Haibun poetry (prose that is paired with a haiku) is written in the present tense, but often taken from a memory.
My haibun below, published in the current issue of Chrysanthemum International online magazine, is a happy memory, pulled from my childhood.
The Slow Lane
On drives up to the farm, my grandpa pointed out holstein or jersey cattle, or different types of barns that dotted the countryside.
He drove slowly, but my brother, cousins and I never minded. He entertained us with stories like the time he shot an apple off someone’s head, while we roared with laughter, and my grandma roared his name. I never checked my watch, but it seemed there were more minutes in the hour when we were with him.
we stop chanting
Quote: “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” L.M. Montgomery
Every once in awhile a book comes along that makes you want to shout about it from the rooftop. One Foot in Front of the Other by Mike Duhacek is that book for me, and this is the reason why.
In 2013, Mike began a solo mission called Help Me Bury Cancer. He took approximately 1,000,000 steps across the province of Ontario, Canada, in the cold and snowy month of February, pulling a 125 lb. sled behind him with the letters C-A-N-C-E-R on it, planning to bury those letters when he arrived, raising funds and cancer awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society along his journey.
One Foot in Front of the Other is a behind the scenes look at the physical and mental strength it took, ultimately offering the reader inspiration and hope.
This man is my son, and the book is dedicated to me, in tribute to the challenging battle with a rare cancer I fought from 2010-2013. Can I be objective? Probably not, but for now, I’ll be the girl on the rooftop shouting.
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=mike+duhacek+one+foot+in+front+of+the+other&ref=nb_sb_noss
Quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
I had no idea until recently that there were so many different types of Kindle to choose from…including Kindle Oasis, Kindle Voyage and Kindle Paperwhite. But then, when it comes to technology, I have been known to be last to the party!
I was always a diehard ‘hold a book in my hands’ kind of girl, but now I’m finding that it doesn’t matter what device I’m reading it on, once it has me hooked. I just finished reading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, on my Kobo, and I would have finished that if it was on the back of a cereal box! Although for me, nothing beats the experience of browsing in a favourite bookstore. Hopefully, there’s room for all.
My three contemporary women’s fiction, A Path to the Lake, Full of Grace, and The Smell of Roses, are all now available on Kindle, as well as in paperback! (Back of book blurbs and links are all on the books page of my website.) But, it you prefer, you can still order the paperback from Amazon, Wal-Mart online catalogue, Indigo, or any major bookseller, if you like that feel of a book in your hands.
Whatever method of reading you choose, it’s a good day to curl up with a new book and enjoy!
Quote: “Writing is a process, a journey into the memory and the soul.” Isabel Allende
I was so thrilled to read the review below of Happy Haiku this week on social media, by children’s book author and reviewer, Nancy I. Sanders. A huge and grateful thanks to her for reviewing Happy Haiku, shortlisted for the American Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Books Award.
‘I think one of the richest treasures we can share with children is a love for poetry. I’m excited to announce there’s a wonderful poetry book I recently discovered called Happy Haiku. The author is an award-winning haiku poet and her simple yet profoundly beautiful poems reflect this. I find myself returning again and again to read each haiku and the words resonate so beautifully each time I do.
A variety of childhood memories are written as haiku in this delightful book. Planting a bush, playing forts with blankets on a rainy day, watching fireworks, and going to the beach are just some of the many events kids can relate to.
What’s fun is that I leaned that there are even different ways to write haiku than the standard one I’ve learned! If you’re a teacher, school librarian, or homeschooling mama (or grandma like me!) guaranteed that you’ll love this collection of haiku to share with your little ones!’
Like many authors and poets, I am constantly looking for ways to promote and share my work. But during this time of struggle for so many people, in so many ways, I have to admit I’ve struggled with a ‘look at me, look at my work’ approach to marketing.
I remind myself writing and creating is what I do, and so I carry on posting my latest review or poem on my website or Instagram, but I must admit, in a world where there is so much suffering, it can seem insignificant at times.
To all my writing and poet friends, and anyone who has supported my endeavours in any way, whether here in Canada or in countries around the world, I wish you and your loved ones all the important things, like good health and dreams of better days ahead.
May we all recognize and remember what is significant to us in our own world, as well as in others.
Quote: Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. Thich Nhat Hanh
I often get asked how to teach haiku to young people. As I’ve stated before, it’s my belief that the most effective way is to introduce them to poetry that they can relate to.
Happy Haiku (shortlisted for the American Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Books Award) is a valuable teaching tool for early childhood and junior grade teachers, as the poems are about family love and happy stories about nature.
When I learned that haiku poets were using it as a teaching tool for older kids, I decided to write a poetry book for kids from grades 6-12, which is now available. As editor and poet Michael Rehling stated in the foreword for What We All Want to Say, poetry for grades 6-12, “For better or worse we carry with us all of the experiences in our life. They are though much less of a burden if they are in the form of a poem. Haiku are short poems that are small reminders of the larger issues in life.”
This is an example of one of the contemporary haiku poems you will find that kids in middle grade or high school may be able to relate to. Remember, haiku is meant to be read slowly, and often twice.
all the activities
I never chose
Happy Haiku and What We All Want to Say, poetry for grades 6-12, are available for purchase on the Books page of this website. Hopefully the poems in these books will inspire the young people in your life to try their own. And maybe you will, too!
Quote: “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath
My love for Japanese short form poetry is no secret. One of the reasons I wrote What We All Want to Say, poetry for grades 6-12, is to put a poetry book out into the world that is relevant to young people today. My hope is that it will inspire students to create their own poetry, or to encourage discussion in the classroom or at home.
What We All Want to Say is a collection of contemporary haiku, senryu (a close cousin to haiku) and three haibun (prose with a haiku), written in the voice of a teenager. Haiku has evolved over the years, and it became important to me to show the younger generation what haiku poetry sounds like today.
My recent picture book, Happy Haiku (shortlisted for the American Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Books Award) is targeted to pre-school and junior elementary children, but there is still a void for contemporary poetry in the middle grade and high school market. It’s my hope that What We All Want to Say can help fill that void.
Published by Cyberwit.net, it will become available for order the week of July 21, 2020, from both Amazon and Cyberwit.
Quote: “Too many adults wish to ‘protect’ teenagers when they should be stimulating them to read of life as it is lived.” Margaret A. Edwards
After taking a little break, I have just signed a new contract with Crimson Cloak Publishing for my picture book, Happy Haiku, and I couldn’t be more pleased. It will re-appear on Amazon soon! Happy Haiku has been used by junior grade teachers as a teaching tool to introduce haiku into the classroom.
Speaking of teaching tools, I am thrilled to say that Cyberwit.net will soon be publishing my book of Japanese short form poetry (haiku, senryu and haibun) for grades 6-12. There is a huge void in the contemporary haiku market for relevant poems for that age group. I’ll post again as soon as it becomes available.
I’ll leave you with a helpful hint for teaching haiku! The plural of haiku….is still haiku!
Founded in 1990, the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Contest for grades 7-12 is co-sponsored by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association and the Haiku Society of America. It was an honour to be asked to co-judge the contest this year with Michael Dylan Welch. The results can be found on the Nicholas A. Virgilio website, The Haiku Society of America website and its journal, Frogpond. A hearty congratulations to the six winners! It was truly a privilege to read your work.
Quote: “Our aspirations are our possibilities.” Robert Browning
I found out yesterday that my picture book, Happy Haiku, has been shortlisted for the prestigious American Haiku Foundation Award. This is the second time I have been fortunate enough to experience this, as my chapbook Not Like Fred and Ginger, was shortlisted for a Touchstone Award in 2014.
To say it gave me pause for reflection would be an understatement. The first book chronicled my very challenging journey with cancer from 2010-2013. There was a time that I didn’t know that I would still be here in 2020, let alone have another book, particularly a happy one, worthy of such recognition.
This is probably a thinly veiled attempt to say that in troubled times, we must do our best to hold on and always look forward to better days ahead.
I am grateful to the American Haiku Foundation and the Touchstone Committee and judges for this honour.
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” William Woodsworth