Sean O'Connor

Winner of the 2022 HSA Merit Book Award for Best Haibun Book: Fragmentation

Writer

haibun, haiku, zuihitsu
books, essays, articles

Editor

the haibun journal

Sean O'Connor

Winner of the 2022 HSA Merit Book Award for Best Haibun Book: Fragmentation

Writer

haibun, haiku, zuihitsu
books, essays, articles

Editor

the haibun journal

My Story

On my first day at school, I was in tears as I was the only child with nothing to write with. Then, with a theatrical flourish, a lady gave me my first pencil. This photograph was taken in that school a few months later. That was half a century ago, and since then I have (amongst other things) been a factory worker, a psychiatric nurse, worked in film production, toured internationally as a musician, and lived for five years in Japan.

My interest in Japanese literature began in the early 1980’s when I discovered some books on Japanese haiku and culture in a bargain bin. In 1998 I became editor of the print journal Haiku Spirit. Over the past 30 years my work has been translated into several languages, appeared in numerous anthologies, and published in journals worldwide. My collection, Let Silence Speak, was shortlisted for The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award 2016.

I established The Haibun Journal in 2019, became a prizewinner in the Genjuan International Haibun Contest, and later, a member of its judging panel.

The Arts Council of Ireland awarded me a Literature Bursary in 2021 for which I am deeply grateful. This enabled me to complete Fragmentation, winner of the 2022 HSA Merit Book Award for Best Haibun Book.

Books

Fragmentation

 

Winner of the 2022 HSA Merit Book Award for Best Haibun Book.

Fragmentation is a series of meditations on dementia, and the dynamics of memory. Written in the Japanese forms of haibun, haiku and zuihitsu, by the author of Let Silence Speak and Even The Mountains; Five Years in a Japanese Village. 

‘So this is how it feels to love deeply and joyfully – even in the face of loss. Every haibun in this collection snatched up my heart, then flipped it. Fragmentation shows us how to love with acceptance, even as we suffer. A joy to read.’

– Author Heather Dyer Ph.D.

Paperback, 82 pages

€18, including delivery worldwide

Even the Mountains

Even the Mountains is a vivid account of life in a rural Japanese village as experienced by Irish poet, writer and musician, Sean O’Connor. For five years Sean lived in a traditional House in the village of Yuzuri, Akaiwa-Shi, in Okayama. In this, his second solo collection, he uses prose and haiku poems to build a picture of Japanese culture in everyday life. 

‘O’Connor’s glimpses of Japan are crisp and clear and close to the bone: a snake in a laundry basket, a wild boar attacking his vegetables, the unbearable screech of raccoon dogs, the disgruntled spirits of unattended graves, stuff they mightn’t tell you about in the guide books, and all of this peppered with the author’s distinctive, bone-dry haiku.

nothing moves
yet the bamboo
creaks

A book for all seasons by a latter-day Lafcadio Hearn.’

– Gabriel Rosenstock

Paperback, 92 pages

€18, including delivery worldwide

Let Silence Speak

 

Shortlisted for The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award 2016.

Let Silence Speak is a collection of haiku and haiku prose by Sean O’Connor written over a 20 year period. Much of this work has been translated into several languages and published worldwide. New work by O’Connor is also included, in particular those written while he lived in rural Japan for five years. 

‘Koan: what do a million stones, a death rattle, a slightly disappointing sponge cake, fresh batteries and a memory of fireflies have in common? Two answers: silence and life! Sean’s dance of life takes us through Europe, America and Japan – through both their cities and their deep countryside. Quiet, yet exhilarating!’

– Stephen Henry Gill

Paperback, 90 pages

€18, including delivery worldwide

The Haibun Journal​

Launched in April 2019, The Haibun Journal is the only print journal in the English language dedicated to the haibun form.

It is published every April and October, is perfect bound and has about 70 printed pages.

Sean O’Connor is the founding editor and Amanda Bell, Paul Bregazzi and Kim Richardson are assistant editors.

Reviews

Links

Essay:
Haiku Rhythm and the Arches of Makudo

The Haibun High Tea event,
A haibun reading as part of Poetry Day Ireland 2021

The Haibun Journal

Essay:
Haiku Rhythm and the Arches of Makudo

The Haibun High Tea event,
A haibun reading as part of Poetry Day Ireland 2021

The Haibun Journal

Workshops​

Sean O’Connor provides online workshops and courses for groups of limited size, and on a one-to-one basis, for haibun and haiku poets. 

All levels are accommodated.

Do get in touch with Sean if this is of interest to you.

Contact

Sean O’Connor:  mail@seanmusic.com  

The Haibun Journal: thehaibunjournal@gmail.com

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