Book Review: Just Before Sleep: Haibun Stories by Dan Gilmore

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Just Before Sleep Haibun Stories by Dan Gilmore

Genre: Literature: Haibun Stories
Book Name: Just Before Sleep
Author: Dan Gilmore
Pages: 39
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: KYSO Flash

It’s not the type of book for quick read. The first time I read it, I started from in between the pages and in random order, read all without understanding a word. On Googling what is Haibun, it did not help in any better understanding of the terminology. This happened the second time as well after completing the book again. I even made everyone in my office read “My Birthday” and interpret who “Kitty” was.

Only it was today when yet again I started reading it, but this time in the order of the first page to the last, somehow things fell into place piece by piece (Haibun by Haibun). While in the first few pages, I still had difficulty correlating short stories of just half a page with that of haiku in the end, things slowly became clear as I turned the pages – be it “A Morning Moment” describing a usual morning in this fast paced life barely waiting for a tranquil moment or the lines from another “Love sustained us for a while. Now I don’t know what keeps us going. Habit, maybe. Not hope, not now, no holding on to the belief that things will return to normal.”

And it just reminded me of the days when we were made to read Kavya Kalp or Images of Life as part of school curriculum. (Didn’t remember these book names, my school colleagues on Whatsapp reminded me and of the names of the poems) Probably, I will not remember this book name in future. However, I will recall that once I had read a poem book different in nature, oops Haibun.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Literature: Haibun Stories (Hybrid of Prose Poem & Haiku

In the haunting silence that comes with night rain, she spoons closer to his back and rests her hand on his thigh. Her breath moth-wings on his neck. Across the room she sees rivulets on the window pane intersect, stop, dart left and right, arrive and disappear. It seems important to her to understand, to discover order and purpose there, to see signs of courage or fate or helplessness.

The tiny stories and poems in this chapbook were produced especially for Issue 3 of the online literary journal KYSO Flash. They represent the fusion of narrative prose poems and American Haiku.

About the author, publisher and appreciation:
Dan Gilmore’s work has been called “solid gold” and “deliciously readable” by poet Steve Kowit, author of In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop. One of Gilmore’s flash fictions was nominated recently for a Pushcart Prize, and chosen by novelist Robert Olen Butler for the 2015 Best Small Fictions Anthology.

Dan Gilmore is an award-winning fiction writer, poet and author of the novel A Howl for Mayflower, as well as three collections of poetry. After recently, discovering the joys of writing haibun, he says he feels “a sense of arriving home after all these years of wandering”.

Rating: 9/10

About Alka

Trying to just make some sense out of things and put some sense into me!! :) :) :)

Posted on August 27, 2016, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. What I meant was if you want to read Haibun, you can visit


  2. Haibun’s are a little off since they’re more like poetry than prose in some ways. Sounds like an interesting read though.


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