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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 6th July 2023 Kate MacQueen: Featured Haibuneer

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

Important announcement: Reid Hepworth, has stepped down as editor of THG for personal reasons and Vidya Shankar has agreed to be the editor from this month onwards. THG wishes Reid the very best. Welcome, Vidya.

poet of the month: Kate MacQueen

6th July 2023

A Thursday Feature


Things we knew but kept hidden. The endless bones of memory, fragmented, buried, reshaped, frost-heaved, turned. A trace, a mark, a stain to stumble on. A shoebox of remnants. A ledger of coordinates. The tectonics of divorce.

bleeding hearts

where we pruned hydrangeas

For Sale sign

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online, issue 19.1, 2023

You can find it here

Where the sun keeps shining

Long shadows of clouds stretch across mudflats at low tide. The sun glares white across a narrow winding channel. The airplane banks to the east, land drops away, and when we level out farmland rises up. The destined city is nowhere to be seen.

lost placemark

I choose uncertainty

and close the book

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online, issue 19.1, 2023

You can find it here

In a contingent space of possibility

a white-haired woman is writing the story of my life. She has no talent for this. The plot meanders, dialog stutters, scenes fracture. Unbound from ambition she renders me mute, the lines of my face eluded.

ebb tide

the sea breeze salts

tangled hair

Published in:

· Modern Haiku, volume 53.3, Autumn 2022

· contemporary haibun volume 18, edited by Rich Youmans, Red Moon Press, 2023

We're delighted to share Kate's beautiful haibun with you this month; let us know your thoughts. We asked her a few questions and she kindly took time out to answer them. Here's the first.

Q: Do you come from a literary background? What writers did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you write as a child?

Kate: I grew up in a post-WWII working class housing project in Western New York State. It was a largely Catholic community of Polish, Irish, and Italian descent. Dads worked in factories, moms stayed home, the streets were overflowing with children. It was decidedly not literary. But my dad read a bit and we had a small shelf of books at home, mostly Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and three old school literature textbooks. As a child I devoured those books. When I was old enough to access our small local library, I read whatever I could get my hands on. I can’t say I was passionate about any particular author as a child; I was passionate about reading. I was considered a weird kid. I started writing with purpose when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I mostly wrote poetry but one or two stories as well. I began keeping a diary where I wrote about things like beautiful sunsets. Since then, writing has been as necessary a part of my life as breathing.

Kate MacQueen is an anthropologist and public health researcher; much of her writing is published in scientific journals and is decidedly unpoetic. She began her haiku journey in the mid 1990s; since then, her short poems (haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, haibun, tanka prose) have been curated by a variety of journals (Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, Prune Juice, Presence, Mayfly, Trash Panda Haiku, Rattle, and others) and anthologies (Snapshot Press Haiku Calendars, several Red Moon Press haiku and haibun anthologies, Haiku 2014 (Modern Haiku Press 2014), Nest Feathers (The Heron’s Nest Press 2015), Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press 2018), and The Best Small Fictions 2022 (Alternating Current Press, forthcoming). She illustrated two Haiku North America anthologies, Dandelion Wind edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Lenard D. Moore, 2008, and Sitting in the Sun edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Crystal Simone Smith, 2019. She is plotting retirement and compiling chapbooks.

Prompt for the week: Keep it short, sharp, and spicy! See how Kate's lovely haibun are quite short but they capture the moment really well. Think of an apple as a major event in your life, now cut it in half or quarter it. Pick one piece and write about it. The less said is more. Make your title count. Let the haiku take the prose forward. Or you can place the apple back into the fruit bowl and write outside this prompt. Whatever you decide to do, have fun! Kala and I look forward to reading (or eating) your haibun. [ Talking about apples; a concise apple pie recipe in a haibun would be delicious. Just saying :)) ]



1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt, and only one haibun in 24 hours. 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.

Please note: In all forums - HAIKUsutradhar (for haiku & senryu), Tanka Take Home (for tanka, tanka-prose and tanka art) and The Haibun Gallery (for haibun) feedback is given only when asked. So if you want feedback, please say so at the end of your poem. Thank you :))

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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