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.