Thursday, December 6, 2007


Correspondent: Patricia Prime

It is very exciting to have the new online outlet Haibun Today where poets can showcase their haibun, contribute reviews, articles and commentaries.

I’ve been asked by Jeffrey to be the correspondent for haibun happenings in New Zealand and Australia. I am co-editor of the New Zealand magazine Kokako and reviews editor of the online magazine Stylus.

We have a very limited haibun scene in New Zealand and there is only one publication, Kokako, which publishes haibun. I’ve been instrumental in getting some of the Japanese short forms of verse: haiku, tanka and haibun published in mainstream New Zealand poetry magazines. There have only been two New Zealand haibun publications: Shadow-Patches and listening to the rain, each of which was produced by a group of haiku poets.

There’s something about reading a haibun that lodges itself into the minds of readers, demanding understanding on the reader’s terms, and sometimes leading to the writing of one’s own poems. Good haibun live in a state of permanence: the poem dies when it has nowhere to go. The transformations that take shape when a haibun is published may cause it to become indelibly printed on the mind. Some live long in the readers’ memories, and others don’t survive a quick read. The haibun should not be something of a mopping-up operation, minor bits and bobs of writing brought together for the writer’s satisfaction, but should be formed of strands of prose and poetry braided together to form a coherent whole.

These are New Zealand and Australian publications which publish the occasional haibun:

Famous Reporter, editor Ralph Wessman. Walleah Press, P O Box 368, North Hobart, Tasmania 7002.
FreeXpresSion, editor Peter Pike. P O Box 4, West Hoxton, NSW, Australia 2171. Monthly. Subscription: $AUS 12.50 for 3 months. Email:
paper wasp, editor Katherine Samuelowicz. 14 Fig Tree Pocket Road, Chapel Hill, Queensland, Australia 4069. 4 issues. Subscription $AUS24.00. Email:
Stylus Poetry Journal, editor for haibun, Janice M. Bostok. Email:
Kokako, editors Patricia Prime & Owen Bullock. 2 issues $NZ20.00 (April/Sept). Email:

by Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand

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