The Dance of Haibun Workshop – 27 March 2021

This workshop was based on the way the late Ken Jones summed up haibun as ‘haiku dancing with prose‘. In relation to this, the quote by the choreographer Michael Fokine that ‘dance bears the same relationship to gesture as poetry to prose‘ was born in mind.

In advance of the workshop a choice of factual sentences (plain prose as gesture) about swans were offered, from which those who had signed up could choose one or two and write a haiku that ‘danced ‘ with it to bring along to read on the day. In addition four sentences of poetic prose, corresponding to gesture plus dance, from the work of well-known writers were offered, from which participants could again choose one and compose a haiku to ‘dance’ with it in a slightly different way.

At the event several people were able to read out what they had written in response to one or both of these assignments and various comments were made. It had also been suggested that participants bring along any haiku they might have already written, published or unpublished, about things that shone or sparkled and in the time that was left a short introduction was made about the American dancer Loie Fuller, born in the latter part of the nineteenth century, whose dances involved swirling herself round with fabric and projecting lights on it, and it was suggested that people write a swirl of words about an experience and put in the haiku at appropriate places. At least one of the pieces written in response to this prompt was published.

Write-up by Diana Webb

Portrait of Loie Fuller by Frederick Glasier, 1902

Portrait of Loie Fuller by Frederick Glasier, 1902



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