Haibun Definition

Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.


A haibun is a type of poem that operates on a prosimetric structure. It combines the forms of prose and haiku to create an artistically-challenging puzzle. However, these poems can cover a broad range of topics and expressions, including anything from short stories to personal journals and scholarly essays.

Haibun poems originate in Japan, and were invented in the 17th century by famous poet Matsuo Basho. He thought to combine popular Chinese prose elements with Japanese haiku styles for an educational and creative outcome.

The rules for its construction are simple yet unique. Each haibun must have a title, followed by a prose-like paragraph. Afterward, a simple poetic haiku adds more descriptive and creative elements to the scene. While the two distinct elements of the haibun may seem vastly different at first, the reader will come to learn that they are in fact interwoven and forever connected. One paragraph and one poem can build a haibun poem. 

Haibun Poem Example

The Importance of Goldfish
Michael McClintock

In our eyes and our sleep and our answers to everything and the way we ate our food and left our personal odors and debris around the house, like strands or clippings of hair, or a fingernail, or wadded tissue with spit, and seldom coordinated our clothes or speech or opinions when we went out or had people over, preferring different books by different authors about different things, and the feelings we kept to ourselves, harboring them like warts or bleeding punctures, until now, we grew apart and we knew it, had known it for over four years---since the day you lost the gold fish down the toilet and never said you were sorry. You even laughed about it.

"only temporary" ---
about our separation
we agree to lie

Top 5 Haibun Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Moonlight Serenade Guzzi, Debbie Haibunsensual,
Sand Dollar Dreams Ober, Heather Haibunmemory, nature,
Premium Member Poem I Slipped On A Tear Drop Loo, Laura Haibundeath, sister, suicide,
The Lady Of The House Nunez, KP Haibunabuse, analogy, black african
Fireflies Ober, Heather Haibunlove, nature, me, light,

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