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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 30 May 2024 — Cynthia Anderson, featured poet

hosts: Kala Ramesh & Firdaus Parvez

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Cynthia Anderson

30 May 2024


Cynthia Anderson


Cynthia Anderson has published 13 poetry collections, most recently The Far Mountain (Wise Owl Publications, 2024), Arrival (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2023), and Full Circle (Cholla Needles Press, 2022). Her poems appear frequently in journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Touchstone Awards. Cynthia is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. She has lived in California for over 40 years.

 

Cynthia grew up in Connecticut and attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1974-75 as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. She completed her B.A. in Literature at the College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in poetry. Her senior honors thesis explored the poet George Oppen’s final book, Primitive. She spent her career as an editor and publications coordinator, retiring in 2015. After a lifetime of writing long form free verse, she took up short form poetry in earnest in 2020 and since then has garnered over 600 publication credits for her haiku, senryu, cherita, tanka, and haibun. Two of her haibun appeared in the Red Moon Contemporary Haibun anthologies: “Formerly Known as Ion” in Vol. 17 and “Facing the Music” in Vol. 19. Two of her haiku appeared in the Red Moon haiku anthologies for 2021 and 2023. www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com


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La Buena Vida

 

Our hostess meets us at the Los Cabos airport. It’s over an hour to her place on the Pacific coast, down dark and deserted roads. Suddenly—a barricade. A gang of ragtag young men, heavily armed, motion for her to stop. Instead, she speeds up.

 

striking distance

the easy prey

of nightsnakes

 

Ordered out of the F150, my friend and I stand stock still while our expat driver yammers in Spanish. They can’t get one word in edgewise. Gesturing wildly, tossing her blond dreadlocks, she takes on the air of a lunatic.

 

two steps back

black magic bruja

casts her spell

 

They let us go. Why, I’m not exactly sure. From that moment, we enter an unspoken pact—she doesn’t tell, and we don’t ask. Later, in her open-air palapa palace, I lie awake listening to the roar of the waves.

 

Día de Muertos

the grimaces

of sugar skulls

 

MacQueen’s Quinterly # 15, September 2022


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We are delighted to share Cynthia's haibun and grateful for her time and effort in answering our questions.


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

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

Cynthia: Not sure I understand the question. Maybe I have a different world view?

To quote Krishnamurti: “The observer is the observed.”

 

THG: 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?

Cynthia: I have several trusted writer friends who I like to ask for feedback before submitting something. That said, there are some pieces I keep close. Not really a good idea, as the ones I keep close tend to be the ones I love the best, and those pieces are most likely to need help.


Prompt for members:


"La Buena Vida" in Spanish means "The Good Life". However, for the narrator, life in a foreign land with an "eccentric" or rather innovative hostess was more interesting than good. The haibun is filled with thrill and humor, and the haiku run parallel to the prose, adding just enough drama and, dare I say, fun. "Bruja" means witch/old hag, and "Día de Muertos" (Day of the Dead or Skulls) is a festival celebrating the cycle of life and death. Enjoy the haibun and share your thoughts with us. We thank Cynthia for sharing her poems and wisdom as we wrap up this month. The prompt words for this week are LIFE & DEATH. Interpret them as you like. Mostly, have fun! 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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318 views107 comments

107 Kommentare


#1

06-06-2024


Lasting moments


torrential rain…

soaked to the bone

I watch the waves


She is not well, they said, and I rushed to the hospital to be with her. My friend was sick, but still her old self, witty and laughing. In a few days, she recovered, and the doctors claimed that along with their medication, it was her resilience and laughter that saw her through the ailment. 


A lesson that remains strongly etched in my memory. 


 

spring blossoms

forging through the

frozen earth


Padma Priya

India


feedback welcome


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Antwort an

Thank you so much Joanna. Means a lot.

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#1


Taking a Chance

 

I peel back the cellophane and study the first layer.  The plan is on the bottom of the box, so I dive in blind.  Orange crème, not my favourite.  I prefer a truffle or a nougat.  I inhale the rich chocolate scent and place the lid back on before I am tempted again.  Several days later, I offer the selection to a visitor, they take some time to settle on the almond crunch.  My dog stares and stares.  I tell him again that chocolate is poisonous. Once again he glares and curls back onto the rug. The gaps begin to show in the first tray of selections.  Where there are two of the same typ…


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Antwort an

Thank you Mohua.

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Mohua
Mohua
04. Juni

#1


Revised (in view of Lorraine's comments)


When life gives you lemons


Settling in behind the pile of laundry she was supposed to be folding, she opened her book. Enveloped in sun baked fragrance, she escaped along with the famous five. Off and away she traversed faraway lands craving a bite of the sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes in their jackets… How come potatoes didn’t have jackets here? Was it because it was colder … her book was taken away and she was put to peel potatoes and then to clean the rice.


A girl’s place is in the kitchen. Of what use are books and stories? She pursed her lips and set her teeth. She was George, not Georgina and definitely…


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Mohua
Mohua
06. Juni
Antwort an

Thanks so much Lorraine for nudging me in the right direction and generous comment.

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Alfred Booth
Alfred Booth
03. Juni

#2

**

Facing the first nightmare


An old man with a heart kept under lock and key. Yes, this is who I have become. Incognito, I return after more than fifty years. I have never trembled before,  but now, how my whole body stuttered, shuddered, shivered and swayed. Yes, to go back to this place, the gardens — these forlorn gardens!


Weeds have grown into a fairy book jungle, like excuses carrying the legacy of an ogre‘s outrage. The painter’s palette of rose bushes no longer exists. People across the street tell me the three dogwoods no longer bloom. The old crabapple is gnarled, there is no giant to have chopped it down. I know from reading the official papers…


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Antwort an

I'm so glad it is fictional, Alfred.

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Kalyani
Kalyani
03. Juni

03.06.2024

#1


Emergency exit


It's an earthquake alert everywhere. A major one shakes the entire town post midnight. We pull Dad out of the bed. It's a tug of war between us and him who wouldn't go out bare-bodied. Finally we become triumphant. As soon as we reach the alley he rushes back inside to wear his vest and to come back again. Compassionate quack! It stops before Dad returns to our temporary safe zone.


winter chill

curling up in the warmth

of Mom's hearth


Kalyanee Arandhara

Assam, India


Feedback most welcome

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Kalyani
Kalyani
04. Juni
Antwort an

Thanks so much. Yes, those good old days...

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