Coaching and inspiration to get you going!
Want some coaching and inspiration to get you going on your Lexington-inspired Neighborhood Haiku? Watch this recorded workshop with haiku poet and educator Brad Bennett, organized by Lexington Council for the Arts
GO TO OUR WORKSHOPS PAGE FOR FULL DESCRIPTIONS AND REGISTRATION.
Thursday, May 12, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: Neighborhood Haiku
Haiku and local inspiration, a virtual workshop with Brad Bennett. Free. Via zoom hosted by Lexington Council for the Arts. Registration required, here.
Saturday, May 14, 10:30 am to noon: Haiku for you!
A hands-on intergenerational Haiku workshop for all ages with Jessie Brown. Free. Hosted by Cary Library. Registration required, here.
Saturday, May 14, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm (rain date May 15): Inspired by Willard’s Woods. Haiku walk and workshop with Brad Bennett. $29; scholarships available. Organized by Lexington Community Education. Registration required, here.
Sunday, May 15, 3:00 to 5:00 pm: Haiku, history, memory, and this moment! Neighborhood Haiku workshop with Stephanie Rochester. Free. Hosted by Lexington Historical Society. Registration required, here.
Sunday, May 22, 2 to 4 pm: Haiku in Art & Words
An intergenerational, all ages hands-on workshop combining poetry and art. Led by Jessie Brown and Laurie Bogdan. Free. Register, here.
Monday, May 23, 7:00 to 8:30 pm: How do you haiku?
A hands on workshop with Jessie Brown. Free. Hosted by Cary Library. Registration required, here.
WRITE HAIKU ON YOUR OWN OR WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
This project is open to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds with any level of writing experience and you don’t have to take a workshop. All are welcome to participate in workshops and to submit poems which will be published on the website of the Lexington Council for the Arts. You don’t have to live in Lexington, just draw inspiration from Lexington’s green spaces, neighborhoods, and history – write a place-based poem.
Please review the rules, inspiring examples and resource links lower down on this page as well as the FAQ section. If you still have questions or want help, please email us at: LexingtonHaiku@gmail.com
Although haiku originated in Japan, it has spread around the globe and been used by diverse poets to write poetry true to their experiences and perspective. With its compact form, haiku is most often used to call attention to small, closely observed moments in the human or natural world. Powerful yet accessible, these three-lined poems can use contrast, humor or surprise to create a shift in mood. Their short, sharp images often provoke longer reflection. Check out our Inspiring Examples (below) to get a sense of the variety. With the constraint of no more than 17 syllables (you can use fewer), haiku offers an engaging opportunity to play with words and see how much you can say in as few words as possible. We invite you to give it a try!
Poet and teacher Jessie Brown worked with Cecily Miller to launch the inaugural version of Neighborhood Haiku in Arlington Heights in 2021. Jessie chose examples of haiku written by a diverse group of poets, including local folks, youth, and published poets. You will also find some examples from the 2018 Bikeway Haiku, organized by Cecily in collaboration with the Bicycle Committees of Arlington, Lexington and Bedford to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Minuteman Bikeway. Take a look here.
Our Haiku Advisor Brad Bennett recommends browsing The Heron’s Nest, an on-line haiku journal, for more inspiration, here!
NEIGHBORHOOD HAIKU COMPOSITION RULES
All haiku should be three lines long, with concrete sensory details, and no more than 17 syllables long; you can try for less! You do NOT have to structure your lines using the conventional 5/7/5 rule (5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the last), although of course you may if you choose. No titles please!
A selection committee of poets will choose up to 30 original haiku for installation in storefront windows. Although writers may suggest a window location for their submission, the project organizers will be responsible for choosing the installation sites for selected haiku. Additional haiku may be selected for display in public spaces as other opportunities arise.
DEADLINE AND HOW TO SUBMIT
DEADLINE: Wednesday June 1, 2022 . Send up to 3 poems per person to LexingtonHaiku@gmail.com. Please include:
Who can enter?
We encourage submissions from writers of all ages, as well as writers of any cultural background.
Do I need to live or work in Lexington?
No. To participate in a workshop or submit poems, you just need to be familiar with Lexington and draw inspiration from its unique qualities.
What do you notice here? It may help to take what the Japanese call a “ginko walk” in preparation for writing – with all your senses open, stroll around streets, go into shops, and explore local parks. What strikes you?
Can I submit with a friend?
Absolutely. We encourage friends or family members to collaborate
Are workshops required?
No, but if you attend one, you’ll learn strategies for writing more powerful poems, to get the attention of readers and listeners!
Do the haikus have to be for specific windows?
No. They just need to reflect neighborhood experiences that people can identify with. To write a more site specific poem you can, however, center your haiku on a story or observation about a particular local shop. Make sure that your haiku does not end up being an advertisement or review for a business.
How do you choose locations for the winning haiku?
It depends on how many businesses participate. Authors can make suggestions, but the project team is responsible for matching displays with sites throughout the neighborhood.
What will the window displays look like?
Each will be different, hand-painted by our team of artist volunteers.
How can I join the team of artist volunteers?
We are looking for creative folks to join us. Just send an email to LexingtonHaiku@gmail.com with the subject “painting haiku” and we’ll get back to you.
What makes a winning haiku?
Besides the basic format (see “Why Haiku?” “Examples” and “Rules” above), the best haiku rely on fragments and phrases, rather than full sentences. They use sharp images that appeal to the senses (sight, sound, taste, texture, smell) to create an “aha” moment for the reader. Some contain a twist or a surprise in their compact form. They compel a response – sometimes laughter, sometimes reflection, sometimes a wistful feeling. Come to a workshop to learn more!