A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012
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Haiku Festival Aotearoa, 2012 – Tauranga, New Zealand

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 | page 6|

Haibun Master Class

The final teaching session was Jim’s master class on haibun.  1

Haibun are one of the most difficult things in the world to write, according to Jim, as they require you to master three distinct skills:

Good prose
Really good haiku
Matching the prose and haiku in a way that seems inevitable ... but not obvious.

"You don't continue the content of the prose into the haiku," he said, "but it's not discontinuous either. I believe the prose and haiku should tangentially glance against one another. The haiku should not be inevitable."

He also noted that haibun may be many things, not just prose, including a prose poem, a quotation only, a title only. Where does the prose come? First, last or in the middle? Many variations are possible.

Jim had a hand-out booklet for each participant and, under strict instructions to not turn to the second page, we opened them.

The first page offered only the haiku of a haibun and Jim invited us to discuss what we thought the prose might be that would fit the haiku. Later, we had the prose only and were invited to write a haiku to fit.

The booklet also included a haibun that was a title, in this case a date, and a haiku, as well as a haibun written by two people. The discussions and exercises surrounding the examples were challenging and inspiring.

Jim has written about the haibun workshop in Contemporary Haibun Online (July 2012), featuring a "collaborative haibun" that was written during the class - the prose by Elaine Riddell in response to a haiku (from her own haibun) by Cynthia Rowe.

Catching the Dream

The baby wakes and is fed. The toddler wakes. The baby needs changing. The toddler hits his head on the table. Someone knocks at the door. The telephone rings. Time for the next meal. The baby is put to bed. The toddler wants a story. The toddler needs a sleep. The baby wakes. The baby must be fed. . . . Finally night falls. The children are both in bed. She puts her feet up.

wave sets . . .
tucking white-edged hibiscus
into her sarong

– Prose: Elaine Riddell, Haiku: Cynthia Rowe