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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 26th January '23 — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh

poet of the month: Glenn G. Coats

19th January 2023

Tending the Lambs

1968. The church is peaceful. Voices rise and fall like the sounds of water. A boy from the mountains begins to jerk arms and legs, a teacher guides the young man to the floor; folds her sweater and slides it under his head. When the seizure passes, the teacher finds a quiet corner and talks softly to the boy. A student volunteer plays Shoots and Ladders with a child who has Down Syndrome. Another comforts the girl who sobs over her sandwich while the nurse from the college dabs cotton balls of calamine on a face and neck swollen from poison ivy.

There are no lesson plans, no directions to move a child from point A to point B, no great expectations for students who do not fit into the public school.

Parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors, drive down skinny dirt roads and weave their way to the Baptist Church. They drop children off, knowing they are in good hands. At the end of each day—that alone—seems to be enough.

summer stream

the flash of stones and fish

in the shallows

* Contemporary Haibun Online, Spring 2022

* Another Lost Boat, Pineola Press 2022

We had the pleasure of asking Glenn a few questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Here're the final two. We are very thankful to Glenn for sharing his work and words of wisdom with us this past month.


THG: How do you create diversity in your writing?

GC: I get tired of using the word I in my work, and will often write through the eyes of someone else. For example, in “The House on Lawrence Street,” (from Snow on the Lake), I told the story of an accident in our family through my father’s eyes. It gave me a different perspective as I was only a child at the time. In “Last Week of the Fair,” (from Beyond the Muted Trees), I told the story of a colleague’s death through the eyes of an African American student. It helps me to see things through different lenses when I step away from being the narrator.


THG: And lastly, many writers build on experience to write, but eventually, a writer has to create something outside of it too... Any thoughts or advice?

GC: My answer here relates to the previous question. By experimenting with different narrators, my work changes from nonfiction to fiction yet what I am saying is essentially true. That is how I move beyond simply writing about myself. That is how I stretch my work in new directions.

More about Glenn:

Glenn G. Coats lives with his wife Joan in Carolina Shores, North Carolina. They enjoy exploring the nearby waterways. Glenn’s haiku collection about rivers, Furrows of Snow, was published by Turtle Light Press in 2019. Glenn is the author of five haibun collections: Snow on the Lake, Beyond the Muted Trees (Pineola Press), Waking and Dream (Red Moon Press), Degrees of Acquaintance and A Synonym for Gone (Snapshot Press 2019, 2021).

Essays and Reviews:

Contemporary Haibun Online, Book Reviews by Glenn G. Coats

CHO April 20022, Review of Home and Away by Ruth Holzer

CHO August 2022, Review of Invisible Dictionary by Stuart Bartow

Haibun Today

HT March 2016, Essay on “Homeless in the Universe” by Bill Wyatt

HT December 2015, Essay on “A Change of Address” by Ken Jones

HT December 2012, Essay on “Honour and Glory” by Ken Jones

HT March 2011, Review of A Boy’s Seasons by Cor van den Heuvel

Your Challenge:

Yet another heartfelt haibun by Glenn. The scenes he paints with words are so vivid. How did it make you feel? Write about your safe place; somewhere you stop feeling inadequate or stop worrying for a while. It could be a person too, present or in the past. Show us this place or person. Build with word images. Leave us wanting for more. (You can write outside this challenge as well)

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


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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