Moving Poems and Haiku North America welcome submissions for haibun film festival

Haiku North America Cincinnati 2023 logo
Film submissions open January 1 for a screening of haibun poetry films at the biennial Haiku North America conference, to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio from June 28-July 2, 2023. Moving Poems is an official co-sponsor, and we’ll be the ones selecting the films. Winning films will be screened at the conference and published at Moving Poems.

What is haibun?

“Haibun” means “haiku prose” in Japanese. It’s a hybrid genre combining one or more haiku with lyrical prose, and it’s this juxtaposition, we believe, that makes it such a good fit with videopoetry or poetry film, where the artful juxtaposition of disparate parts is so central. Michael Dylan Welch, who organized the first English-language haibun contest in 1996, notes that “The key to the art of haibun is the graceful pairing of poem and prose, where the poem links to the prose yet shifts away from it, in much the same way that verses relate to each other in a renku [linked verse sequence] by linking and leaping.” (Click through to his website for examples and links.)

There aren’t a whole lot of good examples of haibun videos to point to yet, but that’s one of the things we’re hoping to change with this contest.

Rules and guidelines

Films/videos must use one of the ten provided haibun, which were selected by HNA from a separate, earlier contest that had 229 submissions. Visit this page and input the password: haibun. These are all unpublished poems whose authors have given permission for this contest only.*

Please include the haibun author’s name in the description to help us screen out spam submissions. The author’s name should also be included in on-screen credits.

Filmmakers may opt to use some rather than all of the text, if the author is OK with it. (We are happy to put them in touch with each other. Use the Contact form.) But the result should still look and sound like a haibun.

It’s entirely up to the filmmakers how to present the prose and poetry—as text on screen or voiceover, or some combination of the two. We also don’t want to discourage more experimental approaches, such as attempting to translate some of the prose portion of a haibun into wordless film poetry or narrative filmmaking, though that does of course come with a higher risk of rejection.

Films may be as long as seven minutes, but we encourage run times of 3-5 minutes.

Films must be submitted through FilmFreeway.

Submissions open January 1, 2023 and close March 15.

Selections will be announced on May 1.


*Password protection helps preserve the unpublished status of the texts, so that those not chosen for films may be submitted for publication elsewhere.

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