Exploring Haibun, Haiga and Haiku

Welcome. My intent is to show examples and to discuss contemporary English-language haibun and haiga which necessitate also exploring haiku (haibun prose’s and haiga image’s little partner).

  • Haibun: A mix of Title, prose and haiku. Akin to short memoirs and personal essays. Typically non-fiction.
  • Haibun: A mix of image and haiku. Images including paintings of any type, photographs, digital art.
  • . . . -> More about this blog and Ray Rasmussen

Haiga Galleries: haiga – a mix of image and haiku

Haigaonline Journal:

Daily Haiga Journal:

an’ya: Haiga Gallery

Pamela A. Babusci: Haiga Gallery

Ron Moss: Haiga Gallery

Nicole Hague-Andrews’ Haiga pages

Maria Tomczak: Haiga Gallery

Ray Rasmussen: A Covid Summer, 2020

[other haiga themes along with examples by other haiga practitioners will be added from time to time]

About Haiga

As is the case with haiku and haibun, contemporary English-language haiga is only recently adapted from the early and contemporary Japanese forms to fit Western poetic and artistic sensibilities. The internet is rife with pronouncements, prescriptions and orthodoxies about the relationship of image and haiku. Does the haiku serve as a metaphor for the image, or does it jump-shift to form an oblique association with the image, or does it simply serve as a kind of caption for the image? And the usual arguments about the haiku itself are also are in abundance, e.g., whether the haiku should be able to stand on its own, sans image. For now, it’s likely that English-language western haiga practice will continue to evolve and gain in practitioners.

While the original Japanese haiga were usually a combination of monochrome (grey-scale) brush paintings with kanji-type characters and calligraphy for the poems. Contemporary haiga as shown in various publications such as Haigaonline employ paintings of various media, photographic images and digital artworks.

In short, as with any evolving form, one hopes for creative image-making and pleasing to the eye artwork along with poems that are poetic and stimulating to the mind.

Asian practitioners employed a “chop” – a symbol representing the author. If well done, the chop itself has some beauty and lends an association with the lengthy tradition of Asian art.

Recently Published Haibun by Ray Rasmussen

canoe & cloud, Lake Edith, Jasper National Park : r. rasmussen

I don’t intend this blog to be a showcase for my published work. However, in case you want to see some writing by the guy who’s pontificating about haibun and haiku on this blog, here are some recently published haibun:

Commentary: Glen Coats’ Witness

| Haibun Exemplars | Haibun Commentaries | Haibun Close Reading Guide |

from the film “Witness”

Commentary by Ray Rasmussen

This commentary is one of several on the Haibun Exemplars I’ve selected for viewing. It follows well-known poet Robert Pinsky’s idea that to know poetry, in our case haibun, is to do close readings, at least on occasion of writers whose work you enjoy, and that close readings will help improve the reader’s range of writing styles and the quality of his or her writing. -> read more

If you want to learn about poetry — if you want to “access” it — what you need to do is find great poems you like, figure out which are worth rereading and then reread them.
~ Robert Pinsky

China’s Shakespeare, the Poet Du Fu (712-770)

In Brief:

painting of Du Fu
painting of Du Fu

This post explores Du Fu’s poem “Day’s End” in terms of the key characteristics of contemporary English-language haibun composition. It also explores the value of modelling the work of writers whose poetry touches you as a way of expanding your writing repertoire.


Some years ago, I was interested in expanding my reading from Japanese Masters (Basho and Issa) to Chinese Masters and somehow found my way to Du Fu’s poems. It was frustrating that it was so difficult to find the work of Du Fu and other Asian masters in online sources, particularly in light of Harvard professor Stephen Owen’s comment: “We have Dante, Shakespeare and Du Fu (712-770). These poets create the very values by which poetry is judged.” If Du Fu is so highly regarded by the world’s literary scholars, why is it that the Chinese poet-sage Du Fu . . . an immortal in the East Asian cultural sphere, still remains largely unknown in the Western world, and particularly unknown by poetry enthusiasts?

I liked what I found in Du Fu’s writing. As with Basho and Issa, it warmed me to think I could relate to the experiences and poetic sensibilities of a person writing in 8th century China to my own experiences in 21st century Canada. He’d communicated not just from another country, but across a gap 1300 years. Perhaps it’s because the joys and sorrows of the lived life, despite all our luxuries, hasn’t changed that much.

Continue reading here -> https://rays-blog.ca/exploring-the-writing-chinas-shakespeare-the-poet-du-fu-712-770/