I actually learned about haibun while working closely with Every Day Poets. I've been really lucky in terms of finding editors to teach and encourage me. I'm so grateful that I've had so many editors cheer me along the way. In fact, I'd like to dedicate this post to Robin V. Herrnfeld, who was one of my first editors/ readers/ encouragers, and who passed away just before the magazine took a hiatus.
Before they hit pause (which I still hope is a temporary thing), EDP featured a haibun contest in 2012 along with this helpful, explanatory essay on the form, which is really what got me started writing them. I wasn't so sure when I first heard the term. I cannot write haiku for the life of me, and haibun sounds intimidating, doesn't it? A fancy, shmancy term for fancy shmancy poems. Actually, like a lot about what's beautiful in Japanese art, there's a simplicity to haibun. In a nutshell, haibun is just a kind of prose poem with a haiku attached at the end (Somehow I can write haiku, but only when they're part of a haibun. It's part of the weird, haibun magic world.) Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Constance Brewer, another EDP editor, put it really well in the essay I just mentioned/ linked to above:
The prose poem shouldn’t be a piece of flash fiction with a haiku attached, but rather a reflection on a physical or emotional journey the writer has undertaken. The prose poem should be haiku-like in its execution and revelations, and form a juxtaposition with the haiku.
Sounds easy? No, not at all, but they're really fun to write and have helped me access haiku, which I've always admired but, as I mentioned, failed at being able to write. (Little wonder; I'm not known for concision.) What I like most about haibun is you have to read them, not about them, in order to start to really appreciate them. If you are already a lover of microfiction or flash fiction, I can pretty much guarantee you'll love the form.
Here's the link to the whole spring issue. I'm about to grab a cup of tea and read the whole thing myself. Let me know what you think!
Hope you enjoy my piece!