This form, from the Japanese, was originally mostly used for travel journals–prose, then a haiku. But in English-language hands, it has become slipped into a looser form, a new way to write about whatever. Here’s one I particularly like:
On Teaching Poetry In A Men’s High Security Prison
I was searched at every edge. I wanted everyone, including me, to be innocent. One inmate squeezed my hand like a letter he’d been hoping for. In the workshop, he read his poem. I applauded. He hugged me. He smelt of stale soap. Leaning in, his stubble sandpapered my softer jaw. He tells me what he did.
He was drunk the night he blacked out, opened his eyes in the kitchen, his wife who wanted divorce, on the floor, dead. I see his wedding ring. I wish I knew her name so I could plant it here. Continue reading “A Haibun”