Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Haibun is a combination of brief prose and haiku, written in the form of a travelogue. Basho, a Japanese monk and haiku poet, was the originator of this particular form. He wrote Haibun as a travel account during his various journeys.
A Haibun consists of one or more paragraphs with one or more embedded haiku. The prose part ordinarily comes first and is usually concise. It records a scene, or a special moment, in a highly descriptive manner. The accompanying haiku has either a direct relation with the prose or a subtle one, but it encompasses the gist of the recorded experience. The contrasting combination of prose and haiku provides the reader with more powerful insight, from what might have been possible from either one separately. It is important not to say anything directly, but to paint a picture of the moment and let the reader use his or her imagination to immerse in the experience of the writer.
Most haibun are generally limited to five paragraphs and the same number of haiku. There is no set length to a paragraph, and no maximum or minimum word count. However, brevity in prose and abbreviated syntax are preferred. The writer of haibun tries to avoid generalizations and paints the scene in a detached manner. While the prose may be a part of a journal entry, great care has to be taken to revise and edit the same, to produce a polished final product. In a good haibun, the prose part will not "give away" the haiku; rather the haiku will amplify the defining moment of the experience. The haiku, related to the prose in an oblique manner, avoids repeating main nouns, verbs and adjectives used in the prose.
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