Would you like to understand the written style of haibun a little better?
A brief disclaimer: “When it comes to the history of the written word, I do not have a formal education. My study and research into haibun writing is just beginning. Some of what I write on this written art form is of a speculative nature and my own opinion”. Penny L Howe
Consider viewing haibun, (a classic Japanese style of creative writing), as an introspective approach to the written word.
The haibun is composed of two elements 1) one or more paragraphs, written as prose (without metric structure). AND 2) haiku (short free verse poem) on a subject, theme or prompt!
Prose -The approach is to convey a specific message or feeling (experience or thought – there is a strong relationship of most haikun to the nature of things.) while restricting the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, using your word power so each word adds an emphasis to the whole.
Use the word “the” only when it adds extra meaning to your thought and less use of sentences that explain what you just wrote. No verbosity, only using words that add value to the whole piece. If you write precisely enough, you shouldn’t need to belabor the point – written haibun flows as a result of this method.
Each written haibun piece is a stand alone! Concise, explicit and strong in content (so we’re clear on the definition of strong – you can be gentle in your written approach but everyone should clearly know when they finish reading that “gentle” was the goal).
Another key element is interpretive. A well written haibun can seem simply written, but is complex or even sophisticated in the understanding, and can have several values or levels to this awareness. Much like an internal thought process.
Haiku – is a Japanese poem – free verse, 3 line, with no caps. It is “generally understood” there is a total count of 17 or less syllables in the entire poem, again, popularly considered to be written in a 5-7-5 format (5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the third line). It is not essential or necessary to rigidly adhere to this formula) but the middle line is longer than the first and the third lines. Rule of thumb approximately 17 or so syllables in all three lines, total. View syllables as “soundings”. Recall that a syllable is organized units of speech sounds. Say (outloud) this potential first line of a haiku. Feel the sounds from the words.
“flowing haibun’s essence”
The haiku becomes vivid and alive when sentence connectors or “words that link” (words like: also, therefore, however) also prepositions and conjunctions (such as: of, to, in, but, and, or) are used in a discriminate manner. This is also true in the haibun.
Think in terms of the value of each word you use. Prepositions, conjunctions and sentence connectors should only be used when they help to emphasize or carry forward an expression.
The haiku can be a summation of the prose portion of the haibun or it can be an illumination that occurs as a result (understanding) of the written prose. The haiku can appear at the ending of the piece or placed in between the paragraphs to add emphasis. There can be more than one haiku in the haibun.
In summation, there exists a connection between the haiku and the prose of haibun. The connection may be clear and obvious or subtle bringing home a point, an awareness, an illumination or other thought process.
Though small in stature, glistening diamonds of moisture confront me during early walks through nature. I revel in luxury. The warmth of my skin embracing dewy, cool and moist softness. I see and feel the sensation of dewdrops.
Dewdrops suspended from blades of grass, wispy cobwebs, sturdy leaves, and delicate flowers. Each encounter experienced while travelling through morning’s meadow.
An arrested view of life, focusing on the nature of dewdrops. Beautiful to view, suns golden rays shimmering on these minute whispers of water. The substance of liquid. Quintessential to well-being of all life – my life. My relationship with water, reduced in the moment to all encompassing dewdrops.
entire world suspended
Thanks for stopping by and reading. If you found this article of value and would enjoy reading more of my personal insights about haibun writing please let me know!
Have a great day,
*ps – I have been persuaded to continue hosting the Ligo Haibun Challenge, as time permits, so I will be hosting a new one this week as usual!