Thursday, May 22, 2014

Haiku Halcyon

by Catherine Giordano


I participated in a haiku contest at the Orlando Fringe Festival last haiku contest. It was wild.
 
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I thought it would be traditional haiku, 3 distinct lines, 5, 7, 5 syllables , the first two lines setting it up and the third line resolving it. The topics would be about nature or something really ‘deep.”  So that’s what I came prepared to read. 

I was wrong. Most of the haiku’s were bawdy, like limericks which are often “dirty.” And sometimes they just went for 17 syllables (more or less) without bothering about having discrete lines

These contests are meant to be entertaining.  A bar is the usual site for them, not a library or university lecture hall. Of course, they would be bawdy. I just hadn't thought it through.
Each contestant was paired with another contestant by drawing numbers from a hat.  We took turns doing haiku and after each set of two (his and mine) the judges picked a winner.  It was best 3 out of 5. I won twice, but lost the final set to my opponent. I didn’t get to move to the next round, but I heard people in the audience say “beautiful”, and that was win enough for me.   

I thought about coming up with some bawdy ones for next time, but so far I can’t think of any.  I decided instead I’m going to come up with a bunch more really beautiful ones, because I won the two sets with my two most beautiful haikus. It will be the battle of beauty against raunchy.