Home County’s special interactive project this year is the Great Canadian Haiku Contest. In April 2011 we held a national contest asking for haiku entries about a great Canadian person place or thing. The winning 17 haiku are being treated as song lyrics that are being set to music by festival artists Hawksley Workman, Royal Wood, Emm Gryner and festival artistic director Catherine McInnes. The result will be 17 ‘little gems’ or ‘little magical moments’ – not necessarily full blown songs with a typical song structure. The poets and musicians jointly own the copyright for future use. The songs will be performed in an 80 minute workshop, 3 pm Saturday July 16 on a workshop stage at the festival. The project is sponsored by a new London radio station, 98.1 free FM. It will be streamed live and recorded for archival purposes by 94.9 CHRW, London’s Independent Radio Station.
Why haiku ?
In the age of Twitter, a form of communication that limits the writer to 140 characters to express a thought, haiku is a beautiful form with similar limitations, forcing the writer to express the essence of what they’re writing about in a simple, elegant, evocative and compelling way.
Strengths of the project:
We received entries from across the country, including Slave Lake, Alberta, Kelowna, B.C. Quebec townships, Parry Sound, Kingston, Ottawa, as well as many London and region entries. Submissions were judged by a team of local writers and finalists were chosen by London’s Poet Laureate Penn Kemp. To be as inclusive as possible, an anthology was created. In several cases, two or three different poets’ work was combined to create one haiku lyric.
All four musicians are setting independent versions of this overall winning haiku:
haiku lyrics by: Helen Baker, Terry Ann Carter, Trevor Malone
music by Hawksley Workman, Emm Gryner, Royal Wood & Catherine McInnes
edited by Penn Kemp & Catherine McInnes
Lightfoot hit me hard
Sundown burned into my brain
never been the same
Emily’s vision –
from this deep coastal forest
comes a raven’s caw
Leonard Cohen sings
Hallelujah ! crocuses
On Parliament Hill
Terry Fox’s things –
a lone sock, the heel worn through
miles still left to go
Click here to download an anthology of the 17 winners and the Poet Laureate’s haiku.
Find out more about anthologist Penn Kemp: