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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 23rd February '23 — a Thursday feature

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Reid Hepworth

poet of the month: Roberta Beary


23rd February 2023


Life is filled with numerous moments that create our individual book of memories.

Once we have captured these in a haibun, what advice does Roberta have for novice writers?


RB: When starting out, keep track of of journals which publish poets whose work you admire. Then submit some of your own haiku to those journals. If a journal’s guidelines says send between 5-15 haiku, remember it is better to send 5 strong haiku than a combination of 15 strong, middling and weak haiku. As soon as you get a rejection, and you will get many, send out that rejected haiku to another journal you admire.


My haiku that won the international “Kusamakura” Haiku Competition was rejected 15 times. My prize included an all expense paid trip to Kumamoto, Japan, a large cash honorarium, and a formal awards ceremony at which I gave an acceptance speech. It was a surreal experience that has become a wonderful memory. And it happened because I kept submitting that one haiku I believed in. My prose poem that won the 2022 Bridport Prize for poetry was rejected 60 times. Never give up. And don’t allow anyone to make you feel that your work is unworthy. The more haiku you write the more you will learn, including how to judge the quality of your own work.


For our final week, I bring a haibun that captures the intensity of such a moment.


Roberta Beary

WHEN I READ ABOUT JANIS IAN I AM THE SAME ONLY DIFFERENT


Smoking pot in the cafeteria with my friend Susan singing “Society’s Child” and I sing along our matching flower shirts like we’d stumbled into a field of buttercups and we’re staring at a sky of blue butterflies we don’t see the gum stuck under the table cause we’re stoned and the teachers don’t give a shit and I want to be Janis Ian strumming a guitar but today I have piano and when I get home Susan’s in the backyard crying and I sneak her into my room and her married brother bangs the front door screaming you tell my sister I’ll the beat the crap out of that guy if he ever shows up again and Susan and I hide out all afternoon playing “Society’s Child” on my big sister’s stereo careful the needle doesn’t scratch cause she’d kill me and when my sister beeps we take the steps two at a time and for once she’s nice and gives Susan a ride to her mom’s and the decades roll by and Susan and I lose track but I send her my book anyway and she calls and talks about the old days and I tell her Janis Ian says she’s done with music and writes haiku now and I am the same as I was that day in the cafeteria and different too which is hard to explain but after I find Susan’s address I pencil a paper with buttercups and three lines that say


rising from

the pebbled path

blue butterfly


—from Poets Respond

January 25, 2022



Prompt:


Write a haibun that uses the catchphrase 'blue butterfly'. Have fun. Play with the idea and surprise us.


Or


Capture a 'slice of life' moment to share through your haibun.


Here's a bonus haibun from Roberta that won an honorable mention in the Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2012.


Final word:


It has been a fabulous month. We have been truly inspired by Roberta's work and craft. Thank you Roberta for your encouragement, guidance and time. We are very grateful. In addition, here's some exciting news for all haibun writers. We are soon going to be able to read a book on haibun craft. Please take note and keep an eye out for this fabulous guide into writing the haibun.


Haibun (craft book)

Haibun: A Writer’s Guide (forthcoming, Ad Hoc Fiction, UK)

by Roberta Beary, Lew Watts, and Rich Youmans


....................................................................................................................................

As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Kala and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun. Keith Polette is the MENTOR for THE HAIBUN GALLERY from 16 December 2022. Thank you, Keith 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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179 Comments


i have put up edit 4 of haibun first posted 6 days ago. i would value comments

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mona bedi
mona bedi
Feb 28, 2023

Post #2


Revised thanks to Florence and Reid:


Burden


A pretty young village girl has set up shop near our house. She sells balloons.

Local boys hang around the street to have a look at her. I worry for her safety. My husband tells me not to fret . The girl disappears from the neighbourhood for a few months. I try inquiring about her but no one knows.Then one day I spot her with a big and swollen belly. 


free will

the many times

she said no


Original


The Burden


A pretty young village girl has set up shop near our house. She sells balloons. Young boys roam the street to have a look at her. I became worried for…


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Feb 28, 2023
Replying to

Nice revision, Mona!

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I have reworked my haibun of 3 days ago Time Stops and would value feedback. i am not sure how to draw attention to something way back at the beginning of the comments.

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Feb 26, 2023
Replying to

I have commented on your original post…

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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Feb 26, 2023

#2, revised. Thanks mentors.

.

Appearances


'33 hours of train journey from Pune to Trivandrum and I have to look pleasant all the time' - strong words from my daughter as she waves me goodbye. I wear a chudidhar with a high-neck collar and my dupatta does have an appealing look. I sit erect, cross-legged on the seat in 2-tier AC. I adjust my red-framed spectacles that slips quite often.

Later in the day a newspaper man offers to sell the English newspaper at Rs.20/-. We refuse to accept. He bows down and gives me a big 'salaam'! I stay still. Once again, he wishes me 'salaam memsahib, good evening'. I am bewildered. He then offers the newspaper at …


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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Feb 28, 2023
Replying to

33 hours travel is not a joke and the very thought had pulled me low. And then I had to look quiet happy for her. So, the story... I shall edit it.

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neena singh
neena singh
Feb 26, 2023

Umwelt

The unfinished house opposite ours has come under the hammer and stands demolished. Suddenly the blue sky is visible across the road, but the huge tree that guarded the house and attracted birdsong has been chopped off during the night.

Today, I hear some sounds at the gate and walk across to investigate. I find five small pups amid the debris, all colored differently. Their mother comes running and growls at me. The dappled one looks up and tries to stand, it has a foreleg missing.


new neighbors

the trumpet vine overflows

with orange blossoms


feedback is most welcome for this "slice of life"...

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neena singh
neena singh
Mar 01, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Mona, glad you liked it!

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