Like any art medium, poetry is a manifestation of the culture that engenders it, and traditional forms can provide an especial understanding of a society’s beliefs.
For instance, the English heroic couplet, with its solid end rhymes, reflects the British values of propriety and order.
The three-lined Italian terza rima stanza (think Dante’s Divine Comedy) highlights the importance of the number three, a celebration of the Holy Trinity.
And haiku, the most economic of forms, conveys a Japanese Buddhist understanding of nature as eternal, with humans as a component but not the star.
Then these forms come to America, where their hard rules are liquefied in our melting pot of freedom before they are deep-fried and super-sized, served on a Styrofoam plate of cultural appropriation.
We here at the Alibi are nothing if not champions of bastard art forms, and really, bastards in general. So, we present to you the winners of the 20th annual Haiku Contest. Thousands of American-style haiku from hundreds of entrants made their way to our special underground poetry lair where each poem was lovingly touched and considered, regardless of its parentage. During this process, a few things became clear:
One: It is almost impossible to write a good erotic haiku but entirely possible to write really very icky ones.
Two: A disturbing number of high school students who were forced to enter the contest don’t know who Mitt Romney is. Because information is so hard to access these days. C’mon, kids! I wore a Mondale button to the third grade. Get it together.
Three: More haiku should be written about early ’90s rap because it cannot NOT be good.
A heartfelt thank you to all who took the time to share your work. Each winner will receive a $20 certificate to ABQ Brew Pub, a $10 certificate to Purple Pink Rhino and a $10 certificate to El Norteño Restaurant. To claim your prize, please go to the Alibi offices at 413 Central NW and do a dance.
Julia Minamata juliaminamata.com
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Winners of Alibi’s 20th Annual Haiku Contest
Oh collect your tears In the vase by the window— The spring flowers bloom —David Naquin
Willow of the Reed Makes line drawings in Water Give thanks to the Breeze —Paula Singleton
Cicadas in trees will sing their cosmic chorus then suddenly stop —Sean Hall
APD frisking She just asked for Epsom salts Grandma at Walgreen's —Peter B. Ives
When I get hungry I like a side dish of face Sprinkled with bath salts —Pamela Frank
I melt in silence. The world drifting from the sea, Is no way to die. —M. Luke
“Romney’s To Do List” Places to foreclose: Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. —John Orman
The Grand Old Party Puts a lampshade on its head Empty suit, lights out —Peter B. Ives
“Anagram Haiku” Mormen Tim Tromney Met yom troy trim rote mimer Yen term more money —Gloria Hajduk
Clouds form in the west Baptizing the horizon In the hue of God —Michael Kear
Oh, hot, soiled diaper! Who threw you on the sidewalk? Maybe Satan's mom. —Rachel Langer
Spring moth invasion swatted in bathtub with a Greenpeace newsletter. —Beth Cohen
Sci-fi / Fantasy
Arnold's replacement for Total Recall needs to GET IN ZEE CHOPPAH!! —Jordan Ganz
don't colonize Mars first we fucked up planet Earth let us rot in place —Keith Szudarski
What has a Ring of Power and loves The Hobbit? This guy! (disappears) —Chris Chapin
Fat man with a beard Eats baked beans and cream corn slop Out of my body —Rachel Satz
Yo mom's so metal, the Four Horsemen are all like, “Hey girl, need a lift?” —Jordan Ganz
De End is near, Mon. Steel drums vibe dat reggae beat. Apocalypse-oh. —Bob Rakoczy
“Young MC Jams, Made Smaller” 1. A high-class luncheon? Mass consumption scares ladies Do not just stand there
2. Standing on the wall? The joke’s on you, Poindexter Do not just stand there —Mike Lensi
Years now of chronic Illness - like a ghost, I haunt My own memories. —Richard M. Fye
The sound that triggers skin to lift like sloe-boned silk: your voice through poems. —Erin M. Daughtrey
long and lonely night grind myself thinking of you polka dot panties —Chloe Makowski
May I please have sex With your skeleton when you Are finished with it? —Kevin WetSpot