Skip to content

Per Diem for November: Naked Haiku

No, not that kind of haiku, but haiku that originally appeared wedded to prose in a haibun, and now facing the world alone. November Per Diem editor Steven Carter writes:

The question, “If haiku attached to haibun can stand alone, is the prose really necessary?” is a good one. Equally valid: “Shouldn’t haibun and haiku be one inseparable unit?” Lost in the shuffle is a third question: “If the haiku—orphaned or not—gives pleasure, what does it matter?” For me, that’s where the defense of independent haiku rests.

See if you think these poems have what it takes to make it on their own all month via Per Diem, on the THF website.

The editor wishes to thank Mike Montreuil for his considerable help in assembling this roster.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. In his introduction to his book, “Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho,” David Landis Barnhill describes the relationship of haibun to hokku as “complementing each other.” I like that way of putting it; both can be necessary or unnecessary, depending on what you find pleasurable to read. On the other hand, although many haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki that were written with a haibun have been appreciated independently of their accompanying haibun, how many haibun are appreciated independently of their accompanying haiku (except for travel diaries, of course).

    Another point to consider: some of the haibun that Basho wrote outside of travel diaries are brief; some essentially no more than slightly longer-than-usual headnotes, as Barnhill points out. To quote Barnhill: “Indeed, Japanese scholars disagree on which of the shorter [haibun] should truly be called ‘haibun’. “

  2. the wind sways
    part of a woven hat
    once grass

    flickering in the light
    distant horses

    These two haiku are from Call of the Crow haibun, published in various versions:
    Paper Wasp, Queensland, 1997; Azami haiku journal, Osaka, Japan 1998: Blithe Spirit Vol. 14 No. 2 June 2004; Haiku Hike (World Walks) part of Crossover UK’s 2006 ‘Renewability’ project (2006)

    The haiku were also independently published:

    ‘the wind sways’
    Publications credits: Albatross, Contantza Haiku Society, Romania Issue vol III no. 1 Spring-Summer/No. 2 Autumn-Winter 1994; Micropress Yates (1995); Moonlighting, BHS Profile (1996); sundog, an australian year (sunfast press 1997 2nd print 1998); California State Library

    An earlier version of ‘woodfire’ was published in Modern Haiku vol. xxvi no. 3 (1995): Stepping Stones: a way into haiku (British Haiku Society 2007); and Mann Library, Cornell University Daily Haiku (March 2013)

  3. oops sorry. That was from “Dragons Live Forever,” my 3rd place haibun in last year’s HSA contest.

  4. Ah ha, I thought I’d might share from this renku:

    their second date
    she drinks him
    under the table

    the sniper scope
    on the Canon Sure Shot

    A Cup of Snow


    Hortensia Anderson, New York, New York
    John E. Carley, Lancashire, England (sabaki)
    Alan Summers, London, England
    Carole MacRury, Point Roberts, Washington
    Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, Washington

    If you click to the HSA website: hsa-haiku dot org and then to Frogpond then to Renku you can read John Carley’s report, and also the wonderful verses from the other participants, including the wonderful, but sadly late Hortensia Anderson.

    warm regards,


Comments are closed.

Back To Top