June 13, 2024
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Calling All Kids: The Book Meshuggenahs Launch ‘Chai-ku’ Writing Contest

My late mother, Sydell Rosenberg, was a New York teacher and a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968. She studied and wrote haikus for decades. In 2018, I published her collection, H Is For Haiku. It was published by Penny Candy Books, and the National Council for Teachers of English selected it as a 2019 Notable Poetry Book. I also now write and publish haikus, and am a member of Haiku Society of America.

Haiku poems are the briefest form of poetry, but arguably the most expansive. While they are traditionally taught to be written in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables, today’s haikus are usually shorter. Content-–capturing moments, experiences, feelings, observations-–is more important than syllable count. Haiku poetry celebrates “small moments” in our daily lives, and makes them “big.”

Here’s an example of a Chai-ku, that my mother published in a haiku journal in 1968:

Haiku don’t have to be “serious,” like my mom’s. They can be playful and fun. Here’s one of mine from a couple of years ago (I was playing with alliteration and near-rhyme).

As a member of a group of 16, all-women Jewish children’s authors who write Jewish-themed books called “The Book Meshuggenahs,” we have just started a wonderful contest for parents, teachers, and librarians to share with children and students, inviting them to write “chaiku”-–that is, Jewish-themed haiku. This contest is open to students from elementary school through high school.

This contest runs through May 31, and after this deadline we will choose eight winners to receive eight of our books, autographed. Entries can be emailed to the group at [email protected], and also to me at [email protected].

If you love books and haikus, please visit #TheBookMeshuggenahs on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, or on Twitter @TMeshuggenahs.

By Amy Losak

 

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