Fifth Annual Weybridge Haiku Contest

Open Your Hearts and Imaginations

Weybridge’s haiku contests for the past two pandemic years have asked writers to open their hearts and imaginations and address the challenging world around them. Those prompts drew 177 responses from 28 writers in 2021 and 217 responses again from 28 writers in 2022.

The 2023 contest, the fifth annual, again prompts writers to open their hearts and imagination to the light and darkness, happiness and sadness, joy and wonder in our lives.

“Writers have a blank slate to consider questions big and small,” novelist Chris Bohjalian, a contest judge, commented. “Earthbound questions like what do squirrels know that we don’t and what’s the future of the maple tree. And more cosmic questions like Life is all about saying good-bye, about being reborn. When does the soul crave darkness, hanker for light.” “I would be sad if all the haikus were gloom and doom. I hope that we can also focus on something other than the virus,” fellow judge Martha Winant, Weybridge winner of the 2021 contest,” suggests. “Consider lighter topics like Coming Out of Hibernation. ” In addition to Bohjalian and Winant, this year’s judges include Narges Anzali, Weybridge’s youth poet laureate and a past youth winner, and Gwen Nagy-Benson, Weybridge winner of the 2022 contest.

Haiku. The poem should be in the haiku form—either the traditional form of three lines no more than seventeen syllables total (5-7-5) or a short three lines that captures the spirit of the haiku. There are no limits on the number of haikus a writer can submit.

Eligibility. Participants of all ages are encouraged to submit. There is a youth division, through high school, and an adult division. You do not have to be a Weybridge resident but must be a Vermonter. No experience needed. Give it a try!

Deadline. Submit haikus to George Bellerose, contest administrator, by March 1. Email georgebellerose@gmavt.net or 80 Meetinghouse Lane, Weybridge, VT 05753. He will forward them to the four judges. Winners will be announced at the end of March to celebrate Poetry Month in April Awards. Judges select three youth winners, both Weybridge and Vermont, and three adult winners, Weybridge and Vermont.

Winners can choose from books by Weybridge’s co-poet laurates, Julia Alvarez, the founder of the contest, and novelist Jay Parini, as well from books by Chris Bohjalian.

Everyone is way above average in this contest, with each writer receiving a Certificate of Participation and a playful Best of Honorific.

For more information: George Bellerose, haiku contest administrator 80 Meetinghouse Lane Weybridge, VT. 05753 Tel. 802 545-2035 Email georgebellerose@gmavt.net

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