Saturday, November 17, 2007


A haibun poem may tell or give an impression of an actual or imagined experience.

It is written in prose and differs from the standard haibun in that it will usually not have a haiku. It is written with one or more (usually intra-sentence) line breaks. The line break may take the place of haiku and serve a similar purpose. Among other things, the line break may suggest a shift in meaning, introduce a juxtaposition, pause before an insight, link to something unexpected or alter a perspective.

The line break may also function in ways similar to a line break in poetry. For instance, it may work against the syntax of a sentence, so that a word’s part of speech (e.g., whether it is a noun or an adjective) may seem to change from the enjambed line to the line that completes the sentence. The line break may also signal a change of movement or suppress or highlight various internal features of the prose, such as rhyme or off-rhyme.

The number of line breaks is restricted by the writer’s concern for maintaining a sense of prose.

by Charles Hansmann
Sea Cliff, New York

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