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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Updated: 29 Apr. 2023

Ongoing Call for Cheribun and
Haibun Stories, and Tanka Tales

In addition to new works of flash fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and prose poems, MacQ is especially interested in unpublished cheribun and haibun stories, and tanka tales. That is, pieces which include elements of fiction as well as “faction,” works that use story-telling techniques such as dialogue and plot, and incorporate more embellishment than journalistic reportage, while also using techniques of haibun and/or tanka prose.

“Amen” to these words from Bob Lucky, former content editor at Contemporary Haibun Online (CHO):

“...as an editor, I read a lot of haibun that is just one damn fact after another. Memoir and autobiography are the trickiest bits of nonfiction around because in order to tell the Truth you have to lie. There is artifice in art.”

—Quoted with permission from “Random Praise: Tim Gardiner’s ‘Skeleton Wood’” (CHO, July 2017)

To give you an idea of what MacQ publisher, Clare MacQueen, is looking for, two dozen examples follow below: one cheribun story, one ekphrastic haibun story, one anomalous haibun (lineated), one braided anomalous haibun, two braided haibun stories, 17 haibun stories [HS], and three tanka tales. These works include various degrees of artfulness to tell their Truths:

General Guidelines for Submissions of Cheribun, Haibun, and Tanka Prose:

Electronic submissions only, via MacQ’s Submittable page.

Maximum word count per piece is a thousand, including the title, prose, and micro-poem verses, as well as any epigraphs and author footnotes. Multiple cherita, haiku, senryu, and/or tanka within a single piece are acceptable, even encouraged.

We also encourage experimentation and stretching of conventional boundaries; after all, haibun and tanka prose, fluid hybrids by nature, are “terra incognita—vast and only marginally explored” by writers working in the English language (Jeffrey Woodward, editor of Haibun Today).

However, even unconventional works benefit from refining and polishing. In fact, highly polished pieces stand the best chance of winning prizes and publication in MacQueen’s Quinterly.

In other words, we look forward to reading your best work. Thanks so much!

Exceptional works may be nominated for annual awards such as The Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, the Contemporary Haibun anthology, and The Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun. We’re thrilled to report these highlights:

  • “Scribble Away: Notes from Bahrain, March 2022” by Bob Lucky was shortlisted for the 2022 Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun.

  • Seven haibun from MacQ were selected for publication in the anthology Contemporary Haibun 18 (Red Moon Press, 2023).

  • Fourteen nominations from MacQ were selected for publication in the anthology Contemporary Haibun 17 (Red Moon Press, 2022).

  • A haibun story by Rich Youmans, After the Dream, the Dream Remains, which Jack Cooper and Clare MacQueen published in KYSO Flash (Spring 2019), was among 128 winners selected for reprinting in The Best Small Fictions 2020 anthology.

  • In February 2018, Bob Lucky’s haibun story Gratitude, first published in Issue 6 of KYSO Flash online (aka KF-6), won second place in the VERA, an annual Readers Choice award for best short fiction (500 words or fewer) sponsored by Vestal Review.

  • Another work from KF-6, an ekphrastic haibun story by Harriot West entitled Picking Sunflowers for Van Gogh, was selected as one of 55 winners for reprinting in The Best Small Fictions 2017; and Dan Gilmore’s haibun story Hackmuth’s Mannequin Dream (from KF-5) was among the finalists listed in that anthology.

  • Camouflage by Charles Hansmann (in KF-3) was a winner for The Best Small Fictions 2016, and Bob Lucky’s haibun story The Current Situation (KF-4) was among the finalists.

Tips and Resources:

If you’re new to haibun, then you may be surprised to learn that:

  1. “...the plural of haiku is haiku (think sheep and fish)...” and

  2. “...syllable counting is not at all an essential element to writing haiku well,” as poet and editor Lynne Rees writes (see link to her conference paper a few paragraphs below).

Here at MacQ, we happily agree there’s no need to adhere to 5-7-5 in the haiku sequences and/or haibun you submit for our consideration—especially if doing so results in stilted or unnatural-sounding lines, rather than distilled micro-poems.

Here are just a couple of examples of what MacQ publisher, Clare MacQueen, considers effective use of the 5-7-5 structure:

  1. two haiku by Gary S. Rosin, origami cranes and Frozen; and

  2. a haiku sequence by William Cullen, Jr., Driving Cross Country. Clare also appreciates this sequence as a blend of the traditional and the contemporary, a timely commentary, and a concise travelogue (with a nod to Bashō).

Recommended reading for those who are new to writing haiku: this paper by poet, editor, novelist, and author of five books, Lynne Rees:

Haiku: a poetry of absence or an absence of poetry? (subtitled “Minimalism in Contemporary English Language Haiku”), presented at the PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association) 2015 Conference at Canterbury University, Kent, United Kingdom (16 July 2015).

The author’s goals, in part: to “illustrate that haiku can be, or should be muscular enough to withstand scrutiny, close reading” and to “expunge their reputation as mainstream poetry’s country bumpkin cousin: naïve and embarrassing to have around in sophisticated company.”

Additional articles by expert practitioners, including philosophies and how-to tips:

  1. Plaiting Poem & Prose: The Art of Braided Haibun by Rich Youmans in contemporary haibun online (Issue 18.2, August 2022)

  2. Some Personal Ideas About Writing Haibun by the late and very much missed David Cobb (in Haibun Today [Vol. 5, No. 4, December 2011]), still pertinent a decade later

  3. A Game of Tag: Gary LeBel on Tanka Prose (in Haibun Today [Vol. 6, No. 3, September 2012]): In this interview with Patricia Prime, LeBel says that his works are “a mix of personal experience, thumbnail sketch, pure fiction, fantasy, boldface lie, story and/or myth (and often more than a pinch of hyperbole)...”

  4. Modern English-Language Haibun by Ray Rasmussen (in KYSO Flash [Issue 5, Spring 2016])

  5. Form in Haibun: An Outline by Jeffrey Woodward (in Haibun Today [Vol. 4, No. 4, December 2010]), for those who prefer a comprehensive, more technical discussion of the various forms of haibun, including numerous examples of formats

  6. And finally, by J. Zimmerman, a summarized history of prose-with-poetry works in Classical, Modern, and Contemporary Japanese literary traditions; article includes references and a list of suggested readings: What English-Language Haibun Poets Can Learn From Japanese Practices: the Mysteries of an Almost-Heard Birdsong First Autumn Abroad (Contemporary Haibun Online [Vol. 9, No. 4, January 2014])

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