As some of our readers may know, the cherita is a six-line micro-poem which distills
a story into three stanzas, with a line structure of (1-2-3): the first stanza
contains one line, the second has two, and the third, three.
I reiterate my happy thanks to poets Peter Jastermsky and Gary S. Rosin for introducing
me to the cherita form and its variations: Jastermsky with his untitled cherita sequence
[receding], published in Issue 8 of KYSO Flash; and Rosin
with an inverted cherita in his collaborative chaiga
Don Quixote on the Shore (with George Digalakis), published
in Issue 5 of MacQ.
Inverted cherita also contain six lines but switch the order of stanzas: (3-2-1),
(2-1-3), (1-3-2), (2-3-1), or (3-1-2). Malay poet and publisher ai li, who founded
the cherita form in 1997, refers to these inversions as “Cherita Terbalik”
(terms and guidelines may be found at The Cherita home page,
ai li also coined the terms “chaiga,” a melange of the words cherita and
haiga, which refers to the melding of cherita and visual artwork; and
“cheribun,” a melange of the words cherita and haibun, which refers to the
combination of cherita and prose. (Haibun, of course, is a much older form, created in
the 17th century by Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, and refers to haiku juxtaposed
And now, a deep bow of appreciation to poet Margaret Dornaus for giving me the
opportunity to further expand MacQ’s collection of heavenly hybrids, with the
publication of her first cheribun, “The Writer’s Cabin.”
Not only is this the first cheribun I have the honor and pleasure of reading and
publishing (taking into account 10 previous issues of MacQ and 12 of KYSO
Flash)—but it also seems to be the first published anywhere online. Even
after searching via Google for hours (literally), I found no cheribun. I did find
several cool chaiga though. Interestingly enough, ai li does not publish either
of these hybrid forms in her journal The Cherita.
As Ms. Dornaus mentioned to me in email, she had not read any cheribun before, but
she would like to read some. Me, too, I was thinking, I’d love to
see more of these. Her remarkable cheribun was my first experience with another
new-to-me hybrid, and I was immediately enamored.
Which inspired me to post an impromptu call for cheribun on three Facebook groups.
Within a week, I had received 15 pieces, and happily selected seven of them for this
issue. I’m truly delighted when fellow writers accept a challenge like this
on such short notice and with such enthusiasm, when folks are willing to take risks
with an unfamiliar form and to experiment, just to see what happens. This process often
brings with it the “gift of surprise and discovery” (as one lovely poet
wrote to me).
Appearing first on the list below: Margaret Dornaus’s trailblazing work,
“The Writer’s Cabin”—noteworthy, too, for its trio of cherita
interspersed throughout poetic prose, which in concert create seamless rhythms in homage
to a revered natural historian.
The additional seven cheribun, each singular in its own way I believe, are listed in
the order that I received them. My heartfelt gratitude to all of these fine writers
for contributing marvelous works. And I hope our readers enjoy this new-to-MacQ
Featured Form as much as I do!
- Margaret Dornaus:
The Writer’s Cabin
- Jackie Chou:
- Peter Jastermsky:
- Peter Jastermsky:
On the Runway
- Amy Small-McKinney:
This Is Being Alive
- Kath Abela Wilson:
- Gary S. Rosin:
- deb y felio: