Gabriele Hartmann - bon-say-Verlag

ZENtrifugal - Haiga Haibun Tanka Tanbun sequence

Year of publication: 2021

2021, bon-say-verlag, 57629 Höchstenbach, 64 pages, hardcover, thread binding, 21,5 x 21,5 cm, natural paper, 4/4 color print, 28 color images (Haiga), ISBN 978-3-945890-44 -8, please only order through the publisher.


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ZENtrifugal - Haiga Haibun Tanka Tanbun sequence by Gabriele Hartmann


Brigitte ten Brink

Gabriele Hartmann: ZENtrifugal. Haiga Haibun Tanka Tanbun sequence. Hardcover.
Published by bon-say-verlag 2021. Available at

ZENtrifugal - the lettering design of the book title is an eye-catcher. The capitalized ZEN catches the eye and immediately arouses associations with Buddhist forms of meditation and curiosity about the content. In the traditional sense, the term “centrifugal” is a term used in physics and medicine. From a physical point of view, centrifugal force is the outwardly directed centrifugal force of things, of bodies, of objects. In the medical / neurological field, this means the spread of nerve fibers, starting from the nerve center, towards the periphery. And now the first syllable of this expression appears in capital letters, thus expanding its meaning. This notation emphasizes an aspect of this term which, when viewed from a purely scientific point of view, might fade into the background. It is its philosophical, existential meaning, which in a figurative sense also applies to human life in all its areas. Here, for the first time, perceptions and events registered only on the inside can have a great external effect. When such individual, small incidents are told in such a poetic language, as is the case with Gabriele Hartmann, they develop enormous power, create images in the head, initiate thought processes.
Often only hinted at, their tanka and tanbun sequences, the Haibun and the text and image design of the Haiga describe specific events. However, they always imply thoughts and feelings that the reader cannot ignore, that begin to grow in him and that penetrate deep into his consciousness. They pull him further and further under their spell, indeed develop a real suction effect, force him to pause, to think, to rethink and then leave him room for individual decoration and interpretation of the event.

Tanka-Tanbun sequence

in the puberty
I started words
Repeating words
so that they could develop
to meaningless sound

not everyone will come to the class reunion - after 47 years ... so many names have been blacked out

i go today
through the streets of my city
everything comes smaller
before me - even shadows
seem shrunk

my wishes? The lofty goals? I still want to drive a convertible

we were - let's still be
how we wanted to be
so that our stories
people once told stories by the fireplace
(P. 12)

Not much needs to be said about this - a development novel in a few lines and a wonderful lyrical language, with a high degree of self-identification potential.


“A white shirt and good pants, please,” says one of the two men. I have already reached out for the black suit, but then I reach for the old, dark blue trousers that Father always wore when we went on vacation. Insensitive and comfortable. It seems appropriate to me. He would have chosen that too.

Easy drive
the man without a suitcase
step into the light
(P. 54)

This very pragmatically told incident unfolds an irrepressible power while reading. Behind the brief words appears the deep relationship that existed between the deceased and the bereaved during their lifetime. So the universe of a coexistence opens up, in which mindfulness and attention for the other, for his preferences and idiosyncrasies were natural. The final haiku speaks of the hope that the end of life does not have to be the end of the (life) journey. ZENtrifugal the text and what it does in the reader.

The book is divided into two chapters: in Tanka - Tanbun - Sequence and in Haibun, with the Haiga alternating between times on the left and sometimes on the right. In the appendix the terms haiku, haiga, haibun, sequence, tanka and tanbun are explained and the tools for the exceptionally beautiful and successful artistic processing of the photos are named.

Gabriele Hartmann was responsible for the poetic work, the artistic design and the publication of this book by the Rhineland-Palatinate Foundation for Culture - represented by Minister of State Prof. Dr. Konrad Wolf, Mittlere Bleiche 81, 55116 Mainz - a project study granted.

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