Are you ready for National Haiku Poetry Day on April 17th?  We asked poet and school librarian Sari Grandstaff, who founded National Haiku Poetry Day in 2007, to share her favorite haiku resources and tell is a little bit about the event!  Here’s what we found out:

Sari Grandstaff founded National Haiku Poetry day in 2007.  Originally, the date was December 21, the winter solstice, but it was changed to April 17 for the 2012 celebration to coincide with National Poetry Month.  The 17th is also significant because haiku written in the English language traditionally have 17 syllables.

National Haiku Poetry Day is now under the auspices of The Haiku Foundation.  You can visit the National Haiku Poetry Day page on their website to see information about official events taking place in libraries across the country, from Bangor, Maine to Seattle, Washington, and everywhere in between.

National Haiku Poetry Day also sponsors the HaikuNow! contest each year, with prizes for original English-language haiku in three categories:  traditional, contemporary, and innovative.  This year’s judge is poet Jane Hirshfield, whose collections have garnered numerous awards, including a National Book Critics Circle Award and a T.S. Eliot Award.

In addition to these formal contests, Sari also notes that writing and sharing haiku is a social activity in Japan.  In the US, she’s a member of the Hudson Valley Haiku-kai, who meet on the second Sunday of every month at the Woodstock Public Library in Woodstock, NY to share their poems in a friendly competition called a kukai.  Kukai offer a great template for quick haiku programming for any age.  Sari explains the kukai process this way:

Kukai is when a group gets together and submits haiku.  The haiku are read anonymously by the facilitator and everyone gets to vote on the ones they like, and say why they chose it.  The “winner” is the haiku that received the most votes; these are read aloud and the authors of those haiku identify themselves.

Selections from our newest Pinterest board: Sari Grandstaff's Haiku Library

Sari also submitted a goldmine of wonderful haiku resources, including books for kids and adults and her favorite websites, for a brand new Pinterest board!  Check out Sari Grandstaff’s Haiku Library — it’s a great collection development tool for librarians and an inspirational resource for poets of all ages.

Want more?  You can also visit Sari on her blog, Haikutopia, where she posts news and links to all things happening in the haiku world.  You can also find her Haikutopia Pinterest boards online.

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