Haibun and Tanka Prose

I love writing my free-verse, stream of consciousness poems but I also like playing with different forms. I want to experiment with some truly structured poetic forms such as sonnets, villanelles, triolets, and others but at the moment I am looking toward haibun and tanka prose, two Japanese forms that I think will work well with my art. They have a magical, mystical quality that lends itself to exploring mixed media techniques in illustrating or creating backgrounds for the poems.

Here is a haiku art piece I created a while back that I'd like to share to give you an idea.

I am writing poems for a future collection and I am leaning toward making it all haibun and tanka prose or perhaps just one section will be in that form.

Haibun are a combination of prose poem and haiku linked together to tell one story. I've seen them with one prose piece followed by one haiku, or a series of alternating prose poems and haiku.

Tanka prose is similar except instead of having haiku intertwined with the prose poems, there are tanka, which are essentially  five line poems starting with a haiku and expanding by two lines of roughly seven syllables.

I want to read more of all these forms, read about them, and try my hand at mastering the technique and incorporating my art in the pieces. I can't say perfecting the poems because in eastern practices there is no perfect, simply a process moving toward the perfect. In fact, it is happy little mistakes that create the most engaging poems and most fascinating pieces of art.

Here's to mistakes and exploring new territory.


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