Writing a Haibun


Writing a Haibun

Haibun is a Japanese literary form that combines one or more paragraphs of your written narrative (prose) with a concentrated (short) poem – the haikuHai stands for haiku, bun stands for prose.

The haibun and/or the haiku present a relationship between the nature of the human experience and ‘nature’ (the natural order of life).

Haiku is Japanese poetry, usually containing seventeen onji (Japanese sound symbols). Most haiku consist of three unrhymed lines of seventeen or fewer syllables, with the middle line longest, (today’s poets use a variety of line lengths and arrangements).

In the Japanese language the typical haiku has seventeen “sounds” arranged five, seven, and five.

Philosophy behind the haiku: Usually there is a word or phrase that “targets” or identifies the nature of the experience, and another word or words that give a spoken “punctuation” marking a “pause for thought” or giving emphasis to the whole.

There is an immediacy that should be felt upon reading the haiku. It is a free form style, does not rhyme, uses no capitals and has no full stopping point.

The recent past and current Western literary movement/acceptance and usage of this (originally) Japanese style of writing continue to be filled with debate/discussions regarding interpretations and methodology of writing the haibun and/or haiku.

When you enter any haibun and or haiku writing challenges be sure to follow the rules specific to that challenge. They will vary, in some cases.

Thank you!



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