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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 8th September — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh

8th September 2022

This week we are featuring Kat Lehmann's braided haibun.

Setting the See-Saw Our son spends his summer shadowing a local architect. For a project, he develops new floor plans for our house.

clearing the thicket None of it adds up. I take photos of us jumbled and tripping over each other. We need room for legs and elbows. Places to write and think. all the invasive weeds Then it appears. A house for sale with everything we want, with hiking out the back door. But no memories of rocking babies. No hop-scotching over familiar creaks in the wooden floorboards. No toddlers running the circle of rooms. No lawnmower towing the playscape into position as my belly rounds with our second child. And no river. blooming with flowers I walk down the hill to the river and mix my tears into the rushing current. Then return the next day to do the same. We are leaving.

Setting the See-Saw

Kat Lehmann

Macqueen's Quinterly, Issue 14 (2022)

Why I like writing haibun

I used to have a blog in which I would write creative nonfiction pieces about being a mom or about my life generally. Hardly anyone knew about the blog, so it was mostly for me, although a handful of devoted readers would visit and comment. At the same time, I was starting to explore haiku and tanka and share my first attempts at writing these on Twitter.

When I learned about haibun, it felt like the best of both writing worlds: prose and poetry. With haibun, I could create a deeper and more nuanced work than felt possible with either genre alone. Each piece could be written in a way that felt appropriate for that topic. Soon, I was spending much of my creative energy writing haibun. What fun! Before I knew it, I had amassed piles of haibun, so I collected my favorites to create my third book Stumbling Toward Happiness: Haibun and Hybrid Poems (29 Trees, 2019).

My haibun have continued to evolve since that time as I explore haibun structure and the way the three standard haibun elements (title, prose, and haiku) resonate to create something greater than they could individually do. I recently wrote an article for Contemporary Haibun Online discussing the role of structure in haibun as the fourth element I feel there is still much to explore about haibun and the way these works can effectively communicate stories and ideas. It's an exciting time to be writing this form!


Kat Lehmann a Co-Founding Co-Editor of whiptail: journal of the single-line poem and an Associate Editor at Sonic Boom. Kat is the author of three books of poetry and serves as a panelist for The Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Books Award. A former research biochemist, she likes to consider the grandiose within the details. She enjoys hiking and creating wheelthrown pottery. Read Kat’s work, including her experimental “sudo-ku” multi-haiku form, on her website:


And for those who want to know more about how braided haibun can be written, you have Rich Youman's essay to read and assimilate the process.

Tell us your story in a slightly different way - it might sound difficult but when have you last stepped out of your comfort zone? Just go for the braided haibun! Give it a shot! Pay attention to how the link and shift happens - the 'plaiting-poem-prose' as Rich calls it, in his essay above.

As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Firdaus and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun.


1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt.

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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