FREE Contest: Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Good Saturday morning, everyone. I hope your Thanksgiving went well (if you are in America) or that you at least enjoyed all the food items that were on sale.

Today I’d like to give a brief lecture about haiku. When I was in elementary school, we were told that a haiku was three lines of poetry with a distinct syllable pattern: 5-7-5. I had to laugh at Google’s definition because it listed that syllable rule as the first definition; then, for the second, ‘an English imitation of this.’

People murder haiku all the time because it is not simply a matter of syllables. It needs a feeling, ‘cutting’ (kiru), and a season reference (kigo) often pulled from a list (saijiki) as well. Heck -the syllable thing is more of a pattern of on and may even have 11 total. Thank you, Wikipedia, for setting us straight.

Given that, and the fact that people completely fail to pull these elements into haiku, this next week’s contest ought to be simplisticly easy for everyone to ‘win’ at.

If you still need some pointers on what ‘terrible’ means, read my wonderful blog post, How To Write Terrible Poetry, and dive right in:

  1. The topic is falling snow.
  2. All poems submitted need to be haiku. Let’s keep it awful and insist on 5-7-5 English syllables (yes, I really want you to follow this rule).
  3. Haiku traditionally does not rhyme, but you can make us all scream if you insist it does.
  4. And remember: the poem needs to be terrible. Japanese poet-masters who understand English ought to be rolling in their graves, digging themselves out by their fingernails, and coming to wag a zombie-like scolding finger at you in your sleep.
  5. Keep it PG-Rated.

Think you can do it? You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (November 30, 2018) to submit.

Post your poem or the specific link to it in the comments.


Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty-One

“Your assignment,” Mr. Gil spoke gruffly, from the corner of his mouth, “Is on page niner niner, section bravo.” His large, rounded rectangle glasses reflected the overhead portable classroom’s lighting. The rest of his face squinted around his glasses in the traditional leer he adopted for class instruction.

Wil had always felt nervous around Mr. G. and his extremely strong personality. He had a habit of forming his froglike features into odd expressions while barking most verbal commands. Plus, he seemed to find everything he did highly amusing.

She studied the F4F Wildcat that twisted slowly on its string over her neighbor’s desk. That meant the heat was on. Modern heating and air conditioning were perks of class in the portables. Knowledge of aircraft was a perk of being in Mr. G.’s portable. She couldn’t tell the exact date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; but, by golly!, they would all know the names of his flying toys and the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Her hands automatically synced to the rhythm of her classmates, opening the history textbook in front of her and turning to “niner niner.”

Flight Officer Winters, however, was paying attention to the small speck in the vast grey blue at five o’clock. Her body vibrated comfortably in the overpowering roar of the Twin Wasp engine and the dashboard dials agitated reassuringly at regular readings.

“Hold formation,” crackled in her headphones. She felt the anxiety building in her body as she fought the urge to act.

They inched nearer.

The original speck had visible wings, and now hovered above a line of more dark spots plus one to her left. “Second Zero at eight o’clock,” she reported.

“Third at eleven/ten,” two others reported simultaneously. Wil glanced at the positions and acknowledged the additions.

She frowned. The Zeros always flew in formation, as they were, and had more than three pilots flying cover.

“Reading one more Zero at two. Let’s assume these ******s are leading two more behind them like usual,” the flight leader instructed.

That meant twelve Japanese fighters total. Wil grinned in anticipation and readied her guns. This would not be a fair fight.


Continued from Thirty.
Keep reading to Thirty-Two.