Since embarking on the challenge of writing 30 Haikus in 30 Days back in November, my obsession with the haiku form has not diminished. So, when I heard about a local haiku competition I jumped at the chance to participate.
The prompt was simple: write an Arizona inspired haiku. I must have cranked out twenty, before I settled on three to submit.
pale light follows dawn
mountains ripple in the sky
coyote’s last howl
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Summer’s end is near
clouds of dust and monsoon rain
hover in the sky
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yellow cactus bloom
withers in the summer sun
alone in the sand
Weeks went by and then I discovered an email in my inbox announcing the results of the competition. It turns out two of my haiku earned Outstanding honors and would therefore be on display at the festival at a special Haiku Expo. In addition, they would also be published in an ebook, (the first two haikus were chosen). The ebook is gorgeous and well worth downloading!
To say I was excited is an understatement. After failing in so many competitions, it’s nice to find myself in the winner’s circle for once! It may be a small, local competition, but it feels pretty big to me. There were over 600 entries and only 45 haikus received Outstanding status.
The competition was launched in conjunction with the Arizona Matsuri Festival – a Japanese cultural festival that has been a local mainstay for more than 30 years. I’ve gone before and have always enjoyed the bright colors, food, and cultural beauty on display.
This is the first year for Haiku Expo and they did a nice job displaying the Outstanding and Honorable Mention haikus. Each haiku is handwritten on a piece of wood, giving the nature-inspired haiku a very organic feel.
While at the display, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the judges. After learning my name, he instantly knew my work – right down to how many haikus I entered. He then told me my work embodied everything haiku is supposed to be. After spending so much time immersing myself in the practice, this compliment means the world to me.
I read through some of the other poems on display and I must say I am so proud to be included among so many talented poets. Every haiku was so beautiful!
Given the success of the competition, I’m hoping the Haiku Expo will be even larger next year!
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