Rainmakers – American Troiku – April 27, 2016

cicadas and locusts
nothing else will grow this year
without rainmakers

cicadas and locusts
choke in the black blizzards too
they ain’t rainmakers

nothing will grow this year
but bank mortgages
if rainmakers fail

without rainmakers
this land will just blow away
pack-up and follow

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #961 prayers for rain

American Haiku by Jack Kerouac – Posted by Alberto Savoi

The Haibun – Thoughts – December 30, 2015

I was “googling” today to see if I could find something particularly interesting to write about haibun, basically I was just interested in a “how to write a haibun” page but came up with a treasure trove,  this interesting article on Haibun TodayTransmissions of Haibun by David Cobb of Shalford, Esse, England in the September issue of 2013.

I found this a fascinating read about the transmission of haibun into Western society (and specifically to Britain ) … especially considering that haibun had/has become almost a dead letter until recently in its native Japan: “Toshinori (Nenten) Tsubouchi, began encouraging the genre these past few years in Japanese, partly under the stimulus of Hisashi Miyazaki, who in turn was influenced by SHG (Tito) and Ken Jones (both of Britain)*”.  Of course haibun was introduced to the west thanks to the translation of Nobuyuki Yuasa who translated Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Penguin Classics, 1966).

Before this wonderful translation though,  Jack Kerouac might be considered to be the first westerner to actually write a haibun of sorts:

“Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums and On the Road have certain resemblances to haibun, in attitude if not in execution. […] In The Dharma Bums, Kerouac’s alter ego, Japhy Ryder, is bitten with the same sense of mission: ‘This,’ he said (meaning The Dharma Bums) ‘is really a book about religious vagrants . . . rucksack wanderers . . . Zen lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason.’ We might accept this, right down to the present day, as not a bad description of what haibun means to a good number of those who are intoxicated by the form.” (article cited above)

I myself only discovered the haibun in August of 2013 through a blog called Ligo Haibun hosted by Hamish Gunn which is now closed I think.  One thing I’d noticed was that the haibun has often become a sort of flash fiction or short story with haiku interspersed in it or with a more classical haiku ending and sometimes they’re tales about inner journeys, but certainly they’re rarely a travel diary (which I admit  that I myself have written in all these forms) and quite frankly, haibun today seems to have little to do with Basho’s Oku-no-hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North) 

“Where might haibun stand in relation to these experimental forms? We seem to agree that haiku is a poem conceived (observed) in a flash; some also hold that it is also best recorded (written down) in a flash, though more of us—from Bashō onwards—demur that haiku should be crafted carefully over any length of time. Kerouac also, though we may associate his method with ‘action writing’ and ‘stream of consciousness’, is on record as saying ‘haiku is best reworked and revised.’ ‘Flash writing’ is not to be confused with ‘first thoughts, best thoughts’, better left untouched. The ‘flash’ is a loose measure of the time it takes to read a piece, but not the time it took to write it, or the time needed, after reading it, to absorb it. All this applies equally to haiku and haibun.

Of course, haibun is not ‘flash fiction’. From the point of view of subject matter, most haibun are ‘flash-faction’, an umbrella for sub-sets such as ‘flash history’, ‘flash legend’, ‘flash myth’, ‘flash memoir’, ‘flash essay’, ‘flash diary’, ‘flash journal’, ‘flash travelogue’, ‘flash prose poem’; though there are indeed examples that we might call ‘flash story’ and even ‘flash fairy tale’ and ‘flash science fiction’. Ken Jones has aimed to broaden his readership by calling some of his output ‘haiku stories’.

Interest in ‘short writing’ exists not least in creative writing courses—among students, and among tutors. It is for that reason it seemed to me timely to offer, in tandem, Marching with Tulips—a very varied collection of different types of haibun—and What Happens in Haibun—a study which tries to pinpoint whatever roles haiku may play when embedded in prose. (article cited above).

To be honest, unlike with haiku and other waka, I’d never really looked into what haibun is or isn’t nor of its evolution or history or even where it stands in the world of poets (Japanese and Western) today.  I found this article stimulating enough to want to go and do a little more research into this fascinating genre.

*Some background about the British haibun tradition – Icebox

What Happens in Haibun

On David Cobb’s Marching with Tulips

Icebox a blog dedicated to haiku and haibun that began publishing in 2008

**I found the photo of this panel on Art and Life in an interesting post entitled: “Haibunga!”

Morning Waka and Haiku – November 26, 2015

clock tower two

on a pendulum
called time – swinging to and fro
like life – jazz

outside my snow globe
the sun didn’t rise today
and the moon wanes
children still play in the parks
somewhere a raven – sings

snow globes and clocks
illusions of time and space
until the snow falls

© G.s.k. ‘15

Sometimes I write a tanka or haiku in my comments to a post … this morning the first haiku (which should be called American Haiku) was written for Chris at “The Muscleheaded Blog” for his lovely quote by Jack Kerouac … the second for was written a great poem created by Randy Maize at –  “The Writer’s Village”,

Too Dark to Read – Haiku – August 26, 2015

too dark to read the page
too cold.

© Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)

This haiku particularly fit in with my long weekend in Sluderno (Italy) .  Once the sun went down, we only had candle and campfire light.  We sat huddled in our heavy wool cloaks, talking and joking just relaxing after a long day under the public eye … every once in a while a fire-eater from the camp in front of ours practised some of his tricks … it was like an odd flash of lightning flaming off in the night.

cold nights
the stars seemed close enough
to read the future
© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for:

Carpe Diem Utabukuro #8

I’m add this haiku here because whilst I was writing it my time ran out to link-up:

[Lake Tana]
heart of Ethiopia
rumble at sunset

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem #803 Lake Tana

Screen Door – Memories of childhood – July 13, 2015

Screen Door

Screen Door

summer days
slamming the screen door
they go out to play

© G.s.k. ‘15

“Shut the damn screen door and keep out the flies” … her summer memories.

barbecued ribs
flapping screen door
dancing the twist

whining spring
screeches on the screen door
crash! wood against wood

old screen door
hooked against the summer wind
tornado warnings

Don’t slam that door … her useless admonitions each summer evening.

memory of her …
each time the screen door slams
after fifty years

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for Carpe Diem #775 Amido (screen door or window screen)

(Of course … these haiku [mostly American Haiku and American Sentences)  are not about “amido” which is a lovely rice paper screens used in Japanese shoji] whcih will be for another series … I think just about every American child of the 1950s probably heard, at least once, one of the phrases or sounds above … and for all I know some may still hear them, like I do every time the screen door slams in the summer.)

Morning Haiku and Waka – January 28, 2015


Western Haiku:

sitting at this keyboard
words flow forwards and backwards
then suddenly, lost!

connection lost
wondering why I even bother
a crow caws at dawn

grumbling in the air
this early morning concert
farts, coughs and starts

Japanese Haiku:

dawn breaking
over the eastern sky
the cats meow

old pond
frozen pink lily-pads
no frogs jump

snow flakes
crystal white gems falling
skidding cars

 © G.s.k. ‘15

I’ve written these two series of haiku, the western inspired by Jack Kerouac written by HA at Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie and the second inspired by Chèvrefeuille’s Carpe Diem Haiku Kai writing techniques post dedicated to “surprise”  that lovely little cutting phrase or a-ha that should wake your reader up. I enjoyed Chèvrefeuille’s comparison of the haiku with impressionistic art … in fact, more than a snapshot, a haiku should be an impression of what’s been seen.  A lovely idea!

Jack Kerouac – Butterfly Wings – Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

About haiku, Jack Kerouac wrote:

[…] “The “haiku” was invented and developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a complete poem in seventeen syllables and to pack in a whole vision of life in three short lines. A “Western Haiku” need not concern itself with the seventeen syllables since Western languages cannot adapt themselves to the fluid syllabic Japanese. I propose that the “Western Haiku” simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella”. […]

Chèvrefeulle from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai closes the May special tribute to Jack Kerouac with his haiku, Butterfly Wings:

In the sun
the butterfly wings
Like a church window

© Jack Kerouac

Remembering that the haiku Special is to try to write in the same vein as the “master” we’re reading, here are my efforts:

sun through shades

Streams of light
flowing down the mountain
mystic waterfall

Dawn’s first light
birds warbling
a Vivaldi concert

On the river
gull’s lonely cry
sea-side memories


Carpe Diem Special #94, Jack Kerouac’s 5th “the butterfly wings”

New Logo Specials(1)

This is a very special post, which I enjoyed very much.  Kristjaan (Chèvrefeulle) did a excellent job analyzing this haiku.  It is very informative and a good,  so I really think it worth your time to drop by using the link above.


Jack Kerouac Special – Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

1024px-Zonnewijzer_Carpe_DiemJack Kerouac

This month on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, we’ve been looking at and trying to write like Jack Kerouac one of the great American writers from the beat generation.  Thanks Kristjaan, for this great opportunity to learn the various forms that haiku have grown into throughout the world, a wonderful tribute to the form!

playing basketball
– the lady next door
watching again
© Jack Kerouac

This says it all in true haiku fashion … a perfect synthesis of a summer afternoon!

– meeting in droves
like ducks upon the shore
© G.s.k.

Written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai # 93

Carpe Diem Special #92, Jack Kerouac’s 3rd “two big bumblebees”

New Logo Specials(1)This month is dedicated to Jack Kerouac if you remember and here is another one of his American Haiku to try to immulate.

early morning gentle rain,
two big bumblebees
humming at their work

© Jack Kerouac

wind bowing the trees,
the little bird’s wings
were useless for flying

the bird sat chirping
trying to fly
the wind defeated him
© G.s.k.

Carpe Diem’s Special – Jack Kerouac

Carpe Diem Special #91, Jack Kerouac’s 2nd “girls come by shades”

This week to inspire us, another poem by Jack Kerouac:

Neons, Chinese restaurants
coming on –
Girls come by shades
© Jack Kerouac

Flashing midnight lights
blastin’ senses –
In the fast lane
© g.s.k.

One last drink
then I’m back home –
Making love © g.s.k.


Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Special