Haibun – Writing the Essence (the method of)!

Hello!

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

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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.

SAMPLE HAIBUN:

Dewdrops

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.

Elemental need
entire world suspended
dewdrops expression

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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!

~ Penny

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Challenge yourself!

Summer is a busy time for many us, and with this – can come delays, as has been the case with the crew of the Ligo Haibun Challenge. Thank you for your patience, to those with entries. I have been reading all of the entrants for the past week and will be returning to comment on each.

A quandry, for me, these last few months has been picking honorable mentions – increasingly difficult because, point in fact, there are more than just a few good ones.

It is my opinion that each of you deserve honorable mentions. The very individualistic quality of each entry, the beautiful expressions of some, the unique perspective of others, the close-up realism of still others – while adhering to the haibun and haiku style and criteria, lends itself to (honestly) my personal inability to pick one over the other.

I am pleased that honorable mentions will happen monthly now. This means judging will be based on a body of your work. A new challenge each week, honorable mentions – once a month!

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There are two words to chose from for this week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge!

“Oblivion” or “Morning Glory” 

I would love to see lots of entrants to this week’s Challenge.

Get started, all you writers out there – I want to enjoy reading more wonderful haibun from all of you. Need more information?  Click here! And don’t forget, we are in the planning stages of putting together a haibun ebook (and with your permission) yours may be in there, too! Being published is always a good thing!

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Good luck, thanks for entering and/or being a dedicated reader of the haibun/haiku writing style and therefore … becoming a Haibuner like myself,

~ Penny

penny

The Blacksmith’s Bell – Līgo Haībun Challenge

There are two topics to chose from this week in the  Līgo Haībun Challenge, Many thanks to hostess Nightlake for presenting this opportunity for writers to improve their writing skills. For more information click on the link. At the close of each challenge several of the entrees are chosen to receive “special mention”. A pleasant added goal to strive for. To all who enter the challenge, I wish you good writing. The topics are:

Bells

or

“Strike while the iron is hot” – Chaucer

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blacksmith

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My offering: The Blacksmith’s Bell

The sound reverberated as his hammer struck metal again, and again, and yet again. His strokes, a rhythm of harmony in motion, striking precise spots in smoothing repetition. This was a critical stage; the shaping and molding of white hot metal. The fires from the forge flamed high, giving off much needed heat.

It was an honor to be chosen. He would not fail. No casting for this bell. It was being crafted from his hands to last forever and would ring with clarity, a pure rich song of vibration never heard before. He would insure this.

The slow uniform succession of strokes tolled as his bell would toll. His purpose, his design, his creation. Sweat pored freely down greatly reddened face and body as the fires flamed his desire to create. A transmuted configuration produced by him and only him. A work of art – the blacksmith’s bell.

pure essence of need

the crafting of creation

man’s driven desire

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Thank you,

Penny

plh