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A Journal of Haibun & Tanka Prose


Contemporary Haibun Online (CHO) publishes 3 issues per year, April, August and December. It publishes haibun and tanka prose and articles about those forms. It does not publish haiku or tanka independent of haibun or tanka prose.

Submission Periods for Haibun and Tanka Prose:

Jan 01 - 31 for the April issue.
May 01 - 31 for the August issue
Sept. 01 - 31 for the December issue

Submissions should be sent to the content editors. The submissions should be contained in the email and not as an attachment.

Haibun: Rich Youmans (Apr. issue), Glenn Coats (Guest Editor, Aug. issue), Terri French (Dec. issue) -> Click Here to submit Haibun

Tanka Prose: Tish Davis (All issues) -> Click here to submit Tanka Prose

Articles: Patricia Prime -> Click Here to Submit Articles, Reviews, Interviews, Commentaries.

Patricia Prime's Guidelines:

Books for review may be sent to Patricia Prime, 42 Flanshaw Road, Te Atatu South, Auckland 0610, New Zealand.

Tish Davis' Tanka Prose Guidelines:

Tanka prose, as a literary form in English, continues to evolve. Writers are encouraged to read and study tanka prose resources for exposure to a variety of perspectives perhaps starting with Claire Everett's interview with a doyen of tanka prose, Jeffrey Woodward. "Tanka Prose, Tanka Tradition: An Interview with Jeffrey Woodward." I don't want to restrict writers with preset formulas. Many years ago I attended a Steve Reich concert and was mesmerized by "Clapping Music," a minimalistic piece performed entirely by two performers clapping. Tanka prose can also be minimalistic, but I need to hear the music.

Rich Youmans' Haibun Guidelines:

As a genre, haibun has grown in scope to cover everything from brief biographical episodes to surrealistic prose-poem narratives and “flash” stories, and CHO welcomes all explorations into content and style. However, good haibun do share a few basic characteristics.

First, the prose typically relies on concrete descriptions and images, rather than rococo phrases and impassioned, emotional outbursts. Like all good writing, it "shows" more than "tells," and it engages multiple senses (not just sight). The prose is brief, with the writer often focusing on specific moments and portraying them in the fewest words possible, leaving the readers to explore and fill in the blank spaces on their own (just like haiku). "Brief" doesn't always mean "short," though—some excellent haibun, especially travelogues, have gone on for several pages, but always as building blocks of prose and haiku.

Then there's the title to consider: Is it working for a living, helping to contribute to the overall effect of the haibun? I've seen many haibun where the prose repeats the title, as if it weren't a few inches away or weren't really a part of the haibun. Titles want to do their part; help them to live up to their potential.

And then, of course, there's the haiku. Yes, some definitions say a haiku isn’t mandatory, but common practice has upended that theoretical stance. The haiku create leaps (the old "link and shift"): they don't repeat or closely paraphrase the prose, they expand it, creating resonances that enrich the reading experience.

But the best haibun don’t just have a bunch of haiku strewn about like so many decorative buttons on a coat. Yes, some of those buttons might be quite beautiful in their own right, but ultimately only a few really serve to keep the coat closed and the body warm. In my experience, the same standard applies to haibun: Those pieces that resonate most deeply have only “purposeful” haiku. When writing a haibun, I’ll sometimes ask myself, “If that haiku were removed, would the haibun suffer in any way?” If the answer is no, then chances are I have a bad haibun on my hands. I've read more than a few submissions where I enjoyed the prose immensely, but the haiku seemed to be there as afterthoughts, looking pretty but serving no purpose. I also might ask a corollary: Could that haiku have been rewritten as prose? If the answer is yes—and especially if it’s yes, to better effect—I know I have to try harder. But when the balance is right, and the interplay occurs, then something like a chemical reaction ensues—a + b = c—and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Submission Requirements & Response Time:

In submitting your work, it is assumed that you've read these guidelines and agree with their contents. It can take approximately two weeks for our editors to notify you as to whether your submission has been accepted, accepted subject to revisions, or not accepted. Please be aware that at times, our editors may be unavailable for short periods, so there could be delays in getting back to you. Time constraints and the voluntary nature of editors' roles restrict editors from corresponding in any depth with writers whose work has not been accepted. 

1) You may submit up to 3 pieces in each content area: haibun and tanka prose.

2) You may only submit work that is not under consideration by other publications. Haibun that have been posted on closed Internet discussion forums or on personal web sites that are independent publication sites will be considered.

We will also consider some pieces that have been previously published elsewhere, particularly if the pieces have appeared in non haiku genre publications that our readership is not likely to have read. . However, when you submit such pieces you must inform us of the publication venue and date (e.g., Free Verse Poetry, 5:4 2017). If accepted, your work will be noted as previously published. Similarly, if any of the haiku or tanka included in your submissions have previously been published as separate works, you must inform us of the publication venue and date for the haiku or tanka and a note will be added indicated that the haiku or tanka was previously published.

3) The rights to republish your work remains fully in your control and you need not seek permission to submit or republish the pieces elsewhere. However, CHO also reserves the right to republish or reference excerpts from your work in future issues of CHO, and in any associated annual print or on-line journals or anthologies sponsored by CHO (e.g., a Best of CHO anthology).

4) CHO retains first rights. This means that if you subsequently arrange to have your haibun published elsewhere, that publication venue must be informed that the work was previously published in CHO and the publication venue must cite CHO as the place of original publication.

5) If you have issues relating to the presentation of your work on the CHO pages, please contact technical editor (webmaster) Ray Rasmussen and use CHO in the subject line. For issues related to an acceptance that has not appeared or to the status of a submission, please contact the relevant content editor with CHO in the subject line.

Submission Procedures:

1) All submissions should be sent by email to content editor and, for record-keeping and administrative purposes, to technical editor Ray Rasmussen.

2) Your subject line should contain CHO, Sub, your name, and the date. We will not open any attachments, so paste your haibun directly into the body of the email.

Formatting: Copy Editing & Revisions:

If we publish your work, we will follow a CHO house style, e.g., left align the prose and the poems without paragraph indentation or special spacing. Please follow this format in your submissions. If you want us to make an exception, please indicate what you desire and explain your reasons. Some writers prefer not to capitalize names, titles, first words in sentences, etc. In such cases, we will adhere to a writer's preferences on the page where his or her haibun appears, but the main contents page will have all names and titles capitalized in the normal way.

1) All work accepted will be copy (not content) edited and for consistency we will use our house style on all copy. The copy editors will make any obvious changes without notifying the writers. However, if a writer feels a copy edit has led to a change in the writer's intentions or misrepresents the writer's preferred style, he or she may contact the editor and request changes.

Once a piece has been accepted, copy edited and formatted for the journal, we will not make content changes except under unusual circumstances.

Special Characters. It is our preference not to utilize diacritics (symbols added to letters, such as macrons and accents).There are several reasons. First, the computer language used to format web pages does not handle them well on all browsers used by readers. While such symbols represent pronunciation guides for Japanese-language readers, they have little meaning for English-language readers, most of whom will pronounce Basho the same way with or without the diacritics.