Notes on the LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE, the Web’s Original Haibun Challenge

Come join us in our weekly LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE! Here’s some notes about haibun to help you get started.

 

  • Haibun is a passage of prose with at least one haiku.
  • Haibun usually relate to a journey, whether the travels are exploration or  internal, and/or should be in contact with nature.
  • They can and ought to contain an epiphany received through experience.
  • The concept of a haibun being part of the series, or an ‘episode’ is a very important one, and often overlooked. Your haibun should tie together by some strand, either theme, location, journey or other.
  • The haiku describes a moment or happening. As part of the haibun it might serve as a ‘mirror’ or look at the prose in a ‘different’ way.
  • Use of a ‘season’ word is a classical way of writing a haiku. These are words that signify a given season and give the haiku earthing or anchoring.
  • Each week, at the Līgo Haībun Challenge here is a choice of two prompt words, quotes, or visuals. Please choose one for your haibun.
  • Wear the Ligo badge below with pride on your blog! And pin the Circle of Appreciation to your blog  if your haibun is one of the monthly  Honourable Mentions in Dispatches

Click on the url below to join the challenge!

Haibun as a literary form really started when Basho, the ‘father’ of haiku set off on a 2,400 km walk through Japan, deliberately straying into the mountains when he could. The travel journals were a mix of prose studded with haiku, and were published titled ‘Narrow Road To The Deep North’. Frankly, it is a wonderful book, and started a very special form of writing. Basho claimed the art and heart of haibun as his with his reflective writing, awareness and sharp imagery.

While seen as a classical form in Japan, haibun has seen a revival in English over the past decades.

People should write their haibun in the way they like to write. However, I do think that the register of the language used, not the style, is important. There is a difference.

The above looks difficult, but in fact we are not talking about a story with a twist here – at all, though a moment of discovery or epiphany in a haibun fits very well.

The first thing I look to in a haibun is if the writer was at the scene or not him or herself.  The scene may be a memory, or a plan, merely witnessed or interacted with, or a mix of many or all of those.

It is not a story, though is a narrative. Personally I find it hard to read a haibun not interacting with nature. Indeed, an emphasis on emotion and not imagery is something that does not work in a haibun as a whole.

I am personally not a fan of direct speech, or lengthy direct speech in a haibun.

Remember that with the prose comes one or more haiku, and they must relate – when they do it is wonderful reading, but those who write a beautiful prose and don’t carefully tie it together with a powerful haiku miss something, I think.

I do very much see haibun coming in a series, rather like a diary, so would accordingly expect each haibun written by a given writer not be completely and totally separate from the one before. But if you are writing about your thoughts, actions, journey or a period in your life this seems logical to me.

A deeper meaning to the haiku might be found by the reader, but that is the reader’s prerogative, not the writer’s.

  • Līgo is the largest summer solstice festival in the world very much connected to nature, and located in Latvia. Of recent years a similar New Year festival at around the same time has been gaining popularity in Yakutia and will probably catch on in Kazakhstan.

 

 

Carpe Diem Haibun – Beach

Beaches don’t come much colder than Aberdeen beach, in the northwest of Scotland. But before people bustled onto planes to get drunk abroad, Aberdeen beach was a popular holiday destinations for hardy Aberdonians. They don’t make folk like that anymore. Nowadays, of course, none venture in such cold waters when their are holidays further south to be had.

Advances in technology have brought a fair amount of improvements to our lives, but for every action there is a reaction. Isn’t that the first law of Physics?

Our food is worse now, not better. Our health and fitness worse. The food is less nutritious, and there is much less variety of it, a little known fact. There are many less varieties of apples around than there used to be 50, or a 100 years ago, for example, as industrial production seeks the cheapest to produce, the farthest away. One day we will learn more by looking back, except that many of these varieties have disappeared, forever. In fact there are storage centres desperately being arranged and built in an effort to preserve seeds of disappearing varieties of foodstock. It is that bad.

Our ancestors never got to see and experience what we do, but not everything they believed and lived by was wrong. Our social fabric is torn. Today we have what has become the propagandist aggressive negativity of Feminism, for example, while before we had gentlemen, and decency towards women. Even, maybe, in Aberdeen!

Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly gives an account of Aberdeen beach in his particular style which gives a fair idea of Aberdeen beach – start at 4.40 mins for his account of swimming in Aberdeen.

And the emptiness of Aberdeen beach today…

88beach_1

loneliness by the sea
what is found over horizons
is found here too

Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Soen Nakagawa’s “illumined by the moon”

As Chèvrefeuille says, the goal of this CD-Special is to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the given one of our featured haiku-poet. Here is the haiku, written by Soen Nakagawa, for inspiration:

how solemn
each patch of grass
illuminated by the moon

 

There is the visual aspect to this haiku, but the clear emotional attachment is also there, with the use of moonlight as a melancholic influence on each and every blade. My turn now:

a lantern dispatches shadows
where none existed before
-it takes light to see dark

 

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Word Prompt

…Here’s 3 haibun we particularly liked from last week  and are mentioning here:

After two hours yesterday and nearly an hour today, I still cannot and will not nominate one over the other. The haibun are all so good for both very similar and different reasons.

See what I mean….

The prompts for this week are continued

 

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Pilgrim

I wonder what the difference is between pilgrim and refugee. Both seek shelter from the world. It is true that they both might pass each other on the road, dressed in similar clothes, with the similar, hunted look in the eyes, or upon the face. Of course, the pilgrim wants to come back, and the refugee does not. And the pilgrim is rushing to his god, while the refugee is running away from someone else’s god. But aside from these differences, they are both somewhat similar in nature, more or less.

shooting star at night
or floating ember from fire
grasshopper guesses wrong

 

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Given First Line

The goal of this feature is to write an all new haiku which starts with the given first line.

.This week’s haiku has to start with the following first line:

a shooting star

 ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

a shooting star
-don’t go
gone

 ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

 

¤ ¤ ¤

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, Dance with the trees

I never once walked in my forest with a feeling of wasting time. I never walked my daily forest walk and did not learn something, never went into the forest without coming out with more.

A forest supplies more than meditative energy. There are answers there, even before you ask the questions. If I go with my neighbour from across the hill, our conversation is always different among the trees. She walks barefoot on the pine needles most days of the year, until the snow comes, and ever since she started doing so, her health improved.

I try not to miss one day. We try not to. When we do, we feel it. 

the answer
is when the wind blows
dance with the trees

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Quote Prompt Week

Winter on one side, summer on the other, we drift into December. There were some beautiful haibun last week, making the choice of Honourable Mentions absurdly difficult again. Thank you again, wonderful contributors.

This week is quote week again. Please choose one as always continued…

Weekly Ligo Haibun Challenge – Word Prompt

The Ligo Haibun challenge is here. This week is the word prompt challenge.

Now, regarding the Honourable Mentions. Again difficult this week, maybe even more so, as contributors have been cultivating the style. This means that you know haibun, and have decided how you will write your own. We looked at these haibun closely first.
the need to be out in nature is exemplified in this haibun here, and one emphasises with it very much.
The interaction with nature was exemplified in http://nicolethelocalartist.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/ligo-haibun-challenge-a-handful-of-earth/. Just look at how nature has influenced the people in the haibun personally – in the prose and seamless verse.
In a similar way, but using well selected objects, http://bastetandsekhmet.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/ligo-haibun-challenge-picture-prompt/ creates tension so well, and again her verse and prose work together so well.
http://julesinflashyfiction.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/a-ligo-haibun-regrets/ also pulls emotion to the reader, in again a haibun where the prose and verse interact so well.
http://seraphim6.me/2013/11/26/cold-stone-mountain/ did something very interesting. Her haibun was based around a message to the reader, something I’m normally a bit wary of in habun, but she has put her style onto the haibun, and created her genre, and I enjoy her writing so much. I think many would agree with what she is saying, and the writing flows very nicely.
  • The Honourable Mentions. We like to select no more than 3, but will go as far as 1/3 of participants in a given week, which is what I have done, so we have 4 this week.
http://twoscamps.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/ligo-haibun-challenge-7/ a very poignant piece, with an underlying theme that really resonated. I also liked the idea, simple but effective, of looking at a moment in the past, but this haibun goes further than that.
http://creativemetaphor.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/exhale/ this haibun is a journey itself. I am always quite surprised, to say the least, when writers can write a beautiful piece then go on and better it the week after. This haibun is quite beautiful, and I almost do not want to say anything more about it – would much rather you went to the site and read it, then you’ll agree.
http://peripateticeric.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/ligo-haibun-challenge-misty-mountains/ a pause in an exotic location high in the mountains. There is only one writer who masters these moments so well. He is mentioned for this one and the others he wasn’t mentioned for, all of a high standard.
http://friendlyfairytales.com/2013/11/26/letters-from-japan-haibun/ this haibun is as orginal as they come, and looks deceptively easy to do, as everything that is done so well. A very impressive haibun, for its originality.
Continue reading for this week’s  word prompt…

