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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 25th January 2024 — Ludmila Balabanova, featured poet

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Ludmila Balabanova

25th January 2024

Ludmila Balabanova is a computer engineer and has a Ph.D. in literature. Her books include nine collections of poetry (four of them haiku and haibun books) and a book of criticism on haiku (Haiku: A Dragonfly under the Hat. The Power of the Unsaid, 2014). She is the editor of the Bulgarian Haiku Anthologies Mirrors (101 Bulgarian Haiku selected and edited by Ludmila Balabanova, 2005, Bulgarian, English and French) and Tuning up the Violins (2022, Bulgarian, English).

Her works have been published in several journals and featured in over 40 anthologies worldwide. Her most important awards are Basho’s 360th Anniversary Haiku Award, Japan, 2004; Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Honorable Mention, 2016 for her haiku book Dewdrops on the Weeds; Touchstone Distinguished Book Award, Winner and HSA Merit Book Award for her collection of haibun, Sunflower Field (Zhanet, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2019); HSA Haiku Anthology Award Honorable Mention for Tuning up the Violins. She currently lives in Sofia, Bulgaria

You can read about her views on haibun, here:

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THG: 6. Many writers bank on experience to write, but eventually, a writer has to create

something outside of it too... Any thoughts or advice?


First, imagination is very important for a writer. In addition to writer‘s own experience, he or she also perceives the experience of other people – parents, relatives, friends... If he or she is a sensitive person, and every writer should be, he or she will imagine how someone would feel in their situation. And of course, reading is very important. Not only writers, every person draws experience from life, but also from the books he or she reads.


7. And lastly, do you show your work in progress to anyone, or is it a solitary art that you

keep close to your chest before letting it go for publication? LB:

I never used to share my drafts with anyone, and I’ve never been part of any haibun or haiku

writing group. But nowadays there are many opportunities to learn. Talent also includes a special sensitivity that helps you to learn from others. It is useful to read the advice of good haibun authors, and it is essential to read their haibun. I also think a good editor with his or her experience can be very helpful even to a very good author. I have submitted very few haibun and have probably been very lucky because almost all of them have been accepted for publication, sometimes with some suggestions for changes (mostly linguistic remarks, because writing in a foreign language is not the same as in the native language). I’ve received wonderful feedback from editors, especially from Charles Trumbull and Paul Miller at Modern Haiku and Rich Youmans at Contemporary Haibun Online.

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After the autumn fires which burned down the green cathedral of the summer, before the

white flag of the winter…

leaf fall

my love let’s see Venice

before it sinks

Modern Haiku, vol. 49.3, Autumn 2018.

High Lake

The mountain is not the same after we see it on the path. We know there are poisonous

snakes, but it is very different to see it – shiny in the early sunbeams. It is not a mountain

anymore but a mountain with a poisonous snake on it.

We keep going up. We pass through deep forests, through meadows with beautiful

flowers. Nobody mentions the snake but we are all staring at the path. At the end of the day we climb above the tree line. Here there are no forests, no flowers, no snakes. Only a lake reflecting the sky.


at sunset shadows lay down

to rest

Modern Haiku, vol. 42.3, Autumn 2011.



The Buddha said there is a lot of connection between the mind and the body, and his meditation technique - Vipassana - was to still the mind by minutely following the sensations that run through the body.

We end this month with two beautiful haibun from Ludmila. The mind playing on the 'snake seen on the path' is arresting and we've all experienced this in various other ways.

Fear and the preservation of the 'I' goes hand in hand. Waiting to read your haibun and the way you've understood this strong emotion.

Haibun outside this prompt is welcome too


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.


461 views120 comments


mona bedi
mona bedi
Jan 30

Post #2


The Relic

It’s a sunny day today and I decide to visit my birthplace. Born and brought up in Delhi, the hospital I was born in is just an hour away from the place where I live. As I enter the gates of the hospital a familiar breeze greets me. The old building I was born in is now a swanky maternity unit. The open grounds have been replaced by play areas for kids. All has changed except for a small temple under an old peepal tree with the same stone God idol.

peeling paint

the walls too have

a story to tell

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi



#1 (30 Jan 2024)

(edited version with inputs from @sangita kalarickal and @Shalini Pattabiraman )



Halfway through my lunch, I rush to position the kidney dish under my husband’s mouth to receive the vomit. He can barely keep his eyes open. It’s been three days now since his fifth chemotherapy session. There is one more to go.


I have hardly emptied the contents of the kidney dish into the toilet bowl and cleaned it before he begins to throw up again. I rub his back hoping it will ease his retching.


Do you really want to go through the trauma of this treatment however good the prognosis? You and your husband might as well spend your…

Replying to

I missed reading it, Vidya. This is a very emotional and touching piece.


The dancer's grace melds into the poet's lilt.


the whole world

on a precipice



A gembun about yesterday's stirring haikuCHARADES performance by Kala and Anita MuktaaShourya @ Hyderabad Literary Festival 2024. Kala wanted me to share this here. 🙂

Replying to

I agree with your suggestions in theory, they make good sense 🙂 but I've rarely written two-line ku, even rarely haibun/gembun. So not sure how to make this combination to work. I like Kala's suggestion. But yours made me something to think about, thanks!


It’s barely a moment

between the two events: the first, my realization that this roar is not some distant highway, but the waterfall hidden in the forest; and the subsequent instant, my feeling of dismay changing, as if seamlessly, to one of  delight.  Is this that merest fraction of time Tibetan Buddhism calls a kechig?

a foreign land

the elephant meanders

ahead of me

Replying to

Hi Susan,

I love how your title flows into your prose and your prose into the ku "seamlessly".


mona bedi
mona bedi
Jan 27

Post #1


Revised thanks to Sandip, Reid, Eavonka and Linda:


I am online with my yoga instructor. Towards the end of my session she tells me that its time for the Shavasana. . She says that a session typically begins with activity and ends in rest; a space or pause when deep healing can take place.

pottery class --

As I lie down on my yoga mat, I reflect upon my life and the daily chaos I go through. I travel to my childhood days when not getting good marks would entail a sadness. I revisit the days of mom and and dad arguing. Then there were nights when I could hear uncomfortable sounds from the bedroom next…

Replying to

Hi, Mona.

Wonderful haibun which really evokes time and place. But I do agree with Reid's suggestions. I have a few more grammar concerns.

Shouldn't the second 'that' be removed so you have a complete sentence prior to the semi-colon (which should be changed to an em dash because these aren't two complete sentences)?

"She says that a session that typically begins with activity and ends in rest; a space or pause when deep healing can take place."

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