Isn’t it interesting that you can find books about haiku on the shelves of our library, but not one book of haikus about libraries? Let’s show the world what we’re made of! In celebration of National Poetry Month (April), National Library Week (April 14-20) and National Haiku Day (April 17), we’re having an all-ages haiku contest at The Seattle Public Library. Send us a haiku — a short poem of three lines and 17 syllables or fewer — telling us what libraries mean to you.
As a form, the haiku reveals something about nature. What about the nature of a library is memorable to you? If you had to describe the library as a season, what would it be? Better yet, how does the library figure into the seasons of your life? Need a little inspiration? Maybe a few examples will help you along, because we’re looking for poems from the subtle to the strong. Examples of traditional haiku forms can be found in The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, and Issa, The Year Comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons, Basho: The Complete Haiku, Haiku: The Poetry of Nature, One Leaf Rides the Wind: Counting in a Japanese Garden.
If you’re eager to get started, the Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-On Guide, The Haiku Handbook and How to Haiku: A Writer’s Guide to Haiku and Related Forms will help you to begin.
People have gotten pretty creative with the form of the haiku. There’s traditional, contemporary and innovative. Then, there’s haiku that’s just plain fun! What do you think about the poetic ink in these books?
- Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball
- Zombie Haiku
- Gay Haiku
- The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems
- Morning Haiku
- Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys
- Pirate Haiku: Bilge-Sucking Poems of Booty, Grog and Wenches for Scurvy Sea Dogs
- Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
- Haiku U: …from Aristotle to Zola, 100 Great Books in 17 Syllables
- The Hound Dog’s Haiku: and Other Poems for Dog Lovers
Rhyme, rant or reflect upon a memory of a visit to a library, the joy of a treasured book, music CD or movie, how a program moved you beyond words, how you and your children were engaged by story time or a book discussion, the time a conversation enhanced your life or simply the way an experience of the library has changed your point of view. Send us your poetic best, one sparkling haiku glistening with spring promise.
Everyone is welcome to enter–children, teens and adults. Send us one poem using the form on our website by 5 p.m. Friday, March 15. Winning haikus will be featured on the Library website starting on April 1. Let’s make a haiku hullabaloo all through the showery blues of April!
(Please note that haiku submissions are accepted only online.)