Saturday, June 7, 2008

Review of CONTEMPORARY HAIBUN 9

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Contemporary Haibun, Volume 9. Edited by Jim Kacian, Bruce Ross & Ken Jones. Red Moon Press: Winchester, VA, 2007. ISBN: 1-978-893959-69-9. Perfect bound, 5 ¼ x 8 ¼ inches, 110 pp., $16.95 US.
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Reviewed by Matthew Paul
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In a brief foreword, the three editors remark on the increase in submissions over the nine years of the Contemporary Haibun series, with a quarter of those submissions “coming from overseas [i.e. from outside the USA], largely, to be sure, from other English-native countries, but not exclusively so”. Whilst the increase, like the longevity of the series, is indeed a cause for celebration, what isn’t clear is the scale of the numbers involved. Is haibun still a form for relatively few, perhaps a couple of hundred, practitioners, or is the number significantly higher? I’m not certain whether the question is an important one, but for haibun to keep a tenuous hold within the range of western literary forms, size may matter.

The “multi-voiced colloquy” that the editors claim for the haibun community is grandiose. Looking quickly through the index of the 54 haibun and haiga contributors there were few names that I didn’t instantly recognise. Even among the few whom I sense may be new to haibun, one, Tom Cunliffe, I recently met on a poetry course in London. It’s a small world, and the haibun world is inevitably infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things. Some contributors have had two or three pieces included and I wonder whether a one-haibun-per-writer policy might have served to give more room to the “colloquy”. It’s worth noting too that dust of summers, the 2007 edition of Red Moon Press’s other annual selection, the Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku, includes 24 haibun which could, presumably have been included within Contemporary Haibun. The latter claims to be “dedicated to the best haibun…written each year in English from around the world”, whilst the Red Moon Anthology supposedly “assembles each year the finest haiku and related forms published around the world in English into a single book”. Publisher’s blurb those claims may be, yet such hyperbole cannot go unchallenged when one clearly contradicts the other. There is no doubt in my mind that the “best” haibun published in 2007 must de facto include the likes of Roberta Beary and Lynne Rees, whose work appears in the Red Moon Anthology but, disappointingly, not in Contemporary Haibun.

So much for quantity and grandiosity; what of the quality? Thankfully, the foreword does not repeat the overblown claim of the blurb, but it does set an ambitious target, that the Contemporary Haibun series might serve to encourage “the re-adoption of haibun in Japan, where it has been largely moribund for the past two centuries”. To my mind, that aim is akin to running before you can walk – surely a healthier, and more important, aim would be to establish haibun further within the haikai forms widely practised outside Japan and within those countries’ literature-loving communities. Such an objective would probably be far more achievable too. And for all the fairly minor faults that I have so far identified, Contemporary Haibun Volume 9 does contain some haibun whose quality and thematic and stylistic variety would and ought to be readily appreciated by the wider literary community. I will go on to consider the individual contributions later, but my final comments on its overall aims are these: it could, and should, have wider appeal than merely to the haibun community, yet the book makes no concession to readers who are unfamiliar with the haibun form.

With regard to presentation, the Mark Rothko painting on its cover does the book few favours, famed as Rothko was/is for his angst and suicide, which are at odds with the largely life-affirming qualities of the haibun form. However, the spatial arrangement and presentation of the haibun on the page are excellent, and the prose and haiku, in different fonts, have room to breathe. (Regretfully, the same cannot always be said of the haiga, some of which – e.g. Jane Whittle’s on p.36 – are poorly reproduced and consequently look, unfortunately, amateurish.) Also, ordering the haibun by surname of the contributors may be an opportunity lost in some cases, as it renders the juxtaposition of the haibun, particularly when on the same spread, arbitrary. That said, it can – and does – occasionally bring forth some interesting and serendipitous juxtapositions, but the feeling persists that proper consideration of the running order, and how each haibun and haiga interacts with its neighbours, might have been more to the book’s advantage. The lack of ‘notes on contributors’ is a cause for regret too.

