We love haiku Challenges. Not just because poems are shorter and it's easier to give each work its proper due, though it's always a joy when we get to spend more time with each piece of writing. No, we love haiku Challenges because they push writers to their creative limits. How much can be said in so few words? How deep can one go, quickly?
We left the prompt quite open for this Challenge: write about something blue. We did this because we felt the haiku's diminutive form was enough of a restriction to create your art without limiting you on subject. Art loves walls, it loves a challenge. Necessity, scarcity, they breed invention and all of that. Still, the muse needs some room to breathe, hence, write about something, anything blue.
You need not have even mentioned the word blue, only something that is blue, or sometimes blue- the sky, a mood, flowers, cigarette smoke.
This was a particularly tough Challenge to judge as so many of the haikus were exceptional. But, we were over the moon and felt like a kiss when we read our Grand Prize Winner and Second Place winners. As for the Runners-Up, they were spectacular, too.
Here are the winners of the Blue Haiku Challenge and spotlight on two of the Runners-Up. You can check out the full list of winners HERE.
$1,000 Grand Prize Winner
This haiku had us smiling through puffy eyes (I'm not crying, you're crying!). It did what great language does: provide a spray of emotion through sparing words. Twinkling windows gave us much joy, as did Swinging on the moon. And then we paused, we breathed, and melancholy struck. 17 words and this haiku took us from a dark blue sky to a lone viewer, staring out a moonstruck window, seeing someone (a lover? a friend? a kooky aunt?) swinging from the moon, gone but still close, having fun, living life, just out of reach, in plain sight. The longer you sit with this haiku, the more its neat and evocative components present themselves. Congratulations, Cathy Holmes!
$250 Second Place Winner
We loved this haiku because it told us about an entire relationship in 17 words. Well, more than 17 because the writer made some of the best use of a title we've seen in a long time. We could have gotten the story without the title but it was comforting to go back and read it and see the poem click perfectly into place. Also, Converse as mistletoe. Brilliant. It calls to mind a life that has been without mistletoe, a harsh life, meeting up with your ex partner on the street, away from home, kissing for all to see except, maybe, your family. Congratulations, Chloë J and thanks for making us see sneakers in a brand new way!
We're pretty serious about climate change at Vocal and this haiku spoke to our deepest fears. Thanks for that, Alison... Despite sharing the same form as our winning poems, this haiku left us feeling the opposite: empty, dreary, with a hole in our chests down which the sound of this quiet sea is still echoing. This poem is a call to reality, a siren of awareness at all of the abandoned shores where humans rarely look despite leaving a footprint that continues to destroy many years after we're gone. Well done, Alison McBain!
After we read this poem, we actually went out and bought a package of blackberries to see if they had any blue in them. Turns out, based on their ripeness, they range from purple to blue to black and we're so happy they do because we love this poem. We mentioned in the High-Ku Challenge that a good haiku often has a surprising ending and this haiku does a wonderful job of that. Imagine if you will that the perspective in a story is a camera. Wherever the camera points, that's where our attention goes. For the first two thirds of this poem, our focus, the camera, is on the mother. But with the last line, the camera cuts to the grass, to a family of mice, waiting for a blackberry to fall. Two perspectives, a child and a mouse, both relying on a mother's work. Well done, Vivian Grace!
Craving more Challenges? Check out our latest Reset Your Password Fiction Challenge.
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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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