Sharpening The Green Pencil: Romania

Haiku is a genre of poetry that developed in Japan, but these days it is a poetic form practised around the world. Haiku are now written in many countries, and many languages.

For example, since 2012 the Romanian Kukai Group has run an annual competition for haiku written in English: the Sharpening The Green Pencil Haiku Contest. The contest is named after the following haiku written by Elena Manta Ciubotariu:

spring –

the child is sharpening

the green pencil

The 2017 contest attracted entries from 275 participants living in 45 countries across 6 continents. The winning haiku, written by Stella Pierides from Germany, demonstrates how a seemingly simple, image-based poem can capture the drama of life in the 21st century:

refugee child –

folding and unfolding

his paper boat

One of my recent haiku was fortunate to receive a Commendation in this year’s Contest:

this beach of pebbles

after the wave

my life rearranged

Of course, I did not intend my haiku to relate to Stella’s refugee child. But looking at the poems again, it is possible to discern a certain resonance between the two haiku.

The Book of the 2017 Contest presents the entries both in English and translated into Romanian. In some cases, a third translation also shows the haiku in the author’s first language, where that is not English.

The Book can be accessed here and is well worth reading to experience contemporary haiku written by authors from around the world.