So what of the haibun? Defiantly, challengingly, enticingly, the book opens with one of its most minimal haibun, Hortensia Anderson’s ‘Dreams,’ consisting of five sentences and one haiku. I’m tempted to quote it in full, but won’t since I don’t want to ruin the pleasure of reading what is an excellent example of how the haibun form can be much more than the sum of its parts. For me it ticks all the right boxes; concise (but not clipped), elegant and engaging prose, culminating in a proper haiku that would be worthy of publication in its own separate right. Just read aloud the following sentence from ‘dreams’ to gain its magical flavour: “I catch the shimmer of a silver lure on the edge of consciousness”. As that extract indicates, the haibun drifts in and out of reality, whilst managing still to be emotionally affecting. From what I’ve read over the years, few haibun writers attempt to write pieces that are as poetic and unified as ‘dreams’ and even fewer succeed.

Anderson’s second piece, ‘Leaving the Lane’ is more rooted in conscious reality, but again features poetic prose, including adjectival compounds such as “ballet slipper tinted petals” and “tiny sweet-tart apples” that work effectively, since Anderson knows how to use them sparingly. Again, also, the (two) haiku are the genuine article, i.e. not the almost-haiku that so often appear in haibun, and the second one, on whose synaesthetic notes the haibun hauntingly ends, reflects back on the spring-based themes of the prose:

Chopin nocturne—
the lower octaves warm
from the sun
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Having taken the editors to task for placing the haibun in order of the writers’ surnames, it is nevertheless a happy fact that Anderson’s work should appear first, since her haibun are easily among the best in the book and deserve a wide and receptive readership.

More’s the pity, then, that the serious-minded excellence of Anderson’s contributions are followed by a weak haibun, by Ken Arnold, whose playful humour raises a smile on a first reading but does little for me on subsequent readings. The haiku are poor and over-wordy, and the editor of any self-respecting haiku journal would doubtless return them with advice to prune them considerably. Particularly off-putting is the placement of three attempts at ‘Zen-like’ haiku about snow one after the other, which is probably two too many. The piece makes no attempt to be anything other than an anecdote interspersed with not-quite-haiku and it is therefore debatable whether that is sufficient for it to be described as haibun, let alone included within a best-of. I’m not against the use of humour in haibun or haikai forms per se; yet it’s best used as one of several means to an end rather than as the raison d’etre.

It’s unclear whether Ed Baker’s haibun, ‘Better than Flowers’, recounting an ‘incident’ in Bashō’s life is fictional or has any basis in fact. Either way, it’s little more than a mildly pleasing anecdote, ending with a haiku that may or not be a translation of a Bashō original.

Much more successfully than Baker’s, Collin Barber’s ‘6 Years and 103,000 Miles’ and Marjorie Buettner’s ‘Snowing Again’ are fine, compact haibun, dealing with the passage of time. Buettner’s is especially good, and treats the pain of her (or her persona’s) aunt’s miserable death with admirable poetic honesty, in one fluid sentence that has been crafted and revised until its flow is manifestly an outpouring of deeply-felt emotion:

the way she looked at me through her pain at the end of another heart attack, her last couple of breaths so far away from each other like an echo thrown from the top of a hill barely reaching the other side…

snowing again—
my aunt’s hats cupped
within each other

Yvonne Cabalona’s ‘First Bra’ uses memory well, in fine prose, to tell us of the first girl in her grade to mature physically, with awe and envy relayed through the years:

She was brand-name; we were generic. She was wavy hair, cute nose and self-possessed. Most of us still were baby-fat and self-conscious.

Unfortunately, the taut excellence of the prose is undermined by a haiku that clunkingly puns – ‘garden warmth / a bee slips into the cup / of a tulip’ – on the title of the piece. It’s not the best haiku anyway, with a first line that reads too much like a scene-setting indication from a play.

In ‘A Roseprint Scrimshaw’, the Australian writer Ross Clark ambitiously recreates the maiden voyage, that ended very quickly in sinking, of King Henry VIII’s huge flagship, the Mary Rose, and tangentially reflects upon objects recovered from it as they (presumably) tour in an exhibition to his “city in a country then only speculation”. Irritatingly, Clark eschews capital letters, even at the start of sentences, which is a shame as the piece, whilst being perhaps a little too terse in its prose style, has an original view of this event of late medieval British history. Its two haiku are too clipped also and add little value to the prose, seemingly being mere after-thoughts.

