Prune Juice: Free Download to Get You Going

Ten years ago I started the senryu journal Prune Juice (publisher Modern English Tanka Press). At the time, haiku journals weren’t publishing many senryu (sister form to haiku that focuses on human nature). As I do with many projects, I pass them on to other caretakers. Happy to say Prune Juice still lives. You can read a selection from some of the best writers in the field here:

 

Great news! The Prune Juice Book of Senryu: Celebrating 10 Years (2009 – 2019) is now available as a FREE eBook PDF download at PruneJuiceSenryu.com/PruneJuiceBook

 

With all of the changes in everyone’s lives lately, please enjoy this free gift from the editors of Prune Juice. Thank you for being part of our family along the way, and for your dedication to expanding the genre with your unique voice. 

 

Reflecting on our first decade devoted to promoting English Senryu, publishing over 700 contributors across 29 issues between 2009-2019, Prune Juice is honored to celebrate our international family of poets & artists! 

 

Always a Thrill to Receive an Award that Can Be Held in the Hand

It arrived yesterday, transparent glass, for my haibun  collection SCRATCHES ON THE MOON from The Haiku Foundation (Touchstone Distinguished Book Award). Haibun(haiku prose) is becoming popular around the world and writers in India are really getting on board with it.

SCRATCHES ON THE MOON can be ordered on Amazon and it’s available on Kindle for your faster reading pleasure. I’m always eager to hear what your favorite stories are.

How to Write Haibun (Haiku Prose)

Haibun is becoming a more popular Japanese form in English. It’s no doubt the most difficult to master and even those who have been writing haibun for years still find the practice daunting. A haibun has three parts: the title (which shouldn’t give away the story), the actual prose, and the haiku which most often caps the prose. It’s not unusual for haibun  to contain several haiku, especially if the prose is longer than two or three paragraphs.

Tightening up our writing is the icing on the cake. We want to eliminate all unnecessary words.

In August, Contemporary Haibun Online will publish a paper I wrote covering tips on how to make your haibun sing. Look for it.

In the peonies / we lose / our logic

I wrote that haiku in the early 80’s. I’ve been at it for a long time. As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun.

Peony season is probably my most creative time of year.  I was blessed to have received many kudos for my photographs/mobile art creations so far this year on social media sites. My creativity seems to come from a well of divinity. This morning I heard my muse loud and clear forcefully suggest that I dig out an old bra and place a peony in each cup. I then wrote this senryu: So filled up / with it all / Covid-19 spring. 

( I posted the piece on Facebook and Twitter).

Another braless day in lockdown mode, but grateful for all the beauty around us. In many ways, the silence is the silver lining  in these  lockdown days.  Also a reminder to fertilize the peonies and iris so the people who live here next year will enjoy more abundant blooms. Changes are coming and we welcome them and the new insights that await my husband and I. But wherever we wind up, there are sure to be peonies since I plan on digging up some of the heirlooms I planted here last year.

 

Praise from former publisher Dennis Garrison on my haibun collection, Scratches on the Moon

Scratches on the Moon is the first book of any length that I have ever read on my cellphone. I couldn’t put it down! What a tour de force! There is such variety that I can’t pick a favorite. Loved them all, from those that made me snort to those that forced a tear. All the praise for your work included at its end is very well-deserved but I particularly want to second emphatically Alan’s brief but eloquent comment. Congratulations on your superb collection.

 

Thank you Dennis for your kind words!

 

A spontaneous haibun

Growing Up
 
When I start to doddle on my iPad, I think, this is going nowhere…who do I think I am, anyway? But the next day when I look at my failure, the child who lives inside me thinks it’s pretty good and I’ll go with that and screw the perfectionist who  tries to rule my life.
 
Flowers
rearranging
themselves

New Dream Poems Anthology to be Published Spring 2021

Yes, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment. What else is new?

Still in the midst of putting the finishing touches on the Red Moon Anthology (tanka that depict the world we’ve been living in–title still unrevealed), I swore I’d never do another anthology, but being in lockdown mode week after week and now going into months, I’ve been dreaming a lot as have many others. This time around I am the only editor/curator so the whole creation begins and ends with me. I only have myself to argue with.

In a nutshell, I’m looking for dream poems that contain specific content, not simply musings about a dream,  or fantasies and wishes.  Dreams have their own wisdom, their own illogical vibe. I ask that they be written in the present tense. The dreams can be in any Japanese poetic form–haibun (haiku prose), senryu, haiku, tanka, kyoka or cherita. They need to be well crafted. If you’re not sure of your piece, ask a trusted friend for their input. For I will suggest edits if I think appropriate (so, if you’re touchy, maybe don’t submit). Hint: sometimes your significant other is not the person to ask.

I would also consider dream fragments — example, my wail from a catbird sharpens the knife*

Initially I ask that you send me work in personal messenger. If I decide a piece is right for the book, we can proceed to email.

