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Pilgrimage: A Journey Through Haibun Poetry

Poet and educator Keith Polette joins us to discuss his collection "pilgrimage."

Haibun is a lesser-known Japanese poetic form that combines prose poetry and haiku.

"From the Edge"

Something calls to me from the edge of the desert, a fence of sagging guitar strings that no longer carries a tune, the scattered skulls of cows lowing to the wind, an arroyo mouthing a dry poem, stones rising out of the sand to sing of constellations that have never been named, a rusted truck turned-sphinx waiting for a lone traveler to question, a blue-tailed lizard, startled by the passing shadow of a hawk, that scurries onto the top of a rock, surveys the empty sky, and then rests like a monument to itself for the whole of an afternoon.

hands in prayer
a butterfly brings its wings

Poet and educator, Dr. Keith Polette
Poet and educator, Dr. Keith Polette

Keith Polette has published hiabun, haiku, senryu, haiga, tanshi, and poetry in numerous print journals, online journals, and anthologies.

His first book of haibun, "pilgrimage," published by Red Moon Pressreceived the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2020, and his book of haiku, "the new world," was on the short list for the Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award in 2017. His second book of haibun, "Soundings," published by Alba Publishing, will be released in January 2023.

He has twice been a guest editor for "Drifting Sands Haibun Journal," a judge for the first San Francisco International Haibun Contest and is currently a judge for the Touchstone Awards with the Haiku Foundation. He has published four children’s books and a great number of articles and books on Language Arts pedagogy, literary criticism, and Jungian studies.

Polette lives in West Texas where is a Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Music for this episode was written and performed by Silas Hite, with additional music by Joseph Fuller. A special thank you to voice actors Brett Ihler, Ashley Wright Ihler, Becca Story, Michael Fuller, Bobby Fuller, Paige Hines, and Kelvyn Korejko.

Listen to "Haibun" by Silas Hite


Generous funding for Arts & Letters Radio was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thank you to Stickyz Rock'n'Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.

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Executive Producer and Host: J. Bradley Minnick
Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit
Sound Mix and Mastering: Joseph Fuller, Orchestra of One

This episode is a production of Living The Dream Media, Inc.

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