Curious City Is Throwing A “2020 Haiku” Contest!

We want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this year — in haiku form.

Haiku thumbnail
Mackenzie Crosson / WBEZ
Haiku thumbnail
Mackenzie Crosson / WBEZ

Curious City Is Throwing A “2020 Haiku” Contest!

We want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this year — in haiku form.

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Editor’s note: We are no longer accepting submissions, but you can vote on your favorite finalist here. We’ll announce the winner on Dec. 31.

A global pandemic, mass protests, a presidential election … It’s been quite the year. And while editing a recent interview about remote learning with Evanston drama teacher Michael Rodriguez, producer Jesse Dukes heard musings on 2020 that sounded a lot like poetry — a haiku, specifically.

I just kind of assume

things are gonna get worse

and hopefully I’m wrong.

So at Curious City, we started to wonder: Could haikus serve as a form to creatively process all that this year has brought to light?

Haikus are like concentrated doses of pure observation in a single moment — like a scene out your window. They originated as introductory phrases to long oral poems in Japan, but they became a stand alone form of poetry in the 16th century. Matsuo Bashō is credited with perfecting the form. Here’s one of his famous haikus:

The old pond;

A frog jumps in —

The sound of the water.

And this poetic form discovered in Michael’s tape even inspired some of us here at Curious City to write haikus of our own. Here’s one from producer Jesse Dukes:

We were sent home.

The trees in my window grew green leaves

Now brown, and yellow.

But of course, here at Curious City we want to hear your observations, too — so we’re putting on a 2020 Haiku contest! Take any one of your feelings about 2020, put them into a haiku and send it to us.

Your poem can be funny, reflective, bleak … anything, really. Haikus usually have three lines and about 17 syllables total, but that’s more of a guideline than a hard rule for this contest.

At the end of the contest, Curious City will select the top three and you’ll get to vote on your favorite. Then we’ll put the winner on the radio and in the podcast for everyone to hear.

You can submit your haiku here. Submissions accepted through December 7th.