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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 28th September 2023 — Peter Newton, featured poet

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Peter Newton


28h September 2023


Happy to introduce Peter Newton, and there's a lot waiting for you this month!

Since 2012, Peter Newton has co-edited the online journal tinywords and has

recently served as Guest Editor for Contemporary Haibun Online. Currently, he

serves on the panel to select The Touchstone Book Awards and is part of a small

group of editors working on the follow-up anthology to Haiku in English; The First

Hundred Years, in which his poems appeared, published by W. W. Norton in 2013.

Newton has been awarded several Museum of Haiku Literature Awards from The

Haiku Society of America’s journal, Frogpond, multiple Editors’ Choice Awards

from The Heron’s Nest, as well as Touchstone Awards from The Haiku Foundation

and Merit Book Awards from The Haiku Society of America.


He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. English, 1987) and

Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English (M.A. English, 1992). He has

worked at The Bred Loaf School of English and The Bread Loaf Writers’

Conference for more than thirty summers.


Newton has published seven books in the Japanese short-form tradition. He lives

in Vermont.


We asked Peter some questions and he has been kind in answering them. Read on! THG:

7. And lastly, do you show your work in progress to anyone, or is it a solitary work that you keep close to your chest before letting it go for publication?


I write in a bubble. A vacuum. When I’m writing I may as well be in outer space, and that’s been true for majority of my writing life. I do belong to a few kukai writing groups that exchange anonymous poems every once in a while. That seems to offer enough encouragement to keep me on the straight and narrow. Good writing makes me want to write. So, I read. I think I read more than I write. But that may be true of most people. In the end, it’s not about seeing your work out there in the world. “Published poets” are a dime a dozen. Maybe I’m cynical but I don’t expect anyone to care about what I put on paper. If they do, great. The writing I’m proud of most closely reflects who I am and what is important to me. If someone recognizes me in my writing, total stranger that I am, great. Happy to meet you.


****

Haibun:

The Undiscovered Language of Stars

Some astronomy expert on the radio the other day says the Big Dipper is coming apart at the seams. I am not prepared for this type of news. Mass killings, tragic earthquakes, tsunamis I can handle. But the stars. The very heavens coming unhinged.

a skip in the record

Apparently the seven stars that pin The Big Dipper together are moving in different directions. In a thousand years or so the handle of the ladle will most likely come loose spilling its eternity of darkness—a flood no one but a learned few will notice.

exactly where

In the meantime, what to do with this stumbled-upon factoid. This inevitable doom. I tuck it away like a magpie that has found a loose strand of Christmas tinsel. I keep it and turn it over trying it on for size. Ultimately I add it to my otherwise cluttered life of keepsakes. Striped stones, stray feathers, a perfect specimen of acorn with its checkered cap. Each is an ingredient to some secret recipe. Each is a word in a language I have either forgotten or never learned. A language that comes to me in pieces.

I remember



Contemporary Haibun Online, October 2019

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Prompt: Notice how this braided haibun is written:

Where the prose image ends, the haiku picks up, each time. It's most beautifully braided.

Can you try doing that?


And, of course, haibun outside this prompt can also be posted!


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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84 Comments


Billie Dee
Billie Dee
Oct 06, 2023

#1---6Oct23


Lucky Strikes


Short of breath and blue around the lips, Grandmother clutches my hand.

“Tell me I’m not dying, child. . .”


door of sand— I tilt her hourglass on its side


---Billie Dee, USA


feedback welcome


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Oct 07, 2023
Replying to

Intense and good! You may want to move this to this week’s prompt as you will get more feedback there, I think.

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mona bedi
mona bedi
Oct 03, 2023

Post #2

3.10.23


Gembun


was it love in the first place?


wind shift--

the sudden change

in his demeanour


Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi

Delhi, India


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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 01, 2023

Bridge Over a Lily Pond


twilight hues


I lean closer to the water lily — it’s just a daub of paint. I tell this to a man who has been painting water lilies day in and day out for the last 30 years. Daubs and more daubs of paint all over the canvas. I shake my head. He points to the window — from his first-floor studio, I see the water lily garden.

again and again


After a long time, I turn back to his easel. The room is empty. I go down the wooden stairs and along the passage with paintings of Japanese women. When I reach the pond, Monet is in deep thought. My reflection in the water…


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Billie Dee
Billie Dee
Oct 06, 2023
Replying to

Beautifully "painted" prose, Kala. Giverny is meticulously kept as a shrine to the great artist. I felt real reverence on my visit there 30+ years ago. I get this same feeling reading your poem.

I wonder if you could shorten the title and leave out the "Lily Pond" so you have a disjunctive juxtaposition with your prose. Maybe, just "Bridge". That would allow the arched image most art-lovers are familiar with to work as a time-bridge, as well as that famous passage over water. I would also cut your final "He smiles." Trust your readers to imagine that.

The braided haiku is just right IMO. Thanks for this nostalgic journey.


---Billie


BTW, Monet was almost blind when he painted those…


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Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
Oct 01, 2023

#1 5/10/23


Revision 3: thank you Sangita


Hey, What’s Cooking?


I am not sure what I am writing about. Sometimes the mind wanders into believing there has to be a lull in a writer’s life; We do read a lot about it.


mother’s chuckle…


I let my ink flow. After one reading, I cast it aside with a sigh of self-admonishment. I ferret into the refrigerator hoping to find something exciting.


her old recipe gone wrong


Pouring over my lines an hour or so later, a new meaning and purpose filters through my foggy head albeit slowly. Soon there is more scope for the piece, a subtle or dramatic discovery and a smile on my face. Everything seems to…


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Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
Oct 05, 2023
Replying to

Thanks dear Sangita for stopping by and your valuable feedback❤️. Will make the changes pronto. Glad the braiding works too.

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Sandip Chauhan
Sandip Chauhan
Sep 30, 2023

3rd Revision - thank you, Reid Hepworth Uncharted beginnings As I toil by my window, I prick my finger, and the map of my homeland I am tracing becomes marked with trails of my departure.


father's library

My heart, bearing the weight of unwritten letters, pulses with the weight of journeys not taken.

the sound of scribbling pens Gazing at the blue sky, my tears flow as I begin a new path.

ushers the unwritten Sandip Chauhan USA *** Revised - 10/2/2023 Mapping Departures As I toil by my window, I prick my finger, and the map of my homeland I am tracing becomes marked with trails of my departure.


father's library

My heart, bearing the weight of unwritten letters, pulses with the weight of…


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Sandip Chauhan
Sandip Chauhan
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for the feedback, Reid, I'll work on fixing it, or I'll consider a different title.

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