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2021 Ukiah Haiku Festival

UkiaHaiku Festival is in gear and online for Spring 2021

The 2021 UkiaHaiku Festival (UHF) will be produced as an online virtual event hosted by our outgoing Ukiah Poet Laureate, Roberta Werdinger, and conducted by our incoming Poet Laureate, Melissa Eleftherion Carr. It will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 25th. In the tradition of past festivals, the event will be open to all ages (we encourage children & young adults to participate).

If you’d like to participate in this year’s UHF, please email Roberta Werdinger: When she receives your RSVP email, she’ll send you a Zoom link. Please mark your calendar with it. We’ll figure out the order of readers once we’ve all assembled on Zoom.

This year, participants will read one haiku at a time in a round-robin format. We’re requesting folks to read no more than three haiku in total. We’ll read in successive rounds until we’ve heard all the haiku. Time permitting, organizers will also read haiku from past UHF winners and/or from Japanese masters such as Basho, Buson and Issa.
For those new to haiku, the following is a thumbnail sketch:

1) Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines: short, long and short. (In English these were often required to be 5, 7, and 5 syllables, but we no longer require nor recommend this specificity.)
2) Typically, two of the lines are related (called a phrase) and a third line (fragment) provides an insight or unique observation related to the phrase (examples below follow this definition).
3) Traditional haiku captures a moment in nature and always includes a seasonal reference. Haiku is about an observation and evocation based in nature, not solely about an individual’s preoccupations or concerns.
4) Haiku use clear, direct concrete language—generally no figurative language or rhymes.

Here are a few examples by Japanese haiku masters translated by Robert Hass:
A bucket of azaleas / in its shadow / the woman tearing codfish. —Basho
The cherry blossoms fallen / through the branches / a temple. —Buson
The man pulling radishes / pointed my way / with a radish. — Issa
We look forward to joining you in a celebration of UkiaHaiku!