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New to Haiku: Join in the fun on International Haiku Poetry Day

Here at The Haiku Foundation, we celebrate International Haiku Poetry Day (IHPD) every April 17. The origins of IHPD began when poet Sari Grandstaff started National Haiku Poetry Day in the US on February 17, 2007. The Haiku Foundation took over running events surrounding this day in 2012 and moved the date to April 17 to coincide with National Poetry Month in the US. We then expanded the day into an international event in 2015.

So, how can you join in this year’s IHPD?

The Haiku Foundation celebrates with the online HaikuLife Film Festival, the EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, and the announcement of this year’s Touchstone Award winners. There also may be local readings, gatherings, or other celebrations in support of the event.

  • HaikuLife Film Festival

There’s still time to send your short films for the HaikuLife Film Festival, an annual online celebration in film of all things haiku. Jim Kacian started this project in 2015, and you can watch a video about it here:

In short, you’ll need to create a haiku-themed video containing 17 segments of 17 seconds each, for a total of 4 minutes and 49 seconds of film. As Jim notes in the video above, 17 seconds is long enough to read a haiku twice. For more details, head to our HaikuLife Film Festival page. But this is only one of many styles of films that we receive and screen, so pretty much anything you can do in a film about haiku, we will consider.

The deadline to submit for this year’s celebration — April 10 — is coming up quickly. If you’ve got a film you’d like to share with the haiku community, let us know here and we’ll get back to you ASAP with further details about where and how to submit.

Last year, we added 26 new films to our collection. We’d love to hear from you!

  • EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration

The EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, the world’s largest annual collaborative poem, is a yearly event that begins here, on the THF blog Troutswirl. When we hit 12:01 a.m. April 17 at the International Date Line, a new post will go up on our blog that shares the “seed poem” for the year. Haiku poets are invited to write haiku that respond to this poem, or to the responses of other poets, or may introduce new threads aligned with the theme. The event runs 32 hours, through midnight in the time zone of the offices of the Foundation (Eastern Daylight Time).

You can read compilations of previous EarthRise collaborations from 2015 to 2020 here in THF’s digital library. We had 274 responses last year; we’d love for you to join us.

  • THF Touchstone Awards

The Haiku Foundation created the Touchstone Awards in 2010 to honor excellence and innovation in the haiku genre for both individual haiku and collections of haiku. (The Touchstone Archive can be found here.) This year, we are pleased to have added an award for individual haibun to the mix. You can read the 2023 longlist for individual haiku and the 2023 longlist for individual haibun; the shortlists for these awards, along with the shortlist for the book awards, will be posted on April 10.

The final Touchstone Award winners for the year in each of these three categories — individual haiku, individual haibun, and haiku books — will be announced on our blog on April 17 as part of IHPD. Join us to read award-winning haiku and haibun from 2023 as we celebrate the awardees and thank the panels of judges and award coordinators for their hard work.

Do you know of an event happening in support of International Haiku Poetry Day? Let us know in the comments!

We’d love to hear from you in the comments. The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy for more information.

Julie Bloss Kelsey is the current Secretary of The Haiku Foundation. She started writing haiku in 2009, after discovering science fiction haiku (scifaiku). She lives in Maryland with her husband and kids. Julie's first print poetry collection, Grasping the Fading Light: A Journey Through PTSD, won the 2021 Women’s International Haiku Contest from Sable Books. Her ebook of poetry, The Call of Wildflowers, is available for free online through Moth Orchid Press (formerly Title IX Press). Her most recent collection, After Curfew, is available from Cuttlefish Books. Connect with her on Instagram @julieblosskelsey.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. The British Haiku Society (BHS) received an enquiry from a care home asking if we could arrange for a haiku poet to visit them on International Haiku Day. We have liaised with John Hawkhead, a globally published writer of haiku and related poetry who lives near to the care home in Bradford on Avon, UK. He has kindly agreed to talk to the residents about haiku and share poetry with them. The BHS has also donated a collection of poetry books and issues of our journal, Blithe Spirit, to the care home for the residents to enjoy.

    1. Paul, that’s lovely. John is a terrific poet — wish I could hear him speak!

  2. This year International Haiku Day falls on Wednesday, April 17. The HSA Washington region is airing the first presentation in a Focus on Washington Haiku series on Zoom that evening from 7 to 9 pm, featuring art + haiku from thirteen prominent artists/writers from Washington.

    Join in to see and hear David Berger, John Burgess, Emily Kane, David Lasky, Dorothy Avery Matthews, Carole MacRury, Sally Penley, petro ck, Susan Roberts, Sheila Sondik, Ann Spiers with Bolinas Frank, and Michael Dylan Welch, sharing and reading sumie, painting, photography, calligraphy, multimedia, and comics, combined with haiku and senryū. The host will be Richard Tice, HSA Washington regional coordinator.

    Attendance is free and open to any interested person. For the link, contact Richard Tice at ret.hsa@outlook.com.

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