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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 23 May 2024 — Cynthia Anderson, featured poet

Updated: May 25

hosts: Kala Ramesh & Firdaus Parvez mentor: Lorraine Haig

A Thursday Feature

poet of the month: Cynthia Anderson

23 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. www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com


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Temps Perdu

 

Winter. Time and again, I go to bed early and wake up early. While warm air blows down from the ceiling, I pore through my seed catalog. My eyes widen—what’s this listing in the lettuce section? Before I can blink, it’s Ojai, 1978, and I’m in the foothills behind the old stone house. Live oaks guard a dappled clearing of native plants and wildflowers, growing profusely after heavy rains. My friend points out a green bounty of Miner’s lettuce. We pick and eat the sweet, tender leaves, then take home as much as we can carry. All spring I go back to the meadow and forage, feeding myself from the land.

 

for old time’s sake

planting a packet

of happiness

  

Failed Haiku # 78, May 2022


Hideout

 

At the edge of my family’s land, next to a swamp overrun with wild grapes and skunk cabbage, stood a massive evergreen, a mother tree, laden with tiny cones. It wasn’t easy to climb. The branches began high off the ground. I had to stretch my arms nearly out of their sockets and push hard with my legs to scramble up. It usually took several tries. But once there—the quiet. The clean scent of green. A place where nothing went wrong. I held, and I was held.

 

checked baggage

reclaiming

my lost self

 

Contemporary Haibun Online # 19.2, August 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: Would you share some editing tips?

Cynthia: The best tip I know is to not be in a hurry. I read my own work over and over again, often going through a dozen drafts or more. I always try to let things percolate until they truly feel finished. I look up the meanings of words constantly, even ones I think I know. There’s always the possibility of finding a better word.

 

THG: How do you create diversity in your writing?

Cynthia: One thing I love about haibun is how many ways there are to go about it. The best tool I know to create diversity in my own writing is to learn by reading other haibun writers.


Prompt for members:


"Temps Perdu" in French translates to "Lost Time." A lovely title. Both haibun delve into journeys to the past: a happier era. The narrator cherishes memories of a better time than the present. While the prose in both haibun is steeped in nostalgia, the haiku transition from the past to reset the present and, hopefully, the future. Take a moment to read the haibun and share your thoughts with us. Your prompt word for this week is TIME; 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!

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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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158 Comments


Lorraine,


I'm not seeing any of your haibun.

Please share your work.


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Replying to

OK Kala. I will.

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Mohua
Mohua
May 29

#1


This is not the end

 

Working from home. Or perhaps not. The pink slip she never received. Nor the salary in her account. Ending her lease, selling her car, she moved into a barsati*. Isolated and mortified, her only companion was a giant unknown tree. It hung over her terrace, shedding leaves in tandem with her tears. She brushed them with fury and anguish.

 

One morning, there was just one brown leaf clinging to the stripped branch. Arms and heart heavy with ache, she watched with bated breath.

 

It held on the entire day.

 

And the next.

 

It even survived the dust storm.

 

 

When she looked again, the leaf was gone. Today,…


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Mohua
Mohua
May 29
Replying to

Oh wow, thanks so very much Lorraine for your generous comment. This is my first haibun and so your affirmative comment is that much more precious.

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#2 5-28-24


Closing Time


I see time in my mind's eye in the constructs of time keepers. Time is round, like a clock, the hands sweeping the minutes and hours by. Time is rectangular, like a calendar, ticking off the days, weeks, months. Time is linear, stretching out before me like a timeline, circling around to begin a new with January first. But in real time, life looks nothing like these constructs. It is nebulous, diaphanous. Time floats on the warm breeze of summer, brushing my cheek like a monarch gently flitting by. Time pulses in the beat of the blues band coming up through the floor of the dive bar I'm stopping by. Time sings in the laughter of…


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Replying to

Jen,

Your thoughts on Time are brilliant. However, INMHO, can you show, not philosophise and tell?

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#2

Resurrection Biscuits

"You dip the marshmallows in the cinnamon and sugar and wrap them with the crescent rolls--- like mummies," Nana tells us.

We carry the baking sheet to the oven and set the timer for ten minutes.

"Not a minute longer!" she says as she wags her finger at us.

When they're done, Nana grabs a biscuit and takes a bite, slowly turning it around and pointing to the hollow center---

"Voila! There's the empty tomb!"


Easter dinner

Nana pulls another

disappearing act


Susan Beth Furst, USA

Feedback welcome

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Replying to

Thank you joanna💛

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dipankar
dipankar
May 27

#2


Version 2 (Tons of thanks to Joanna, Mona, Lorraine, Rupa)


Perchance to Dance (Word count 298)

 

my Bashō song

thirsting for a frog

torrential rain


As I listen to the rain music at my window, a frog in fact jumps in through my broken front door. I didn’t have it repaired, hoping that at least one of the scores of women I fell in love with during my life will find it easier to locate me. They don't. Instead, the frog does.


empty room a frog jumps into

the silence


 It’s been raining for days on end and the streets are flooded. No pond though, neither old, nor new. The water is too dirty for the frog’s taste. It…


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Replying to

It's going well Dipankar. I don't think you need the last para. It doesn't add anything to the prose. I also think you could remove -

Right then, there is a power cut.

This is stated in the haiku and is much more effective there.

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