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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 21st September 2023 — Peter Newton, featured poet

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Peter Newton

21st September 2023

Since 2012, Peter Newton has co-edited the online journal tinywords and has

recently served as Guest Editor for Contemporary Haibun Online. Currently, he

serves on the panel to select The Touchstone Book Awards and is part of a small

group of editors working on the follow-up anthology to Haiku in English; The First

Hundred Years, in which his poems appeared, published by W. W. Norton in 2013.

Newton has been awarded several Museum of Haiku Literature Awards from The

Haiku Society of America’s journal, Frogpond, multiple Editors’ Choice Awards

from The Heron’s Nest, as well as Touchstone Awards from The Haiku Foundation

and Merit Book Awards from The Haiku Society of America.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. English, 1987) and

Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English (M.A. English, 1992). He has

worked at The Bred Loaf School of English and The Bread Loaf Writers’

Conference for more than thirty summers.

Newton has published seven books in the Japanese short-form tradition. He lives

in Vermont.

We asked Peter some questions and he has been kind in answering them. THG:

5. How do you create diversity in your writing?

When I hear the word “diversity” I think of creating equal opportunities for all types of people. Well, I’m a middle-aged white guy so . . . I try to be aware of how I can be most inclusive. Haiku and the haikai arts in general are, above all, inclusive. Everyone knows haiku and maybe even fancies themselves as a haiku writer. And that’s a good thing. But like any form of poetry there are rules of the road one must learn before the joyride can begin. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes, so to speak. e.e.cummings wrote: “I am and you are and we are above and under all possible worlds in love” he may have written this as a love poem to the world and by that I think he means we’re all in this together. So, pay attention. Mind your manners. Love each other. Compassion is a key ingredient in the composition of any writer.


6. Many writers bank on experience to write, but eventually, a writer has to create something outside of it too... Any thoughts or advice?

I think it was Denis Garrison who came up with the phrase “dreaming room.” I always liked that way of looking at the world. Leave yourself plenty of time and space to dream. The poem or the story or whatever it is you want to write has got to live and breathe on its own. We, as writers, are nothing if not sieves. Life experiences go through us and the good stuff, or not so good stuff, collects inside us. Writers are catch basins. It’s up to each of us to give that “stuff” a voice and then figure a way to get it outside of us. It’s not always easy but if it becomes a habit – a writing habit – your voice grows stronger. Write and write and eventually word by word . . . we begin to say something. Don’t judge—jot! Scribble and scrawl and talk to the dragon app inside your phone. Speak. Let your voice be heard.

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Love your answers, Peter. Thank you. <> <>

As we unfold the art of Peter Newton's haibun, there are some surprises coming to the front. Let's enjoy each moment as we learn new nuances that will help our writing.

I just have one haibun for you this week:

Double Take

Walking to the car, I spot the first daffodils in the yard. Forgot I planted those things. Last fall I had hoped one day. And as I had hoped here they are -- this little cavalry of yellow to the rescue.


the silent scream

of a dead possum

MacQueen’s Quinterly, June 2022

Now for some haiku and the story it unfolds!

For what is a haibun without a strong haiku?

middle age

I build the snowman

a son

The Heron’s Nest 23.2

falling asleep to the wallpaper repeating itself

Mann Daily Haiku - August 2010

bus stop

a room inside

the rain

The Heron's Nest 24.2, June 2022

an old key

no one knows anymore

what it can open

Mann Daily Haiku - August 2010

Let's hear what Peter has to say about haiku.

Like others before me, I would add that the haiku has to advance the meaning of the prose in a new way, offering a new perspective. The white space between prose and poem is the x-factor. It is the portal through which the reader enters the piece. Think movie. Do you want a jump cut or a slow dissolve where one image morphs into another. However you decide to get there, the haiku must stand on its own just like the prose.


Pay extra attention to the haiku in your haibun. See if you get comments about how good your haiku is in the haibun you post ... it matters and make it matter.

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 really 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.


283 views59 comments

59 comentarios

mona bedi
mona bedi
27 sept 2023

Post #2



Alone at home I am at a loss. How to keep myself busy ? I have finished all chores, cleaning, cooking and walking the dog. It’s then I pick up my favourite book Wuthering Heights.

Comfortably lounging on my favourite couch I am awakened by my husband hours later.

rustle of wind —

across the meadows

cloud drift

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
27 sept 2023
Contestando a

Hi Mona,

This is good. Just a couple of small pieces: comma after “book” and I wonder if your last sentence could be re-worked as it doesn’t seem to flow as well as the rest of your prose (imho). Wait for others to weigh-in though as it could just be me and the earliness of the hour!

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
26 sept 2023


Mukha Lepham

Face masks are now an accepted accessory. I always wear a mask when I go out. No one stares at me. But they would if I were not wearing one.

The mask hides my distorted right cheek and scarred left chin—cruel reminders of the cancers that afflicted me and the two surgeries that were required to remove the disease.

clipped wings—

all those pictures

of flawless looks

*Mukha Lepham is an Ayurvedic anti-blemish face treatment.

Vidya Shankar, India

(feedback appreciated)

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
27 sept 2023
Contestando a

Thank you, Reid, for the emotion and for the suggestion. That was my initial idea, so I might want to get back to it. Anyway, will wait, just in case I get more feedback.

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He never looked back

She sat astride her blue bike outside his house waiting for hours in the hope he would notice her.

Once she saw him hurtle down his driveway, crouched over the handlebars. So close she could feel the wind as he passed by.


a heart gouged

in the bark

Lorraine Haig, Australia

My thanks to Vidya.

Feedback welcome.

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Contestando a

Thanks Vidya. I've left 'handlebars' as it is. I think it is understood that they are on a bike. I've changed the 'wind' bit. Thank you for that.

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
22 sept 2023

#2 22/09/23

Revised: thanks to Vidya!

Change of Seasons

It happens without warning, this betrayal of my body. One day I’m a kid and the next I’m at the Hudson’s Bay department store trying on training bras with my aunt.

I’m not sure whose idea it was. Certainly not mine. I’d much rather be hanging ten on my skateboard or building forts in the backyard. Instead, I stand bare-chested and mortified while my aunt yells out to the saleslady, “She needs a bigger size, she needs a bigger size.”

All I know is that I won’t be carrying the bag when we leave the store.


this too

shall pass

Thanks Susan for suggesting the extra “s” in my L1!…

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
27 sept 2023
Contestando a

Thank you, Vidya! I will correct the punctuation, etc. and revise. I am going to keep the ku the way it is though as it‘s a significant saying in my family and I feel it works here.

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edit w thanks to Vidya

Avian Call-off

I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it in to work today. I have to stay home and watch for birds.

muggy days thirsting for you


Avian Call-off

I’m sorry. I won’t be able to make it in to work today because I have to stay home and watch for birds.

muggy days thirsting for you

comments welcome

Susan Burch, USA

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
27 sept 2023
Contestando a

Hey Susan, isn't this a valid reason for not going to work! :))

For some feedback, was wondering if you might want to tweak the syntax a bit for effect.

Avian Call-off

I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it in to work today. I have to stay home and watch for birds.

muggy days thirsting for you

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