This Week At The Ligo Haibun Challenge

Haiku is the  customary close to a haibun’s prose, and fits so well, but in our innovation week we are not obliged to limit ourselves to haiku. What we must not forget is that the haiku, either one or more, is a distillation of the prose, in a contrasting form, and seems to enhance the prose, while of course the prose itself raises the haiku up.

In saying that, there are other forms that might also work with prose to create a particular magic.

So this week, in innovation week make a choice between haiku or tanka, or pathya vat from Cambodia, orthanbauk from Burma, now Myanmar, to go with your prose. You may also choose another form, though I would hesitate to go much further in volume than a tanka, which does make me slightly uneasy, as the balance just may be ‘wrong.’ 

Pathya vat is a four-line poem, with 4 syllables each line – and line 2 and 3 must rhyme. Here’s one I tried.

my forest walk
is long enough
to stop my rust
-meditation

XXXX
XXXA
XXXA
XXXX

Yes, I know, not very deep – but there isn’t prose behind it, and to be honest a couple of paragraphs describing my feelings among the trees might go nicely with this.

Thanbauk is poetry of three lines with four syllables on each line. The rhyme pattern of thanbauk can be seen below, with 4th, 3rd and 2nd syllables rhyming in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines. Here’s my first attempt, without any prose to give it more depth as a haibun.

X X X A
X X A X
X A X X

a coffee poured
eyes adored, hers 
her, bored, so tired

As you have noticed I haven’t mentioned syllable requirements for the tanka. Let’s generally label the requirements frameworks. In tanka they are  (notionally for Ligo Haibun) 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. 

Should you prefer to use the haiku as is customary, there are 3 forms that are variants. One is the 5-7-5 syllable English language format, which stresses form over meaning. another one that is popular is the haiku over 3 lines with no more than 17 syllables in total, but no line requirement, and the third is freestyle with no syllable count over 3 lines.

This week is quote prompt week. You do not need to include the quote in the haibun, and normally it is not included but used as inspiration for your haibun. As always, choose one.

It is not enough to know how to ride – you must also know how to fall.–Mexican Proverb
It is solved by walking. –Algerian Proverb

WEEKLY LIGO HAIBUN CHALLENGE HERE

At Rat’s Creek

the sailing boats have sunk
down at rat’s creek where a summer
was not complete without
at least one great big furry rat bite

where knees were meant to be skinned
and where Josie taught me
how to have sinned
down where the water rose each spring

where summer we dared each other
to swim the length of the pond bared
to the midday sun
nothing on except water

and where in those Autumn days
the sun sent its last golden rays
and one by one the boats clogged with leaves
till there was only my one boat left sinking 

so I grew up too
loved and lost and left town
and rat’s creek is now frozen 
every time I’m there in the snow

all the sailing boats have sunk forever
Josephine’s doesn’t even recognise me anymore
glass in her hand when she answers the door
the boats are all sunk – and  there’ll never be anymore summers


written for the wonderful http://dversepoets.com/ page – (topic Childhood Toys & Games), a truly beautiful bi-weekly challenge. My apologies for not getting the reading done I want. But I will.

Ese’s Shoot & Quote – Desire

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Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote

The Mont d’Aravis, the highest peak on the skyline, that I climbed so many, many moons ago with my father, a beautiful climb. The desire to get to the top again so strong, but it will never be…

Most-women-desire-someone-who-makes-them-laugh-and-also-feel-safe-so-basically-a-clown-ninja                              Anomonous