Course: Road to the Interior – Writing a Haibun Journal

How happy I am to be back at Wordsworth for a second year of exploring poetic forms. Last year was the verse novel; this year the Japanese classic haibun.

Haibun is a beautiful literary form that combines prose poetry with haiku. Made famous by 17th century Japanese poet, Bashõ, a haibun is a meditation on nature and landscape written with a poet’s deep awareness. Bruce Ross, writes, “If a haiku is an insight into a moment of experience, a haibun is the story or narrative of how one came to have that experience.” In this class, we will wander through the natural world making observations, developing our senses, and becoming attentive to feelings of longing, sympathy, and serene melancholy. During our class together we will walk, write, edit and develop our haiku and prose poems. By the end of the week we will each have created an elegant journal that highlights our personal journey.

BIO: Cathy Ostlere grew up in an Air Force family. She recalls a childhood of making up stories while staring out the car window on long drives across the country. She is the author of the memoir, Lost; the play, Lost: A Memoir; and a verse novel for teens, Karma. Her writing has received numerous awards and nominations. Karma was honoured with the 2012 R. Ross Annett Children’s Award and shortlisted for the 2012 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award. Lost: A Memoir was a finalist for a 2012 Governor General’s Award for Drama. Cathy lives in Calgary and takes great delight in writing in many genres – fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, theatre and film.