2023 Whole Life Soaps Haiku Contest
I can't believe how fast 2023 is already slipping by us like pine pollen and dust through the boards of my front porch.
I've been spending too much time thinking about my own mortality lately. I turned 51 in December, had my first angina attack, and now I am taking high blood pressure medication. Where did my healthy youth go? When did this old man move into my body? But that is the cycle of life, right. What's young grows old, and what's old eventually passes on.
With that said, it is time for our annual haiku contest where I, a local soap maker in the San Gabriel mountains of southern California, am calling for your observational thoughts of nature in the form of a haiku.
This year's theme is Aging and the Cycle of Life.
The natural world, if you are keen to pay attention, offers many critical insights regarding how we age, what happens when we die, and the inherent beauty of this simple physical process, one which inspires so much fear and anxiety, but one that has been occurring without change since life began.
Your task, should you choose to enter, is to write a haiku on how how aging and the cycle of life are reflected in our natural world.
If you've never written a Haiku before, just remember:
1. Your haiku should aim to convey a moment of insight, probably from something you’ve observed, either in the world or in your mind and heart.
2. Write your haiku using a just a few lines. Traditional Japanese haiku use mora, which are spread across a few lines. In English, writers attempt to translate this concept into a rigid syllable structure, but there is not a direct correlation between the two concepts, as a single mora may contain two, three, or four syllables. Simply put, using seventeen syllables may actually make your haiku too long, in the traditional sense. So try to avoid the syllable game that many native English speakers learn in elementary school. If you really must focus on syllables, I would suggest using no more than 17 syllables across all three lines. But fewer is preferable, and likely more correct.
3. Write with directness, using clear images.
4. Find a way to break the haiku into two parts, with the second part creating a contrast or surprise after the first one.
5. Nature should be part of the poem, either setting up the contrast or completing it. Poems without this will not be considered.
Finally, it's important to read haiku to get the feeling of the haiku structure. Whether you search the internet for examples or buy a book of Haiku poetry, reading examples is still the best teacher.
1. Past winners are ineligible
2. One entry per person
3. Entries must be received by May 20, 2023 at 5:00PM PST to be considered eligible.
4. Submissions may be entered alternatively via US Mail. Send to Bill McConnell c/o Whole Life Soaps, PO Box 3082, Wrightwood, CA 92397. Additionally, contestants may submit a contest entry in-person at Whole Life Soaps retail store located at 6013 Park Dr, Wrightwood, CA 92397. Submissions must include first and last name, a valid email address, a phone number, a current mailing address, and a typed copy of the haiku entry. We are open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am - 5:00pm.
5. Winners will be announced no later than July 15, 2023. Winners will be announced via this blog, via our Instagram page, and via email to all contestants.
7. Contest rules may change at anytime.
Last updated 4/3/2023
Vasile Moldovan —
I feel how time flies
faster and faster