Bidecennial of Bastard Haiku
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.