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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 25 April 2024 — Dr Anna Cates, featured poet

hosts: Vidya Shankar & Shalini Pattabiraman

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Dr Anna Cates

25 April 2024


Dr Anna Cates


Anna Cates is a graduate of Indiana State University (M.A. English and Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction/English) and National University (M.F.A. Creative Writing). She teaches college writing and literature and graduate education online. Her haiku have won first place in the Caribbean Kigo Kukai Contest, European Quarterly Kukai Contest, Indian Kukai Contest, and Ohio Poetry Day’s Haiku for Betty Contest. Her haibun won first place in the Cattails UHTS Contest.  Her other poetry awards include first place in Indiana State University’s Arion Poetry Contest, co-first place in Ohio Poetry Day’s Welcome Aboard Contest, and Ohio Poetry Day’s Evan Lodge Workshop Contest Award. Her poetry has been nominated for the Touchstone Awards, Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and the Dwarf Stars, Elgin, and Rhysling awards. Her books include The Meaning of Life (Cyberwit Press), The Frog King (Cyberwit Press), The Darkroom (Prolific Press), The Golem & the Nazi (Red Moon Press), The Journey (Wipf & Stock), the Illumination Book Award winner Love in the Time of Covid (Wipf & Stock), The Poison Tree:  A Peace Play (Wipf & Stock), Little Black Box:  Poetry from Ohio (Wipf & Stock), Electric Cat City:  A Poesy (Red Moon Press), and 39 Triolets:  A Chapbook (Cyberwit Press, 2023). She resides in Wilmington, Ohio, with her beautiful kitties, Freddie and Fifi. 


< < < < < > > > > >

FATHER

 

mandrake moon

in a rustling forest

a strange bird calls . . .

 

Father never complained of the poison mushrooms, simply moved on to the shrooms.  He filled the castle with answers, cracked outrageous mysteries.

 

In upstairs rooms children screamed of demons in the dark.  But Father hustled up those stony steps, forded impossible passes, forged by monsters who’d eat you alive like a spreading cancer.

 

All fathers are mortal, risk themselves on ladders, asses full of polyps.

 

Father always told us who we are depends on whether we break the rules like matchsticks or wild horses.  We always almost listened.

 


 

ELEGY

for my mother

 

her hand

warm and palsied—

final hours . . .

 

She died the Fourth of July, a week shy of her seventy-seventh birthday, the raspberries ripe along the bike trail behind the hospital, the mulberries just beginning to turn . . .

 

only for a moment . . . black butterfly

 

Frogpond 44:3 (Autumn 2021): 67 Print. 


< < < < < > > > > >


VS: Anna, what I noticed about your poems over these four weeks is that they are so well chiselled, not a word out of place. Could you please tell us something about your editing process? We would love to know what goes into your drafts before we get to read the final outcome.    

 

AC: Editing is one part of the writing process that for anyone is basically prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and then publishing. I work on a poem until I feel comfortable with it. “Comfortable” is a very subjective sentiment, however. But when I feel comfortable with the poem, I then submit it to one or more publishers for consideration. If they like it and publish it, I consider it “finished” and try to resist any urge to edit it after that point, though occasionally, I will lightly edit a poem if I re-publish it as part of a collection. 


Some writers as part of their literary education hear that “editors don’t edit.”  There is much truth to that. The poem should be “finished” informally before it is “finished” officially by publication. However, on occasion, an editor will actually edit, offer suggestions. They might accept a poem only on the condition that the poet makes a few changes. Their suggestions are usually feasible, and I almost always will go along with their suggestions, just so that I can get the poem placed and move on to the next hurdle.

 

Should the umbrella be yellow or blue? There may not be any definite right or wrong answers to these types of questions when editing a poem. Perhaps “blue” offers assonance whereas “yellow” offers rhythm or rhyme. The writer should understand the impact that particular changes make and assess what their goals and purposes are, relative to their understanding of audience, as part of the editorial process.      


VS: One of the several hats you wear is that of an editor. What are your selection criteria like? Is there something you particularly look for?   


AC: With haibun, I look for the 3 main aspects to be successful: title, prose section, and haiku. The three should truly complement each other without repeating the diction. Originality is highly desirable as well, and innovation an extra plus. There may not be any such thing as a poorly written poem, but rather, one that may simply not be finished yet. Additional revision sometimes helps a poem immensely. When an editor turns down a poem that isn’t “finished yet,” they are actually doing the poet a favor. The poet then has opportunity to improve the poem. I can think of instances in which having one of my own poems initially rejected was a good thing because it gave me more time to revise and improve it.  



Prompt for members:


What are the different ways you can interpret the word ‘finished’? We will appreciate haibun that are original and innovative.

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!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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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100 Comments


edit 1 ...2/5/24.....thank you Shalini


Sixth Sense


Amidst the chaotic intersection, she stands alone, enveloped in a vibrant Kutchi attire. Each step she takes is graceful, like a dancer weaving through the bustling traffic. In her hands, a cluster of balloons sways with her movements, a splash of color in the dull cityscape.Her hair falls like a dark veil around a face marked by time, her eyes like unread chapters of a book, meet mine briefly, a silent plea for recognition in a sea of indifference. As she approaches, a tentative smile flickers across her lips. With a nod, she offers me a balloon.


going with the flow

a carp

under the flotsam


Nalini Shetty

India.


№1 1/5/24


Sixth Sense


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Replying to

No problem at all. It was interesting to read your work.


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#2


Hello Cardinals


I like to think the universe is saying hi to me every time I see a red cardinal, especially when I’m in my car and one darts across the road. And of course, I say hi back or give a little wave… 


a disturbance in the force the aliens U-turn


Susan Burch, USA

Comments welcome

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Replying to

Hi Susan

Imho, some ideas are being repeated. Suggest returning to the piece.

Warmest


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Revision 1

The end

Today you may have great value. People may view you as a hard to reach number.

But... suddenly you're no longer worth anything... everyone abandons you.

Don't bet .. time!


It goes fast;

I thought I had a time of joy


Fatma Zohra Habis/Algeria

30/04


The original

The end

Today you may have great value. People may view you as a hard to reach number.

But... suddenly you're no longer worth anything... everyone hates you.

Don't bet on people and time


It goes fast

I thought I had it

a time of joy

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Replying to

Thank you very much for your valuable comments, which I promise to take into consideration in future attempts

my greetings

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Jammin’


Jam time is a relative term. It starts with a months-long search for jars, bands and lids in thrift stores and garage sales. Why pay full price when you can pay a quarter on half-off day at The Arc? Then there's the hunt for good-quality, affordably priced fruit. Shopping in-season is key. The third element in the jam trifecta is finding the time to make jam while I have the equipment and the perishable fruit. It's a dance each year, but one I love.


I wake at dawn

excited to begin the process

won't be finished

till the last

lid clicks


Jennifer Gurney, US


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Replying to

Hi Jennifer


If you want to learn and write tanka prose, you can submit under tanka prose. We have a separate section for that.


Warmest

Shalini

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The end

Today you may have great value. People may view you as a hard to reach number.

But... suddenly you're no longer worth anything... everyone hates you.

Don't bet on people and time!


It goes fast

I thought I had it

a time of joy


Fatma Zohra Habis/Algeria

28/04

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Replying to

Thank you very much Dipankar for these constructive suggestions I will modify the haibun according to your advice

my greetings

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