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July 2015, vol 11 no 2

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Lynne Rees

Random Praise

Harriot West, featured writer in our last issue, spoke about that special juxtaposition between haiku and prose in haibun and I feel sure that the dramatic movement between forms, creating a satisfying and seamless link and shift, provides the greatest challenge to all haibun writers. 

Back in 2007, in the early days of submitting my haibun for publication, John Stevenson, then editor at Frogpond, highlighted a weak closing haiku but assured me: You can be sure that I'll still like the prose next time I see it, however long the interval. So take your time with the poem.

A month later I surprised myself with a haiku to complete it and John accepted the haibun: I'm pleased to accept "Fast Train" for the fall issue. I wish all poets submitting to Frogpond understood … the value of giving their work the time it needs to develop fully.

I'd like to pass on the same advice to haibun writers submitting their work to CHO: give your work the time it needs to develop fully. Consciously reflect on and articulate the relationship between your prose and haiku: how and why is it working for you? How will it work for a reader?

And please take a look at the opening of Chris Bays' 'Heartwood' in the last issue (11.1) to appreciate the subtlety and beauty of doing it well. The concrete detail of wood, the understated reference to a family’s generations, and the implicit themes of  'story' and 'history' contained in the rings of trees are all packed and foreshadowed in the haiku’s 8 words.