Posts Tagged ‘Haiku’

For a little bit of a change of pace, today I attended a presentation on “Haibun:  The Best of Both Worlds,” courtesy of the Bloomington Writers Guild (cf. October 9, et al.) and the Monroe County Public Library.  For those unfamiliar, this is from the session handout:  “A haibun is a hybrid form that is composed of heightened prose and one or more haiku.  The prose elements and the haiku work synergistically and each heightens the effect of the other.  It can be written in in various styles:  stream of consciousness, description, memoir, slice of life, but has traditionally been based on real life experiences including travel.”  The class went on to explain that its popularity in English is fairly new and that it is continuing to evolve, while discussion also touched on haiku by itself, and the symbiotic relationship between the prose and the poetic parts of haibun.

As in similar sessions the library and Writers Guild have offered, there was time for hands on practice as well, the first to be inspired by the participant’s choice from a group of photographs, mostly of nature, that were passed around.  And so for an example, my effort will appear below as a sort of lagniappe, a little literary freebie as a reward for having read this far.

Also today, Editor J Alan Erwine sent, via Facebook, a preliminary cover design for the upcoming sf/humor anthology A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR, with my story “Toast” in it (see October 22, September 26, et al.).  To quote the publisher, “[t]his isn’t quite the final version, but we love this cover so much, we wanted to share it with all of you.  We will be starting a Kickstarter for the collection very soon, so keep your wallets ready!”  Thus, it not being exactly the official to-be-published version, I don’t think it proper to display it here, but since it is available to the public on Facebook it’s not exactly a secret either.

What to do?  What to do?  How about this — for those who wish for a wholly “unofficial” sneak peek, it can be found by scrolling down my Facebook page here.  And returning to haibun, information on the Writers Guild and programs to come can be found here, while here is the sample promised:


Trees, second growth, abound in this wood.  Thin, angular branches bared mostly by fall.  A smell of tartness, of leaves turning — mossy as well as they slowly decompose.  It is afternoon.  One feels the sun’s heat as if it wishes its presence known in the brief time left during its setting, while shadows, like arrows, lead the hiker on to an unexpected clearing, a platform of rough planks.  On that reposes a single bench, empty.  Even the wind has died down and is silent.

    lonely bench
    still warm from the sun’s descent
    or one just called home 


So that’s one more than the games needed to win the World Series, but it was an almost last-minute thing — and this in spite of a guidelines admonition that it would be a good thing to submit early.  But that’s how it goes.  And none of the poems were haiku either (there was one shadorma), but they don’t have to be, the constraint being only that Cthulhu-Haiju-II-coversubmissions be short poems or prose less than 1000 words.  And for more than that, well, check out posts here for the original CTHULHU HAIKU with my story “The Farmer in the Well” (cf. December 4, October 7 2012).

So anyhow Popcorn Press has decided to do it again and, at the last minute (procrastination, procrastination), I got together seven poems and sent them in and, just the day after, Editor/Publisher Lester Smith accepted four — and asked if I might rewrite the last line of a fifth and send it back in!  The fifth was the shadorma, a six-line, syllable-counted form somewhat like a lune smushed into a haiku, titled “Bad Vacation,” and this afternoon (deadline day) it was accepted too.  The other four are all free verse of varying lengths, two of which are reprints from PROSPECTIVE JOURNAL’s CTHULHU A LOVE STORY titled “Slow-Motion” and “It Must Have Been that New Fish Food” (see January 10 2013, September 21 2012), and two new poems, “The Vampiress Dreams of an Evening in Innsmouth” and “With the Economy What It Is, Maybe We’ll Take Any Job We Can Get.”

Popcorn Press is a fun little outfit that’s used work of mine in two other books too, HALLOWEEN HAIKU (see November 22 2011) and THE HUNGRY DEAD (December 30 2010), and I fully expect CTHULHU HAIKU II will be fun as well — regardless of whether the final line in “Bad Vacation (A Shadorma)” works for you or not.  More information will be found here as soon as I get it.

