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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 4th May '23 — a Thursday feature

Updated: May 4, 2023

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh


poet of the month: Lew Watts


4th May 2023


Happy to present Lew Watts, and there's a lot waiting for you this month!

Who is this haibuneer, who won the Touchstone Award for his haibun, Spacial Concept: Waiting

Lew Watts is the author of Tick-Tock, a haibun collection that received an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s 2020 Merit Book Awards, and Eira (in press), a collection of haiku and haibun (both from Snapshot Press). Lew is also the co-author, with Roberta Beary and Rich Youmans, of Haibun: A Writer's Guide (Ad Hoc Fiction, forthcoming). He is the haibun co-editor of Frogpond and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bristol University in 2016. Born and raised in Wales, he now lives in Chicago with his wife, Roxanne Decyk. His other passions are fly fishing and gin martinis.


We asked Lew some questions and he has been kind in answering them. The first is a revelation! Read on! THG:

1. Do you come from a literary background? What writers did you enjoy reading as a child?


To say I do not come from a literary background would be a huge understatement. There were no books in my childhood house nor, from what I could tell, in any other house in Splott, a slum district of Cardiff. In fact, apart from two novels I was forced to read for my O-levels at 16 years, I had read very little. Two things saved me from a literary death. The first was my junior school. Between the ages of 6 and 11 years, each school day began with the recital of a poem during Assembly. I can remember vividly the first time I heard Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas at 7 years of age. I was mesmerized, and still am—I adore the sound of words. The second was in my early days at university. My new friends were astonished that I hadn’t read any Herman Hesse, and so I read all of his work, saving The Glass Bead Game until last. Things had to improve after that.

In case you want to check out the painting! Here's a link:


At first Lew had reservations about sending this haibun for this feature. This is what he said: On "Spatial Concept: Waiting," the problem I was alluding to is that the format is incredibly sensitive. If the font is changed, for example, the whole thing goes haywire.

So . . . I've attached various versions, but the JPEG captures how it should look—perhaps you could use that. If not, I hope some of the others work.

<> <>

Which is what I did! Posted it as a JPEG. _kala



Prompt:

We say all arts rub off on one another. This haibun Spatial Concept: Waiting (1960), is one of a set of paintings by Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) in which the canvas is sliced. Lew has been creative, bold and intuitive enough to try this idea on a written page. I know this prompt isn't going to be easy - but can you look around and see some art form from which you can take an idea and make it your own in your writing? I never said this prompt was going to be easy ... just try!!


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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146 Comments


Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 10, 2023

#1 10 May

Inspired by the bronze sculptures Les Voyageurs by French artist Bruno Catalano. Also popular as ‘Hollow Men’

https://brunocatalano.com/sculpture-bronze/bruno-catalano-monumentales.php


(Open to and grateful for critique)



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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 17, 2023
Replying to

Thank you Lakshmi. Happy you liked it 😊

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Sign language


The keys respond as if played in tune with an orchestra. Few mistakes taken in, as the text grows into an essay, into an oblivion.

The man on the radio mentions that we hold all the keys, in our hands, but! that we have yet to find the one that fits the cell door. He says that we can be forgiven for our ignorance too, as the roses in the garden of Eden have bloomed in abundance again this year.


winter squall

the computer rejects

another command

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
May 11, 2023
Replying to

Hi Rob,

It’s just my opinion, hopefully you will get feedback from Kala or Firdaus or other poets. As always, if it works for you and you are happy with it, then you should just stick with your gut and keep it as is.

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#2 8th May


The grid pattern.


Navigation was never your strong point. How can anyone navigate with the map upside-down?

“Think of Mondrian” you say as I drive down a one-way street the wrong way. “He painted in squares and rectangles”. “Easy for you. You think in patterns and colour”. We then end up at a dead-end. So, when you said, “turn here into the blue road”, I didn’t have a clue whether to go left or right. “We need to go south past the red square. Don’t look up or you’ll get lost”. I was already hopelessly lost and not sure I was ready for a Mondrian exhibition.


treadmill

going flat out

in circles


I've added 'mouse' to the…


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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 09, 2023
Replying to

This is an enjoyable read with an interesting dialogue. I googled mouse treadmill but could not understand why just treadmill was not sufficient.

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#1 gembun off prompt

I’ve opened a car door into my face three times.


moonbeams licking rocks to see if they’re salty


comments welcome

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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 09, 2023
Replying to

Ouch! But loved it!

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mona bedi
mona bedi
May 07, 2023

Post #2


Revised thanks to Firdaus:)


Light and dark


It’s not everyday I get to see such a starry sky as in Van Gogh's epic painting.

I try and count the stars on a sleepless night like today. The sky is blue black. Lying on the terrace I breathe in the scent of the village air. The rolling landscape and the crescent moon make for a perfect moment. If not this, then what would make my mind free of all the overthinking and thoughts of life's impermanence.


Suddenly I sense something at my feet. My dog has succeeded in finding me. He snuggles close. I shut my eyes and take off to a fantasy world.


dipping sun —

i walk…


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
May 08, 2023
Replying to

I like this Mona! The revision reads better. One small piece to consider…”on a sleepless night like tonight…”

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