Editor’s Note: The following haibun, “barfly” by Roberta Beary is from a new book, LIGHTING THE GLOBAL LANTERN, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Haiku and Related Literary Forms, by Terry Ann Carter, noted poet, writer, educator. As a teacher’s guide, it’s chock full of good info, everything a teacher needs to know and do to make these form come alive in the classroom.
As a teaching guide it suffers a little from overweight (the nature of teaching guides) in drawing too many definitive lines of just WHAT exactly constitutes haiku, haibun, tanka, haiga…(Help!) leaving any inexperienced teacher and every would-be poet gasping for a full mouth of nuts and bolts prose. (Give ’em the minimal instruction; let ’em fly in the dark.)
Nevertheless, writing-‘Eastern’ by-Western/Eastern-rules-or-not, a treasure trove of resource, reflection, revelation.
There are also at least two exceptional essays in this book (probably more): Jeffrey Winke’s, hands-on “How I Write Haibun” and Jim Kacian’s historical eye-opener, “Haigas: Pictures and Words Together at Last.” Both worth the price of admission alone.
LIGHTING THE GLOBAL LANTERN sheds plenty of light for readers and writers outside the classroom as well. Plenty to ponder and practice, sense Ah! in the dark, watching for the words to come. — Norbert Blei
In her next haibun Roberta uses unconventional punctuation (no capital letters, no end punctuation) and sentence structure, perhaps to add to the rebellion of the persona she is using in the haibun. She describes the linked haiku in this way, “Imagine that you met ‘the one’ in high school and let that person somehow slip out of your life. Would you be haunted by a recurring image of what might have been? This is the setting for “barfly.” What feelings do I hope to evoke in the haiku? In illustrating the ceiling fan’s slow twirl I want to underscore the sense of monotony in a bar scene and its regulars. The tip jar represents another level of the mundane. Juxtapose these images with the adrenaline rush of being with ‘a bad boy the nuns warn you about’ whose kisses ‘just ooze out of you.’ The haiku also serves to pinpoint the dreariness of the present atmosphere in the bar as contrasted with the more exciting past as viewed through the distorted lens of a barfly. Other nuances are also present. The swirl of the fan is like the ticking of a clock. Is it one long night of drinking or many? Is it a momentary longing for an old love or a regret that always is present? The answers depend on the reader. Think of it this way: The haiku serves to color the prose of the haibun. The final touch is what the reader’s own experience brings to the interpretation.”