Katherine Cudney’s ‘making believe’ and Tom Cunliffe’s ‘Ewe’ both take the format of one paragraph of densely-packed sentences leading to a single haiku. In both cases the prose is well-crafted and urges the reader on by building up tension. This is haibun-as-story-telling; much more than a simple recounting of anecdote or reminiscence. Cudney’s first-person narrative does not prevent the reader from engaging fully with her childhood memories. Cunliffe’s piece unusually and skilfully addresses an unnamed ‘you’, without his approach appearing unnatural; though its haiku is weak and therefore anticlimactic.

The haibun are interspersed by haiga, which, being reproduced in black and white, mostly do not work. Even the haiga of the very talented Lidia Rozmus are ineffective, as the monochrome fails to bring out the subtlety of the ink paintings. Perhaps the only haiga which do work well on the page are those of Jim Kacian and Alice Frampton, as theirs appear, from their definition, to be black and white originally. I’m not convinced that the inclusion of haiga in the book does anything other than distract attention away from what must be its primary focus: the haibun.

Gabrielle Day’s ‘Diaries’ briefly and obliquely, with bittersweet wit, traces the end of a long-term relationship.

Tish Davis’s ‘Water’ tries, a little self-consciously perhaps, to be varied in its sentence-lengths, as if the words can’t be trusted to flow naturally in response to the emotional story they tell.

In ‘The Basking Beach’, Sharon Dean includes five – count ‘em! – haiku within brief prose that flits between seriousness and frivolity. Five is too many, given that none of them are good enough to stand alone.

Garry Eaton’s ‘Saturday’s Hero’ is an excellent piece of life-writing that reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s debut novel The Town and the City. Its small-town baseball heroics make for a gripping read, however I’m not sure that the inclusion of three haiku within the longish story make it a haibun. Eaton’s other contribution, ‘My Father’s Fence’, also tells a tale, of uneasy father-son rapprochement, but, again, it somehow feels more like memoir than haibun, perhaps because the raison d’etre of the prose is its narrative thrust, rather any real attempt at artistry.

‘Daydream’ by Lynn Edge is a brief reverie where the writer lets her imagination run refreshingly free. Judson Evans’s ‘Change Machine’ is another flight of fancy, in precise and persuasive language, but is let down by a dull not-quite-a-haiku. Evans’s intriguingly-titled ‘Letters from the Village of Liars’ consists of a walk around a nature trail, with haiku that are once more weak and prose that doesn’t really make the kind of narrative sense that it wants to. It’s worth me saying too that the significance of the title, despite my best Googling efforts, remains a mystery to me.

Although they are separated by four haiga of sorts, the alphabetical arrangement means that Evans’s second piece is followed by another haibun/nature walk, ‘Encounter’, by Izabel Sonia Ganz. She describes the lush vegetation well:

The path expires into a living fence of frangipanis, white five-petalled starry flowers all around on the ground. Their smell envelops me like a flowing shawl, pashmina-soft and light.

The ending, though, is a haiku that errs, with its whiff of Zen, towards pretentiousness: ‘the sound of / the old skin / shed’. So often, it seems, attractive prose within haibun is let down by haiku that simply do not cut the mustard.

David Giacolone’s ‘Silly Woman’ is a brave and successful attempt to fictionalise a ‘true story’ gleaned from the media. His style is original and excellent and ought to be read, above all, for his effort in trying to do something different with the haibun form.

Like Garry Eaton’s ‘Saturday’s Hero’, Clyde Glandon’s ‘All my old Baseball Cards are Gone Too’ uses baseball to tell a well-written story. It has added interest in the way that it humorously and engagingly digresses from the start towards its finish.

As an admirer of his work, I was disappointed by Charles Hansmann’s ‘Confetti’. It’s a straightforward recounting of a childhood memory, yet both its prose and its single haiku are plain to the point of being featureless. It is slightly let down too by a glaring typo in its second line.

By contrast, and in a rare example of the alphabetical placement producing a serendipitous juxtaposition, Michelle L. Harvey’s ‘a spider’s web’, on the facing page, manages to tell a sensational story in just two sentences and a running-on-sentence haiku. Harvey’s other piece, ‘the dappling’ is equally brief but effective.

C.W. Hawes’s ‘Vastness’ is quietly enjoyable, though unremarkable.

‘In Harm’s Way’ by Robert Hecht is a fine example of a childhood-memory haibun where the incident it recounts has no trace of sentimentality, nor could it. Its haiku is an exemplar of how haiku should be used to reflect upon, but also veer away from, the prose. A reader looking for a haibun that shows how the form can be brilliantly effective in universalising personal memory need go no further than Hecht’s piece. My only criticism would be that its first line is too much of an obvious scene-setter – we could infer, rather than be told, that the protagonists are “a gang of 10-year-olds”. As with other haikai forms, more often than not, less is more.

