Slabs of juicy pork,
sweet butter beans, coleslaw, bread,
stick to me like love.
Haiku dates at least to 16th-century Japan.
But it’s time to put 17 syllables in service of contemporary times. Organizers of the annual Greater Kansas City Japan Festival are inviting residents to sum up specific Kansas City concepts in haiku poems.
Lindsay Rice Yoshida, a Prairie Village teacher who studied literature at the University of Iowa, noticed a similar localized haiku contest in New York and proposed the idea to the festival committee.
Organizers are calling for poems consisting of 17 syllables and written in three lines of five, then seven and then five syllables, and addressing the topics of barbecue, the “Heartland,” fountains, jazz and Kansas City sports. Although the annual festival dates to 1997, this is the first time for the haiku competition.
“Any topic can be converted to haiku,” said Yoshida, author of the barbecue haiku. “Have fun, be inspired by your city, and connect to the deep poetic traditions of Japan at the same time.”
There will be separate contests, one for those 16 and younger and another for those 17 and older.
The festival, organized by the Heart of America Japan-America Society, is scheduled Oct. 11 at Johnson County Community College. Those entering can submit up to 10 poems at KCJapanFestival.org. The deadline is Sept. 30. From Oct. 1 to 7, visitors to the website will be able to vote on their favorite poems.
Winners, who will be determined on Oct. 10, will receive free festival admission as well as an opportunity to read their work at the event’s opening ceremony.
Here’s my entry for the sports category:
No, don’t inform me
who won Royals game; it is
stressful. Aw, tell me.
Sipping for the sake of scribes
“Reading Between the Wines,” the annual book- and wine-tasting fundraiser for the Writers Place, is scheduled for Oct. 2.
The reception, to be held in a private home in the Kansas City area, will feature wines and several “book tasters” who will recommend favorite books. Tickets are $35, and all proceeds will benefit the Writers Place.
Mary Bunten, Writers Place director, plans to announce details at the fundraiser on how the Writers Place will honor Bill Hickok, who with his wife, Gloria Vando Hickok, established the facility at 3607 Pennsylvania Ave. Bill Hickok died in California in July.
For information about the fundraiser, go to WritersPlace.org.