Birds Sing the Coda: O, Haikus!

I love the haiku!

On Sunday, April 12, starting at Soundscape Park, musician Taylor Hu Bynum led a group of free-wheeling Peddling Poets who presented site-specific poetry and music on a 16-mile loop, routing through downtown Miami and Miami Beach area.

When my turn came to read poetry, I meant to read some of my “Bayfront Park at Night” haikus

(Birds sing the coda
of their delirious night song.
Adieu. Oh, adieu.)

but, instead, shared poems about Anton Cermak and Haitian Flag Day.

I’m always willing to spread my love for the haiku, though.

Back in February, a great opportunity arose for the Miami Poetry Collective to collaborate with The Center for Writing and Literature on their spring program, The Big Read. The center chose a book from a National Endowment for the Arts list to read together with local book clubs, college and public school classrooms, and coordinated events around the book’s content. Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor was Divine is a novella based on the WWII Japanese-American internment camps in the USA. The Big Read kicked off on February 4 and ran until March 19, with events relating to civil liberties and Japanese cultural exploration. Examples included a trip to the Morikami Garden and Museum (a large portion of the grounds were actually confiscated by the government during WWII), film screenings, book discussions, Japanese cooking demos, and more!

Where did MPC come in? We partnered with The Big Read for a Japanese Poetry Takeover! We took over several different public schools for one class period in February, all over Miami-Dade County and conducted a Japanese Poetry workshop with high school students.

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Poet Ashley M. Jones and I visited iTech @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center on February 20th. We conducted workshops about the haiku, one of the most popular Japanese poetry form. We discussed history, current usage, and the ways in which the haiku can be used to craft poems about social justice.

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Students crafted poems that were eventually shared with the hashtag ‪#‎305haiku‬

Today I’m also thinking about my Lebron James haiku. In 2014, LeBron James’ decision to leave the Miami Heat and join the Cleveland Cavaliers left plenty of South Floridians with mixed feelings. WLRN and the Miami Herald held a poetry contest to say goodbye. I Submitted my haiku through the Public Insight Network.

It attached itself
to my neck: disappointment
Lebron—gone, gone, gone

And, of course, I’m still chuckling at the baker in London who inserted disgruntled Haiku poems into packs of cookies http://ow.ly/xbFy9

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