contemporary haibun volume 17: edited by Rich Youmans and the CH Staff
contemporary haibun is a series dedicated to the best haibun and haiga published each year in English around the world. ch17 features 103 haibun and 32 full-color haiga.
“contemporary haibun has stood alone, for more than a decade, as the chief vehicle and bulwark of the burgeoning haibun movement in English. Without the vanguard role of this annual anthology, one might reasonably inquire how — and perhaps if — haibun would have survived.”
— Jeffrey Woodward
Editor, Haibun Today
One Last Glimpse of Daylight
Ronnie stepped off the bus and flew thirty feet, right before my eyes. By the time he landed, he was dead. Fifty years later, the events are still in slow motion in my mind — but backward: first a thump, then a laugh passing by, then he’s leaning over the seat, cracking jokes. We run through the door when the final bell rings, at recess we’re playing tetherball. We solve the problems on the board, rub the sleep from our eyes. We greet each other in the hallway, another day with a friend begins. I wonder if I left something important out. Could I have laughed at one more joke, played one more game. How could I know I’d remember that day as the day we ceased being children.
dry east winds . . .
a tumbleweed rolls
towards the setting sun
— Richard Grahn
I want to fit myself to the patterns of the tattooed man, his dark-mapped skin, to find my way to that land of sinuous desire.
what we need most
Through the woods to the sea on the old path where sheep grazed for acorns. But now the way follows the shore too closely, with none of the trees’ secrets. I catch up with a man and ask him where it will take me, where we’ll end up, but he simply looks away.
A space in the basement we must crawl through to get upstairs. My hips too wide, pelvis grinding into dirt. Head barely squeezing through the last hole. After, the catharsis of chewing piece after piece of gum.
— Kristen Lindquist
Rules for Writing Haibun
Never use adverbs — especially negative ones— unless you’re trying to describe something like an errant rooster, an unruly tooth, or a horse stamping in a stall of stars. Never use abstractions, unless, of course, you are that famous insurance-executive poet who wrote, “Let be be the finale of seem,” but even then, you may be thought of as dubious. Write about what you have experienced, unless you’ve spent your life in a cocoon, in which case, you should borrow somebody else’s dreams. Avoid consonants — those shards of glass and bits of gravel on the keyboard beneath your fingers — except for “k” and “z” because they have flown with owls. Learn the differences between “there” and “their” and “they’re,” and avoid writing about places where “there’s no there there.” Be sparing in your words; if at all possible, draw a picture, or better yet, just hum. Be sure the haiku at the end of the haibun depicts a “moment of epiphany”; remember though, such a “moment” can last a year, or even a lifetime (or at least the time it takes to eat an orange). Go to fish markets for inspiration. Associate with mechanics, woodworkers, and funeral directors. If all else fails, follow the way of the frog.
vanishing point all your stories ending in tigers
— Keith Polette
Size: 5.25″ x 8.25″
Binding: perfect softbound
Year Published: 2022