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My poem selected as "Featured Haibun" in issue 19.2 of Contemporary Haibun Online

a screenshot from Contemporary Haibun Online's page for issue 19.2

I was happy to see that my haibun "The Useless Tree" is the featured haibun in issue 19.2 of Contemporary Haibun Online (editied by Peter Newton). It's a look at my short-lived acting career in an elementary school performance of Little Red Riding Hood, but in light of an ancient Chinese parable found in in Zhuangzhi (Chuang Tzu). The passage from Zhuangzhi reads:

Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu, "I have a big tree of the kind men call shu. Its trunk is too gnarled and bumpy to apply a measuring line to, its branches too bent and twisty to match up to a compass or square. You could stand it by the road and no carpenter would look at it twice. Your words, too, are big and useless, and so everyone alike spurns them!"

Chuang Tzu said, "Maybe you've never seen a wildcat or a weasel. It crouches down and hides, watching for something to come along. It leaps and races east and west, not hesitating to go high or low-until it falls into the trap and dies in the net. Then again there's the yak, big as a cloud covering the sky. It certainly knows how to be big, though it doesn't know how to catch rats. Now You have this big tree and you're distressed because it's useless. Why don't you plant it in Not-Even-Anything Village, or the field of Broad-and-Boundless, relax and do nothing by its side, or lie down for a free and easy sleep under it? Axes will never shorten its life, nothing can ever harm it. If there's no use for it, how can it come to grief or pain?" (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, trans. Burton Watson)

Another haibun of mine included in the same issue is "In the City of Seven Million Hills", which addresses the population explosion in Istanbul and my own entanglement with that.


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