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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 2, June 2017

Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Call for "Why We Write Haibun and Tanka Prose"

There's been little or no exploration as to why we who publish our work in Haibun Today and other haiku genre journals made the decision to devote some or even all our writing time to haibun and tanka prose.

I'll be writing an article about the "why" of selecting haibun and tanka prose genres that will be partly based on the responses you (our writers) make to this call for comments and partly on my own thoughts on the matter.

I would appreciate your help with this. I'm not asking for a lot of detail or polished responses. Just jottings off the top of your head would be useful.

I'm interested in your answers to questions like these, but I'm not suggesting you need to answer all of them or that no other issues will come to mind.

  • Why do you choose to write haibun or tanka prose instead of similar genres such as memoirs, travel journals, personal essays, diaries, or even flash or short fiction?
  • Did you write in other genres prior to haibun/tanka prose? Do you still? Or are haibun and/or tanka prose your main venture into serious writing?
  • Why have you elected to have your work published?
  • Who do you see as your audience(s) besides the obvious readers of this (and other) haiku genre journals? Or do you care about audiences? Do you share your work in other venues?

As a bit of background, here are some rough definitions of other genres that are most closely related to haibun and tanka prose:

  • A memoir is a collection of memories about moments or events that took place in the writer's life, usually sometime in the past.
  • A travel journal is a record of travel experiences.
  • A personal essay is focused on important life experiences.
  • Memoirs, travel journals, and personal essays tend to be polished and organized topically, and the assertions made in the work are understood by readers to be factual.
  • Haibun, tanka prose, memoirs, travel journals and personal essays are distinct from fiction-writing in which characters and situations are made up by the writer.

Please, send me something about your own choices and background experience in choosing haibun and tanka prose. And do let me know whether I can mention your name if I use some of your comments.

~ Ray Rasmussen, email :



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