Lorne Henry’s ‘Sea Creature’ shares the same fault, beginning thus: “Scuba diving in the bay off Melbourne”. To me, this is lazy writing, in that (a) it’s irrelevant to the rest of the haibun that it is set “off Melbourne” or anywhere specific, and (b) the fact that it features scuba-diving could surely be implied, or at least conveyed more subtly. I believe that haibun, like haiku, cannot afford to give the game away completely; that some facts may well be best withheld, not so much that clarity is lost but sufficient to give the reader some work to do. It’s a difficult balancing act sometimes, yet a writer of haibun can do worse than to ask her/himself, “Do I really need to tell the reader that?”

I also believe that there is a balance to be struck between straightforward narrative and poetic prose: too much either way and the haibun risks being mere réportage or over-the-top respectively. In ‘New Life’, Paul Hodder, whether consciously or not, opts for the former and, in so doing, his haibun comes across as a short journalistic essay. Despite its concentration on action and a relative lack of description, it is nevertheless moving. To what extent it meets any commonly-held definition of ‘haibun’ is open to debate. The editors clearly feel that haibun is a broad church if such a piece finds its way into a best-of. Presumably they believe that such diversity is healthy; yet I would contend, or suggest at least, that haibun is not just a matter of producing an emotional response from readers – after all a relatively artless pop song can have that effect – and that a haibun containing wholly unpoetic prose is like a car without an engine.

Wisely or not, the editors each contribute one haibun. Ken Jones’s ‘A Bare Thorn Tree’ is trademark Jones: he, or his persona, out in nature, his tired bones mirrored by the “shivering cold” of the elements. His prose contains some fine writing:

Ready now to join myself for breakfast. The porridge becomes agitated—puckering, spitting and growling. A gentle stir with the long wooden spoon quiets it down.

But the haiku are unconvincing. As Martin Lucas remarked, in Blithe Spirit 17/4 (p.23), of Jones’s haibun:

If a haibun does not get good value out of its haiku, it’s a dubious enterprise; and a fictional haibun might as well be a short story. Indeed it would be better off as a short story, liberated from the irritating punctuation of mediocre, or even feeble, haiku.

Good points, well made, and, on the evidence of ‘A Bare Thorn Tree’, bang on the money. Each of the three haiku is a sentence chopped into haiku form and with no redeeming quality. There can be no doubt that none of the three would be accepted for publication as stand-alone poems. So, disappointingly, there’s an unsatisfactory whole of well-crafted prose let down by not-quite-haiku, like a car without wheels. For editors to include their own work within an anthology, it is vital that it, perhaps more than anyone else’s, has to be first-rate and that it leads by example.

What then of the haibun by another of the editors, Jim Kacian? Even when not at his brilliant best, Kacian’s writing usually contains some quirkiness or characteristic that engages the reader. His ‘i suppose’ is no exception. In spite of the annoying lack of capital letters at the start of each sentence, the haibun contains a punchline that is immediately – and cleverly – undermined (in a positive way) by a one-line haiku that (literally) resounds and folds back into the prose, and thereby makes the haibun far more than one well-disguised gag. Kacian’s prose is chatty and light, in the karumi sense, and the length of the piece is well-judged.

Ellen Kombiyil’s ‘The Night Sky’s Answer’ strikes an excellent balance between showing and telling. It has a hallucinatory effect, set in an unspecified exotic location where “[t]his galaxy spins inside the universe, which edges out and also spins”. Its haiku is not the world’s greatest but it performs its function within the haibun and is at least a passable haiku, that is both relevant to and at a tangent from the prose. The haibun’s air of mystery is calculated successfully to make the reader want to re-read it and savour each line.

Like Kombiyil’s, Cheryl Loetscher’s haibun, ‘As the Mind Clears’, mashes up reality, dealing as it does with the not-quite-there-ness of grief and the exhaustion it brings to mind and body. It’s an odd, as in unusual, piece, whose haiku – ‘dusty spices / arranged in neat rows / famished for words’ – echoes the prose descriptions of “leathery Uncles born to the soil” and “unpopulated landscapes”.

