The January issue of MacQ (#11) featured a new-to-me short-form hybrid, the
cheribun, a combination of prose poetry and one or more cherita. The latter is a
six-line micro-poem invented by Malay poet ai li in 1997. (For details, see
MacQ’s First Cheribun!)
From my first introduction to cheribun last November, I was smitten—and my craving
to read more of them led me in January to organize a writing challenge for Issue 12,
in hopes of inspiring other writers to try their hand at the form.
And who best to judge such a contest but fellow aficionado Margaret Dornaus, author
of what I believe may be the first cheribun published online—The
Writer’s Cabin—the marvelous poem that ignited my enthusiasm for this
hybrid. What a pleasure and honor it was for me personally to publish Margaret’s
first cheribun. And I was simply thrilled when she agreed to serve as Guest Judge for
our Cheribun Challenge.
Submissions for the contest were open for two weeks in February, and we received
70 pieces, representing a total of 38 entries. All entries were anonymized in
Submittable to help make judging as fair as possible. And our guest judge did not
learn the names of the winners and finalists until yesterday, after I emailed an
announcement to the group with results.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered this challenge! We enjoyed reading all the
entries and admired the adventurous spirit in which many were written. And my deepest
gratitude to Margaret Dornaus for setting this joyous chain of events in motion last
- First Place ($100 USD):
Cheribun of the Infinite Remainder by Charmaine
- Second Place ($50 USD):
Fishboy by Peter Jastermsky
- Third Place ($50 USD):
Culture Shock by Hazel Hall
For details about the contest guidelines, see
MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge.
About the Guest Judge:
Margaret Dornaus holds an MFA in the translation of poetry from the University
of Arkansas. A semi-finalist in Naugatuck River Review’s 13th annual Narrative
Poetry Contest, she had the privilege of editing and publishing a pandemic-themed
anthology, Behind the Mask: Haiku in the Time of Covid-19, through her small
literary press, Singing Moon, and received a Best of the Net nomination in 2020.
Her first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka
Prose, received a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America.
Recent poems appear in The Ekphrastic Review, Lindenwood Review, MockingHeart
Review, and Red Earth Review, as well as in the tribute series for
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I Am Still Waiting, published by Silver Birch