Karen O’Hara is the winner of the 2018 Rentschler Library Haiku Contest. Karen is the Web Specialist for University Communications & Marketing in Oxford and teaches EGS 215 (Workplace Writing) on the Hamilton campus.
Window cat wonders
at snowflakes dancing up, down
Why can’t she catch them?
Her haiku was selected by a panel of four judges using a blind review process. There were 39 other entries. Thanks to all who submitted a haiku!
Shout out to Carrie Girton, Public Services Librarian & Web Developer, for creating the haiku website and managing the submissions. Another shout out to Ruth Orth, Regional Campus Social Media and Communications Specialist, for including the contest in the digital signage system.
I’d also like to thank the other judges: Krista McDonald, Library Director, Dr. Theresa Kulbaga and Dr. Tory Pearman, Associate Professors from the Department of Literature, Languages, and Writing.
There is still plenty of time to submit your own original haiku for the Rentschler Library Haiku Contest! The contest ends April 30th. Winner gets a T-Shirt!
Nature themes always make for good haiku. In fact, traditional Japanese haiku almost always had some mention of what season it was written. (either explicitly or implied). Just look around you for inspiration as you walk to class. Take, for instance, the Canadian geese outside of Schwarm Hall…
Harbingers of spring:
daffodils, tulips, robins
goose poop on sidewalks.
Your haiku must be in the 5-7-5 syllable format. The contest is open to students, faculty and staff. Winners will be announced no later than May 4th.
Swampy Dagobah —
even a Jedi Master
can’t keep his feet dry.
If you enter the Rentschler Library Haiku contest, you don’t even have to have a serious theme. That’s how wide open the contest is. Write one about your favorite popular culture thing, your dog, that time you got sick on the bus. As long as it’s cleverly done, we don’t care.
So go ahead…submit a haiku using our online form. Win, you just might.
April is National Poetry Month and just one of the ways Rentschler Library is celebrating this year is with our Haiku Contest. Just write your own original haiku in the 5 syllable, 7 syllables, 5 syllable format and you could win a haiku T-shirt (at left.) You get to select your color and size, though.
The contest is open to all Miami-affiliated persons (students, faculty, and staff.) You can enter your haiku online at the URL below or stop by our display in Rentschler Library to fill out a form. We also have a small collection of haiku books on display for inspiration.
“A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression….. As the form has evolved, many of these rules—including the 5/7/5 practice—have been routinely broken. However, the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment and illumination.
Here’s a haiku from novelist and poet Richard Wright to get you started:
From this skyscraper,
all the bustling streets converge
towards the spring sea
This last poetry-related blog post of National Poetry Month is about our current United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. He is the son of migrant farm workers and was educated at UCLA & Stanford. Herrera is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop and is a performance artist, activist, teacher.
The Poet Laureate’s official title is “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.” The position “serves as the nation’s official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.”
Rentschler Library has Herrera’s “Half the World in Light,” and “187 reasons mexicanos can’t cross the border.” Our featured poem by Herrera is “Almost Livin’ Almost Dyin” which was published in his collection “Notes on the Assemblage (jacket cover at left) and was also published on the Poetry Foundation website.
for all the dead
& hear my streets
with ragged beats & the beats
are too beat to live so the graves push out with
hands that cannot touch the makers of light & the
sun flames down through the roofs & the roots that slide
to one side & the whistlin’ fires of the cops & the cops
in the shops do what they gotta do & your body’s
on the fence & your ID’s in the air & the shots
get fired & the gas in the face & the tanks
on your blood & the innocence all around & the
spillin’ & the grillin’ & the grinnin’ & the game of Race
no one wanted & the same every day so U fire &
eat the smoke thru your long bones & the short mace
& the day? This last sweet Swisher day that turns to love
& no one knows how it came or what it is or what it says
or what it was or what for or from what gate
is it open is it locked can U pull it back to your life
filled with bitter juice & demon angel eyes even though
you pray & pray mama says you gotta sing she says
you got wings but from what skies from where could
they rise what are the things the no-things called love
how can its power be fixed or grasped so the beats
keep on blowin’ keep on flyin’ & the moon tracks your bed
where you are alone or maybe dead & the truth
carves you carves you & calls you back still alive
cry cry the candles by the last four trees still soaked
in Michael Brown red and Officer Liu red and
Officer Ramos red and Eric Garner whose
last words were not words they were just breath
askin’ for breath they were just burnin’ like me like
we are all still burnin’ can you hear me
can you can you feel me swaggin’ tall & driving low &
talkin’ fine & hollerin’ from my corner crime & fryin’
against the wall
almost livin’ almost dyin’
almost livin’ almost dyin’
Please come to the 10th annual poetry reading event, Thurs. April 20th 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Wilks Conference Center. Read your favorite published poem and enjoy free refreshments. Sponsored by Rentschler Library and the Department of Literatures, Languages, and Writing.
One of the poetry books added in the last year is the 3rd ed. of “250 Poems: a Portable Anthology,” ed. by Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl. This slim volume has a nice variety of chronologically-arranged poems from the last 500 years – from Geoffrey Chaucer, b. 1343, and his Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, to “Snail, or, To a House.” by Aracelis Girmay, b. 1977. The index includes a section that arranged the poems by content (eg. city life, patriotism, motherhood). It also has a glossary of poetic terms, and some helpful advice on “How to Write About Poetry – and Why.” Short biographies of the poets are also available in the back of the book. We are featuring a poem by Natasha Trewethey called “History Lesson,” which appears on pg. 290. Trewethey was twice the Poet Laureate of the U.S. (2012 and 2014) and Poet Laureate of Mississippi (her home state) and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for her collection “Native Guard.” Her list of other awards is long.
“History Lesson” by Natasha Trewethey, p. 290 of “250 Poems.”
I am four in this photograph, standing
on a wide strip of Mississippi beach,
my hands on the flowered hips
of a bright bikini. My toes dig in,
curl around wet sand. The sun cuts
the rippling Gulf in flashes with each
tidal rush. Minnows dart at my feet
glinting like switchblades. I am alone
except for my grandmother, other side
of the camera, telling me how to pose.
It is 1970, two years after they opened
the rest of this beach to us,
forty years since the photograph
where she stood on a narrow plot
of sand marked colored, smiling,
her hands on the flowered hips
of a cotton meal-sack dress.