been forecast daily for weeks. There are patches of sunlight, only a few of which truly warm the air. Last year in early May the swallows had returned in flocks. I saw a few last night. I wonder if they get cold.

I pick up the book next to my bed. I have no memory of what I read last night. I don’t feel like backtracking. I reread the presentation on the back cover. It rings no bells.

The garbage truck is below my bedroom window. Today the recycle bins are collected. There are more white men working this…

Replying to

I read a play on time and memory, perhaps slowly fading memory. The last line of the haiku adds power to the whole composition.


Thank you, Kala and Firdaus, for inviting me to be the featured writer this month. An honor! I'm new to this community, and it's heartwarming to see all the activity with the haibun and comments posted here.

Replying to

Thanks a lot, Cynthia, for accepting our invitation. You've started off with a bang!

Love this haibun and your haiku (so many!) so effortlessly interleaved.

Well done.


Such a fantastic haibun! Thank you for sharing, and delighted to hear Lorraine is a mentor!


Mentor: Lorraine Haig

A million thanks to Lorraine for accepting to be the mentor for all matters concerning haibun. 05.05.2024

Replying to

This is GREAT, GREAT news. Look forward to being here.


Thank you to all the haibuneers here.

You've been commenting, giving constructive feedback.

It's so beautiful to see such active nurturing. Please continue.

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