Report on Bindii Japanese Genre Poetry Group meeting: 5 August 2017

On a very cold, windy day, with the forecast of an approaching storm, we were pleased to welcome seven members for the haibun workshop presented by Maeve Archibald at the Box Factory, 59 Regent St South, Adelaide.

The workshop commenced at 12.30.

Maeve Archibald presented a detailed workshop, starting with an exploration of the varieties of haibun being written and then suggesting various ways of approaching the construction of a haibun. Maeve accompanied this with a succession of stimulus exercises.

Maeve has supplied a detailed description of her haibun workshop. See below the report on the meeting.

Bindii Japanese Genre Genre Group meetings are held at the Box Factory, 59 Regent St South, Adelaide.

Maeve will present the second instalment of her two haibun workshops at our next meeting on 7 October. Maeve distributed a writing exercise to members and the resultant haibun will be workshopped at the October meeting.

Lynette Arden gave a vote of thanks to Maeve for her comprehensive, thought provoking workshop.

The workshop finished at 2.30 pm.

Present: Maeve Archibald, Annie Fox, Lynette Arden, Dawn Colsey, Lee Bentley, Lindy Warrell, Sara Abend-Sims.

Apologies: Margaret Fensom, Athena Zaknic, Julia Wakefield, Jill Gower.


Saturday 7 October: Second of our Haibun Workshops led by Maeve Archibald. Meet at the Box Factory at 12.30. Meeting finishes at 2.30 pm. Members will be emailed any further details.

Saturday 2 December: end of year celebration.

Minutes taken by Lynette Arden 5 August 2017

Maeve Archibald: Haibun Workshop 5th August ‘17

Maeve Archibald

There is no one way to write a haibun. There is no right way to write a haibun. A haibun is a personal journey taken by the artist. You.
The workshop began with a general overview of the haibun form – as a combination of prose and poetry, containing the special elements of: a journey, feelings, a sense of place, and pictures from nature.
I spoke about the use of metaphor and word play and how a haibun can tell two different stories – the inner journey and the outer or physical journey

Defining Haibun
The website below was used to collect a variety of definitions
• Each participant to take a definition and read it silently, put in a safe place to pass on later.

Introductory Exercise
5 min nonstop writing about something you did yesterday include detailed description.

• Pass on definition & read new one as the definitions vary so widely this inspired comments, questions and discussion (as intended).

Haibun – is about feeling, pictures, nature, inner & outer journey.
There is a a wide variety of prose forms to choose, such as: autobiography, biography, diary, essay, historiography, prose poem, short story and travel literature. (2.2.2011 wikipedia)

• Pass on definition & read new one

Elements of Haibun –( my personal view)
Physical setting

A story – use a dream, memory, or film as outline or frame. Note the aim is not to retell the story. Eg first exercise as a starter example.
The Story –projects the reader into a scene that has an emotional (slightly negative – at least not ecstasy) impact on you. It is the emotion that gives tension, creates interest, causes reflection.
Not necessary to answer the question or tie up all parts of story with a neat ending. Story is the background like wallpaper.

Exercise 2 – Setting-Describe the courtyard at Box Factory in as much detail as possible – 5 mins – poetic prose use adjectives etc (all the better if you have not seen it).
Exercise 3: – List 10 possible settings add an adjective or three to each place
Examples for setting or location: green dog park, grandmother’s overgrown garden, storm beaten beach, sensuously curved hillside, steep sloped river bank, dusty ribbon of a country road.
A setting or location gives a concrete sense of place (does not have to be physical – can be emotional or spiritual) that readers, can relate to – it helps to give a physical setting. It should help the reader follow the logic of the journey. It may take them on their own journey of exploration; the reader does not have to see what you see only be inspired/motivated by it.

Exercise 4 – Season- What is your favourite season? List some words that characterize that season for you.
It is not necessary to mention a season – using associated words can help build a sense of season without saying so – can also help build mood/atmosphere/metaphor/angst/time.
Spring – new beginning, birth, freshness blossoms, growth, warmth, football finals
Summer – prime time, maturity, fruition, dreaming, outward gesture, heat, dryness,
Autumn – harvest, decline, ripening leaves, change, colour, fall, change, wind, rain, Easter
Winter – fullness, end, death inward gesture, retreat withdrawal, embryology bareness

Angst – is about feelings. Something that puts you out of comfort zone causes reflection and uncertainty makes you wonder about what if…
Something that is at least mildly uncomfortable, scary, unsettling, disconcerting, uncertain, uneasy, fearful, unpleasant, or chagrin. There is nothing wrong with love stories etc its that they tend not to give the same sense of frisson.

Consider the mood of season for building emotion or contrast.
Does geographical setting help develop mood?
Angst can reflect or contrast and act as a catalyst for the Haibun.

Some situations that facilitate angst could include;
Lost, making a decision, why me – its unfair, growing older, don’t know what to do, worried, mortality, immortality, choosing, reminiscing, wonder, moral dilemma, telling a lie.

Start your Haibun with a sentence that tells the reader where you are

Exercise 5. Write four fairly short sentences that could be the beginning of four separate Haibun illustrating time and place
Very famous example “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Every evening I sit on my balcony.
It happened at our annual beach holiday.
Yesterday I turned into that well-known avenue.
I was standing on the bridge (on the eleventh of September)

The participants were presented with the following suggestion as a way to get started on a Haibun to bring to the next meeting in two months time for editing, comment etc.

A suggested template for writing Haibun (there is no one template, there is no right template)

1. Select a scene that you would like to portray. Choose an emotional moment, a small exchange with another person, or a pastoral or urban picture.

2. Make a list of phrases you might want to use. Pay close attention to your use of descriptive language like adjectives and adverbs. Since you are writing your Haibun from memory, any detail that lingers with you is worth exploring.

3. Write your opening prose paragraph, keeping it to several lines at most. Focus on the precision of your descriptions while avoiding vague language or melodramatic cliché. Try to create lyrical, concise prose using objective language.

4. Create haiku as you go along and/or where you feel the need. A haiku has 3 lines – ideally the first line has 3 syllables, followed by 5 syllables in your second line and 3 syllables in the last line. (these numbers are for the English language and a suggestion rather than a directive). Tanka are also acceptable as well as a mixture of the two.

5. Alternate between prose paragraphs and haiku. You can create a single haiku sandwiched between two paragraphs of prose poetry, or continue the process as long as you would like.

6. Edit and review your Haibun. Show your work to trusted friends to ensure that your intended tone and meaning have been conveyed, even to a reader uninitiated with your memory. Ask yourself where the language could be tighter. Make sure to eliminate any repetition of points or language in the Haibun. You are the artist what is your gut feeling about the end product?








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