#mumpoemprompts September Challenge: The Burning Haibun

By Victoria Punch

In the second instalment of our #mumpoemprompts September Challenges, Mum Poet Club member Victoria Punch introduces us to the Burning Haibun and encourages us to have a go at our own. 

If you fancy sharing your villanelle attempt with us, use the hashtag #mumpoemprompts so we can find and share your work. 

The burning haibun is a form created by Torrin A. Greathouse, and has three creation stages: it begins with a prose-poem, which is then used to create an erasure, or blackout, poem. The erasure poem is then blacked out even more in order to create a haiku. It might sound complicated but from one piece of writing you come out with three poems, so - what’s not to love?!

If you have never tried a prose poem before, it’s a mash up of poetry in prose form, or prose with a poetic feel. It usually has a heightened sense of rhythm and sound, like a poem, but presents in paragraphs rather than short lines. Try playing around with forward slashes and punctuation to instil some of those heightened pauses that do important work in poetry.

 Once you have your prose poem you are ready for stage two: an erasure poem. Take your prose poem, and erase a lot of it - use a marker pen, the black highlighter in a word doc, colour pencils, or cut out paper scraps, any technique you like - leaving behind words that make up a new poem. Let your eye wander loosely over your paragraph and mark the words or phrases that stick out. Keep it light, enjoy playing!

 Finally, stage three, create a haiku from your erasure poem. A haiku is an ancient Japanese poetry form that has three lines with a specific syllable count: 5 / 7 / 5. It’s always hard to say a lot in a few words, so make them count.

 I had a go at a burning haibun as an example below – I  can’t wait to read yours!


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