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Frogpond 45.1 • 2022

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Split Sequences

Essay 2 - Nonhaiku of Bob Kaufman

Essay 3 - Covid Haibun


Interview - Laurie D. Morrissey


Book Reviews

From the Editor

Haiku Society of America


Ways of Looking: Haibun at the Cusp of the Covid Period

by Judson Evans

Ways of Looking: Haibun at the Cusp of the Covid Period
(complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

As a long-time writer, reader, teacher, and now editor of haibun, I look for the ways new work both reaches back to roots in Japanese tradition and pushes forward, evolving and absorbing aspects of poetic experiment. I have always been an advocate of a more lyric approach to the “haiku prose” of haibun, and fully agree with Keith Polette in a recent essay in CHO (17.2) that haiku prose can draw upon “a rich palate of western poetics to find new ways to embody and express elusive yet essential sensibility of wabi sabi...” Polette references Tony Hoagland’s notion of poetry as dramatization of “the mind in motion” and opens haibun prose to the wide influence of “deep image” poetics. Polette’s emphasis on the “mind in motion” has also been used to describe the contemporary prose poem, as David Lehman in Great American Prose Poems, quotes French poet Charles Baudelaire: “a poetic prose, musical without meter or rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the jolts of consciousness...” (16).

It is interesting to note that, in the last fifteen years, haibun has broken through into the world of free verse contemporary poetry. An important advocate, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, has championed the form as an escape from the lineation and traditional assumptions of western lyric into a kind of experimental travel poem that opens up ways “to re-imagine fairy tales, or examine persona.” (poets.org, Academy of American Poetry, Feb. 19, 2014). She offers examples of haibun by contemporary lyric poets like Jeannine Hall Gailey, Lee Ann Roripaugh, and Kimiko Hahn, whose work, in my estimation, is much closer to what haiku poets deem haibun than, say, what an earlier generation—John Ashbery or James Merrill—wrote as “haibun.” That difference is partly a pulling away from fingerprints of unmistakable style that make the haiku just a broken off tidbit of the same discourse as the prose.

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Evans, Judson. "Ways of Looking: Haibun at the Cusp of the Covid Period." Frogpond 45.1, Winter 2022, 103-119.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 103. The complete essay includes pages 103-119. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

Ways of Looking: Haibun at the Cusp of the Covid Period
(complete PDF version)