WV Poets--Wander into the New Year.  December 27, 2009 - January 31, 2010

Contest Completed


Number 1 - Sky Travelers
Number 2 - JOURNEY


a wanderer,
let that be my name—
the first winter rain *

* Basho, quoted in Hamill, Sam, Narrow Road To The Interior And Other Writings of Matsuo Basho, (Boston: Shambhala Classics, 1998), 56.

The Contest: Above is a famous poem by Basho. Using this poem as inspiration (i. e. journey and life’s purpose) write a haibun to celebrate the new year.

What is a haibun? Traditionally, the haibun was a diary. After travelling all day, one would stop at an inn or monastery and record the events of the day. Matsuo Basho wrote poems about what he saw and experienced. The poems at that time were probably what we now call haiku or tanka. These poems would be interspersed at irregular intervals within the prose. It is usually accepted that the haibun should end with a poem/haiku. But there is no restriction on the number of poems within a haibun. There may be many, one, or even none! The one rule, which seems to have come down over the years, is that the poem should not qualify the prose. As with the linking of verses in renga, the haiku should 'leap' to a subject which might compliment the prose by juxtaposition.

The people who have studied this form, say that the haibun, or haiku prose, is so different from the average prose used, that they can tell that a piece of writing is a haibun even when there are no haiku included. This is because the prose is haiku-like; meaning clipped and sparse; only using the necessary words to convey what is to be said. There may not need to be complete English language sentences, as we expect in correct prose usage. This becomes acceptable if one remembers that a haibun began its life as diary notes.

Examples? Try this link: http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/


First, Second Third



2 Contestants
2 Submission
Created Dec 27, 2009