Bob Lucky has three haibun in the book and no wonder: he’s a natural story-teller and he uses the form to both poignant and comic effect. ‘Cobra’ and ‘Running with the Yaks’ both recount serious tales, but with vivacity and humour. The haiku of the latter happily echoes a line in his hilarious, almost Wodehousian, masterpiece, ‘Minutes of the First and Last Meeting of the Haiku Club of Bahrain’. These are haibun with wide appeal; expertly written and carefully finding the middle way between brevity and verbosity.

Mary Mageau’s ‘My Enchanted Garden’ risks veering into tweeness but avoids it by allowing memory to intrude on its florid scene. Mageau’s attempt at poetic prose largely succeeds, though having two consecutive sentences with similes containing “like” may be over-egging the pudding. The paragraph break seems a little arbitrary too, both the one that she makes and the one – before the intrusion of her ‘mother’s voice – that she doesn’t.

‘Hand-Wing’ by Sabine Miller is like nothing else in the book. Whether intended as such or not, it comes across as surrealist, automatic writing. I can’t make head or tail of it; nevertheless I enjoy its spontaneous flow: “spring slips through the attic grate in long leather gloves and a pinch-purse and a beard”.

In comparison, Victoria Oliver’s ‘The Ducks’ appears banal. Yet, somehow its incidental matter-of-fact-ness is greater than mere narration. What spoils it are an unnecessary final paragraph of prose and a mundane haiku that reads too much like an extension of the prose.

‘Seasons of Change’ by Emma Lee Pallai concerns the magic hour of twilight and how it was a haven from “living with a mother that was bi-polar (it’s telling that she writes “that” rather than “who”). It’s a fine idea and she nearly pulls it off. Unfortunately, the prose could do with being sharpened and thereby heightened, and the haiku, in 5-7-5, is a very weak would-be senryu. Such intense, emotional prose would be far better ended with a nature haiku that could reflect upon – and detour from – the twilight theme.

Zane Parks’s ‘A New Day’ deals with a medical difficulty of a different order and ends with a sexually-charged senryu that skilfully makes light of the struggles within the prose.

‘Never Ending Rains’ by Kala Ramesh has a fine haibun trying to get out but (for me) it loses syntactic sense halfway through and neither of its haiku adds to the prose.

Like Bob Lucky, Ray Rasmussen is expert at telling stories – whether fictional or real – within haibun. His two contributions, ‘Judas Kiss’ and ‘Talking About Things’, are well-observed and nicely written. ‘Judas Kiss’, though, would be improved by ending with a haiku that isn’t just a continuation of the prose.

The third editor, Bruce Ross, contributes ‘The Next World’, one of the surprisingly and refreshingly few ‘travel haibun’ within the anthology. It’s an acceptable piece, however travel haibun rarely do much for me unless they convincingly convey local flavour. Ross’s piece is too brief to do justice to the Mexican scene he describes and the prose reads as though it was dreamt up as an after-thought to the haiku.

Katrina Shepherd’s ‘Windows’ consists of a poignant school-days memoir, with its power being somewhat lessened by her stylistic aberration of largely omitting articles and pronouns. Consequently, sentences read like telegrams, as do the uncompelling haiku.

Richard Straw’s ‘Forever’ and ‘Katallagete’ both stray on the right side of sentimentality and are chock-full of detail remembered from childhood and young adulthood respectively.

Priscilla van Valkenburg’s ‘the Airport’ is no more than a journalistic – and arguably intrusive – account of the distress of a “group of travellers and relatives, milling, interpreting, and frowning”. The haiku is very poor too.

Diana Webb contributes two contrastingly styled haibun: one, ‘Claude Monet – Monochrome’, is a brief re-creation of the circumstances behind two of Monet’s paintings; and the other, ‘A Time’, cleverly moves autobiographically from childhood (in the prose) to the present (in the haiku), with the present refracting back to the childhood. No doubt because Webb knows what she’s writing about, ‘A Time’ is by far the most convincing of the two. The Monet piece, fittingly, is a bit impressionistic, as if the sketches could be fleshed out with some more detail.

The curiously-titled ‘Hephaestus’ (the Greek god of “fire and metal craftsmanship” and the equivalent of the Roman Vulcan, according to my old encyclopaedia) by N.C. Whitehead, contains equally curious subject-matter. It’s a comparative rarity in the book in being written in the past tense, yet that does not make exegesis any easier. I’m not sure if I should have, but I read the haibun as if it is science fiction.

