Haibun Commentaries: How to Read and Write Haibun

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

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In his book Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying the Masters, renowned poet Robert Pinsky suggests that If you want to learn about poetry find great poems you like, reread them at least twice, particularly once out loud, and, then study how the writers managed to write strong works.

An assumption is that we can all become better writers, if we’re diligent about studying the art of writing. This assumption flies in the face of the idea that writers are are born with an innate ability, they either have it or they don’t. It also flies in the face that those spontaneous first drafts that sometimes so easily flow off the pen aren’t really as good as we think they are at the time. The craft of good writing takes both study and redrafting.

This section consists of some of my picks for haibun exemplars and my comments on what makes them work. It also invites you to learn to do close readings of haibun.

My recommendation is that you take the time, at least once a month, to have a close look at work you like and find out why you like it. To help with this, I recommend you try this sequence:

  1. Go to the exemplar’s I’ve posted -> haibun exemplars and select one.
  2. Read your selection twice, once out loud. Poetry is as much if not more an aural form, just as a song’s lyrics are . . . reading helps you better feel and enjoy a poem.
  3. Arrive at your own conclusions about why the poem works for you by jotting down some brief notes.
  4. Go to the posted guidelines for doing close readings and follow the sequence (not religiously, just to the extent each guideline works for you)
  5. Go to my close reading for another viewpont. (see the list below for those I’ve posted).
  • Commentary #1: Glenn Coats’ “Witness

Commentaries to Follow: Jeffrey Woodward, Harriot West, Ken Jones, Clare Everett, Susan Nelson Myers, Tish Davis, Steven Carter, Larry Kimmel, David Cobb, Jim Kacian.