KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Nonfiction: 315 words

Author Commentaries on Haibun Stories


Charles Hansmann:

My previous haibun were mostly of the standard one-paragraph, one-haiku variety, with the prose more of a prose poem than a prose narrative. So your focus on haibun fiction for issue 3 provided a new adventure for me. While haibun is already a hybrid form of prose and haiku, I had expected to find that the additional ingredient of narrative (or implied narrative) would affect only the prose, and was surprised to find that it also had a very strong influence on the haiku.

My haibun have always been fictional in a sense, more imagined than reported, but in thinking of them expressly as fictional haibun or, another term you use, haibun stories, the element of narrative played a strong part, and what surprised me was that this narrative element seeped into the haiku as well as the prose.

I found that with a narrative thread running through the prose I also wanted to have a similar movement linking the haiku. This decision to stay within the context was constraining, but in compensation the haiku pushed against the boundaries of the context to make it larger.

Kika Dorsey:

So because of you, my next book will have several haibun. The form appeals to me, although I suffer with the haiku.

Dan Gilmore:

For what it’s worth, one of my tentative discoveries thus far is that longer prose pieces don’t work as well with haiku as shorter ones. Or said another way, it’s more difficult to find a suitable haiku for longer prose pieces. My second tentative discovery is that the haiku forces me to have a clear idea about what the prose piece is about. That is, for a haiku to do its work of deepening and expanding, the prose has to be absolutely clear.

—From personal emails to publisher Clare MacQueen; republished here by permission from each author

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