As of now, no deadline.  Depending upon how things are in this world, I hope to publish in Spring 2021. There are a lot of books written about dreams. Always a good starting place is to familiarize yourself with Carl Jung’s work. I believe our dreams are not just meant for the dreamer, but  meant for all of us, globally. Best not to interpret any of the dream poems you send me because our own filter is just that–a limitation.

Here is an example of a dream poem written in haibun form. There are quite a few dream poems in my latest books Scratches on the Moon (Haibun), Touchstone Book Award (2019, Amazon, Kindle) as well as The Color Blue (Red Moon Press) not to mention my Elvis in Black Leather (Pushcart Prize nominee based on an entire dream sequence  about  my relationship with the  king himself  (Modern English Tanka Press, 2007)

Tarot: Haiku and Haibun

 

 

*Scratches on the Moon

Writing in the Present Tense

Whether we write haibun or  any form of prose, composing in the present tense adds  sparkle to a piece.

In this lock-down world, I’m rereading published haibun I wrote years ago..  I’m the first to admit  so much of what I wrote then  has a flat dead quality.  But there’s no time like the present to freshen up old writings–to be here now.

It’s automatic to write in the past tense because, let’s face it, we’re no longer living in that moment. The image that comes to my mind is a mother pulling her child away from a busy street. We are at once the child and  the mother. We don’t let the child run off unattended. The same goes for my writing–I’m always the child writing fast about what “happened,” but I’m also the mother who is in charge.

 

 

 

Review of my Touchstone Book Award 2019: Gratifying to Hear My Work Makes an Impact

Touchstone Awards for 2019

Scratches on the Moon. Alexis Rotella. (Arnold MD: Jade Mountain Press, 2019).

Comments from the Panel

Whenever any poet truly masters a form they need not brag about their work anymore. Others will do it for them assuredly. In the case of Alexis Rotella her readers will do all of that work for her. She has been a leader, a teacher, an editor, and her published work is read all over the world. That should well be the case with this book as well.
Haibun offers the haiku poet the added tools of prose to complete their image for the reader. That sounds like it is a benefit to the poet but more frequently than not it has
frustrated many an otherwise accomplished haiku poet. Not so with Alexis in this volume! In fact, it could without a doubt be an instruction manual for anyone who seeks to
delve into the form. But readers no matter their motive for reading will be in for a sometimes jaw-dropping, sometimes belly laughing, and an often sobering tour through the
events of her own life. The viewpoint of the poet is what makes haibun special and Alexis in this collection stands in some unusual places that the reader might never be themselves.
The prose does not reveal the nature of the poem, she instead prepares the reader for a final piercing observation with the poem. Here is one of the shorter ones to
whet your appetite.

Why Tiptoe?

Oh Dear. Car keys not in my purse. I must have left them in my lab coat. Thought I was done breathing in formaldehyde for the day. What choice do I have? I cover my nose and mouth with a scarf, switch on the overhead fluorescent lights that give the morgue an eerie glow.

Blank canvas
the power
of white

The first thing you notice is that ‘title’. It seems a bit out of order at first but as you read the prose and learn ‘where’ the poet is tiptoeing you get your first hint. The poet is asking herself that question after the fact. She has placed the ending into the title so to speak. After she has those keys that are her immediate quest there is something else on her mind. She wonders to herself about herself. Why, in a room full of cadavers is she tiptoeing? Is she afraid she will waken the souls who already are in their final rest? But the lights, when they ‘snap’ on as fluorescent lights do, reveal a room full of cadavers covered in white sheets. And now for the poem! Those bodies she is studying are indeed a ‘canvas’ of sorts. Anatomy is the study of the dead for the benefit of the living. That is the purpose of seeing firsthand the design of the human body. They are the ‘blank canvas’ indeed for any student learning the human form. By the way, there are other alternative readings to the one presented here. That is the genius of Alexis Rotella at work. This is a collection of haibun that will inspire you to keep reading it over and over, and also to explore the study of the blank canvas of the haibun form that she has exposed you to in these pages. A simple BRAVO is in order!

A Ray of Light into the Dark Days of Covid19

I was informed yesterday that my latest book Scratches on the Moon (Jade Mountain Press) won a Touchstone Book Award (2019). I was happy to learn that it was on the short list with 19 others but totally blown away to learn that it was chosen (among six others and two honorable mentions) to be so recognized.  Deep bow to the judges! And to Jim Kacian of Red Moon Press who sponsors these annual awards!

 

Touchstone Distinguished Books Awards for 2019

 

Earlier in the week Giulia Biatta let me know that my entry into All Colors of the World Competition was chosen to be featured in an exhibit in Cagliari, Sardinia. I am grateful  to the distinguished judges who took on an impossible task. Proud to be in such good company.

Just as a bit of icing on the cake, my latest floral Ranunculus made the Facebook banner for NEM Green.