It was a contrast in slowness and speed.  I’d first sent a 300-word story “The Farmer in the Well” to a projected anthology from Popcorn Press, publishers of THE HUNGRY DEAD and HALLOWEEN HAIKU with work of mine in the past (see December 30 2010 and November 22 2011), on December 1 last year.  But things get delayed sometimes and, this September, Popcorn Press put out the call again for the new anthology CTHULHU HAIKU AND OTHER MYTHOS MADNESS, “an anthology of Lovecraftian poetry and flash fiction.”  So, things sometimes getting lost as well (and, truth to be told, I’d almost forgotten the earlier submission), I resent “The Farmer” along with some other things just in case on September 27.

Today the answer came from Editor Lester Smith, “The Farmer in the Well” has been accepted.  But the really quick part is this:  CTHULHU HAIKU will still be open for last-minute submissions until this Saturday, October 13.  For poetry they’re “open to anything related to H.P. Lovecraft‘s mythos.  Haiku and related forms like senryu, tanka, lunes, and Korean sijo are especially welcome.  Sonnet variations and other formal poems are also encouraged.  Vers libre will also be considered.  We further encourage 100-word prose poems and one- or two-stanza alphabetic morph rhyme.”  And, re. my sale, for fiction “[a]nything 1,000 words or less is solicited.  Stories can feature plot, mood, or both.”

Not only that, but CTHULHU HAIKU AND OTHER MYTHOS MADNESS is already open for preorder with plans for it to be out before Halloween.  For special deals that are also available for early orderers, just click on your choice of Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

Then, for writers, guidelines can be found by pressing here.  But that October 13 deadline is firm, with final selections being decided on October 14, the book’s interior layout to be finished October 15 with its ebook release to be the same day, and the printed version to have an estimated shipping date two days after that for an estimated delivery date for early orderers of October 27-31.

Which brings us back to “The Farmer in the Well,” a tale of Cthulhu and life in the country entirely in dialogue, described by the editor himself as a “delightful story.”  With that kind of endorsement would you want to miss it?

This is the print edition first, since  SCIFAIKUEST comes both ways, in print and in a different electronic edition.  And the poem was originally called “New Growth,”  but editor Teri Santitoro believes in doing things right, and real haiku — as in Japan — would not have titles.  Wasted words, you know.  In fact they would normally be shorter as well, if translated into English, than the common 5-7-5 syllable pattern.  That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to title most poems and to use 5-7-5 as a guide for writing short, sometimes epigrammatic (another trait not really a part of most Japanese haiku) pieces, just that I’ve never really considered most of them “real” haiku, rather just English language short poems with whatever value they have in their own right.

That said, it was fun to work with Teri, she having me rewrite seven spring/summer/heat/growing/love/dry land themed “horrorku,” paring the extra word or two from the bone until, of them all, she selected one.  And so here it is, on the bottom of page 9 in the May 2012 hard copy issue, concerning a properly horrific problem with lawn care.  Then seven pages later, SCIFAIKUEST being a Sam’s Dot publication, I might note on pages 16-17 a two-page ad for VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) complete with a (non-haiku styled) sample poem.  For those interested, VAMPS can also be ordered directly by clicking its picture in the center column and following the instructions that emerge, while more information on SCIFAIKUEST can be found by pressing here.

I spent Sunday afternoon at the County Library at a workshop, “Moon, Pumpkin, Leaf:  an Introduction to Writing Haiku,” put on in conjunction with the Bloomington Writers Guild (Sept. 4, Aug. 19).  It was just a one-shot thing, but fun — and with learning to be had too, as well as with perfect weather for it.  The subject (surprise!) was October or Autumn, so we were sent outside to wander the streets about the library to sharpen our senses, noting our immediate observations down, and then back inside to write Exercise 1.  Then Exercise 2 was to keep a season word for Autumn/October in the first line, but write of something we remembered (possibly even an Exercise 1 observation, since that was no longer immediate either).

So what the heck, I may never publish them elsewhere (though who knows?), or maybe I will but after rewriting them to non-recognition, so here are the best of what I wrote in their “immediate” form, one for each exercise, as a lagniappe.  Or actually two. . . .

(from immediate observation)

October gold
passing scooter’s basket filled
with fresh cut flowers

(from a memory featuring, as it happens, the cave cat Wednesday moments before I left home for the workshop)

leaf-red spread    with sleeping cat
can first snow be that far?

A pleasant time (and they had free cookies too 🙂 ).

  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,552 other followers