Each of Jeffrey Winke’s three entertaining contributions exemplify his wry take on matters, to the extent that it’s not easy to know when, if at all, he’s being serious, or if anything he writes is more than fairly random ramblings, like he’s the Richard Brautigan of haibun.

‘Burning Steinbeck’ by Tad Wojnicki is a serio-comic haibun, whose haiku acts as a punchline.

‘Shorty’ by Jeffrey Woodward is a sustained, unpunctuated description of the long-ago eponymous character. Without punctuation, it’s an impressive feat to keep the prose in any way naturalistic and few writers dare even attempt it. To follow in the stylistic footsteps of Thomas Wolfe, D.H. Lawrence and Kerouac is brave and has another virtue: that of rendering easier to read the more conventional style of his other haibun. Both ‘Goat’s Beard’ and ‘In Arcadia’ share the slightly mournful, ruminative tone of ‘Shorty’. As in the best haibun, and haiku too, what isn’t stated is as important as what is, and Woodward’s experience and talent enables him to know not just what to include in his haibun but what to omit also.

Pleasingly, the book ‘s last piece is also carefully written; its power stemming from Zoller’s judgement that the reader will infer whatever significance s/he wishes from the brief details that she provides.

So what have I discerned from reading this anthology? Well, it has confirmed what I have long suspected: that the best haibun, the ones that really stick in the mind as excellent writing, are those that aren’t journalistic, flat-as-a-pancake accounts of events, but are something more, much more: consisting of literary prose (though not overcooked), haiku that are good enough to stand alone and which simultaneously mirror and diverge from the prose, and an overall degree of mysterious literariness, some universal je ne sais quoi that engages the reader and lifts what might otherwise be an ordinary incident or story on to a higher plane. That is surely what all literary forms aspire to do. On the evidence of Contemporary Haibun Volume 9, whilst some writers have elevated haibun so that it bears a healthy comparison with other forms, too much of what passes for meritorious haibun doesn’t yet reach that standard.

Matthew Paul was born in 1966 and lives and works in London. A regular contributor of haiku to journals in the UK and the USA for many years, his first collection, The Regulars, was recently published by Snapshot Press. He is reviews editor for Presence haiku magazine. With John Barlow, he is the co-editor and co-writer of Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku (Snapshot Press, 2007), an anthology which reflects his love of the natural world and avian life in particular.

4 comments:

Alan Summers said...

A very useful review which tempts me to order the book despite the number of weak haibun.

I do have a problem with a great number of haibun which I find interminbly boring at times.

My favourite haibun writers have been Arwyn Evans; Michael McClintock; and Hortensia Anderson; who write regularly good pieces of prose and haiku;and I am grateful to Matthew Paul for pointing out haibun, and writers, that I will keep a good eye out for in future.

Ed Baker said...

the story re" Basho is true
and the poem is NOT a translation..

it is mine

Alan Summers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Writers Workshop said...

Some spot on comments in Paul's review, e.g., Keep the focus on the English Speaking Form. And what is needed to do just that is good reviews (of which this is one); a better understanding of what makes the form work (Paul provides his thoughtful views on this); and more readers and writers (this sort of review will help people find their way to the form and consider trying it out as will the various journals that embrace the form).

I do want to challenge the oft cited idea that the haiku must stand alone. If a haiku is good enough to stand alone and is good enough to be worth reading (and I think that few of the millions of haiku published daily are) then why embellish such a rare gem with prose. Let it stand alone. In my view, haibun is a linking form, meaning that haiku and prose link up, but not necessarily stand alone. The haiku serves to create a mental shift in the reader, just as line breaks do in free verse poetry. It signals ... "Here comes something different--pause and take it in." That something can be a summary, an intensification of feeling, a presentation of parallel, but different images yet related to the prose. And, the prose, while telling its own story, is somehow incomplete or unfinished without the haiku. Neither stands alone.

Of course, haibun is an emerging form just as English haiku has been for many decades and I am expressing my views just as Paul has expressed his. Where it goes in the future will be up to the various editors of good journals and their willingness to pick the best of the writing and up to those providing thought-provoking reviews like this one. Thank you for that contribution.

Ray Rasmussen