Writing Contest-May 8

In honor of the 70th birthday of Thomas Pynchon, Miss Snark is conducting an unannounced writing contest.

It opens at 8pm tomorrow, May 8. It will be open for 7 minutes.
Eastern time. That's Greenwich mean time minus 4 hours.

Your entry must be in haiku form

five syllables in line one
seven syllables in line two
five syllables in line three

It will help your chances at winning if you include any of the following:

Chums of Chance

you must email your entry to killer yapp at gmail.com

Miss Snark reserves the right to not post all the entries (finally getting smart!).
All decisions by the judges are final, whimsical and not subject to any griping or second guessing.

You must provide a US address to receive the prize.
If you ARE Thomas Pynchon and you win, I'll be happy to send the prize to your editor, no questions asked.


Marcus T said...

But what do we win? I really need a new piano.

And yes, I am a nitwit, and will gladly take a shot from the cluegun to protect my fellow nitwits. It is 8pm Eastern, right? This Greenwich mean time thing has me frightened that I will email you at the wrong time, and miss out on my chance to win that new piano.

Anonymous said...

Stolen from an awesome t-shirt:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Hooray new Snarktest!

(Note: Sorry if this was submitted multiple times. Blogger obviously doesn't find this as funny as I)

canwag said...

Greenwich Mean Time is what folks in the military call Zulu time... but it's been 10 years since I was in the Navy, and Zulu time confused the hell out of me back then, too....

alternatefish said...

It does say Eastern time in the post, marcus t.

I look forward to reading the entries, but this is a contest in which I will not be participating. I had a writing teacher once who really really tried to help me learn how to write poetry, but we decided my soul isn't deep enough. Or something. So no haikus for this fish.

good luck, y'all!

Impy said...

I love haiku.

On the forum for my husband's online comic, Errant Story, we once had a discussion thread which was almost entirely in haiku. There were over 100 posts about the characters, plot, and fan conversations, and most of the posts contained more than one haiku. Sadly, most of them also contained references that were not work-safe because at the time the forum participants were terribly fond of acting like deviants, so I cannot link the thread.

I will post an excerpt from a discussion of spoilers, though:

Fan: Imp-Chan being mean
She has the inside info
Does not spill the beans

Me: Any shared answers
Ruin the discovery
For everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Another bit of t-shirt wisdom, from the pen of Lester Smith:

Counting syllables
Mentioning cherry blossoms
This is not haiku

Just saying....

Cynthia Bronco said...

and I won't be near internet at 8 PM EST.
Rats. I was told that Haikus traditionally had something to do with nature.

Central Park squirrels
Will plot the overthrow of

Anonymous said...

Does Killer Yapp's e-mail address include a dot between his first and last name? Is Miss Snark's own e-mail address still acting up?

Anonymous said...

MS writes...

Miss Snark reserves the right to not post all the entries (finally getting smart!).

Don't frett. The Proctologist is not entering.

Haste yee back ;-)

Chris Eldin said...

Hey Anonymous
Forget the silly t-shirt
Post link for cute guy


Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Properly, a haiku should be a single moment, and the 5-7-5 structure translates awkwardly to English-- it's a count of Japanese on, not English syllables. A haiku is also a seasonal poem (in that it must contain a key word that identifies the season-- if it's not tied to a season, it's a different poem, possibly a senryu)

No seasons indoors.
Here at my word processor
I write just senryu

WannabeMe said...

Seeing as -

Chums of Chance

- have already taken up 10 of the total 17 syllables in a haiku, I think I'll just watch with a cup of tea.

Rei said...

To further what Anon #2 said:

Americans often focus on one aspect of Haiku, and one aspect alone: 5, 7, 5. It just shows our poor understanding of the artform.

1) 5, 7, 5 isn't the only stanza for haiku.

2) That was originally 5, 7, 5 in *Japanese*. Japanese syllables are shorter than English syllables, so it's an even tighter restriction. For example, in English, we words like "crimps" that are a single syllable. In Japanese, the closest you could get to pronouncing that would be something like "ku-ri-mu-pu-su". Their syllables are typically either a single vowel or consonant-vowel. Picture Japanese names for examples of this -- Hirohito (Hi-ro-hi-to). Yamamoto (Ya-ma-mo-to). Etc.

3) The key aspect of haiku is often omitted: references to nature. You're trying to capture a perfect aspect of the natural world in a tiny number of syllables.

My favorite haiku is one Nick Virgilio wrote about his brother, who died during the Vietnam war:

Out of the water
Out of itself

Many haiku purists consider even this to be improper, because it's forcing a metaphor onto the scene. The "perfect" haiku is supposedly one that comes to the observer instantly, already in perfection of form. However, Virgilio's haiku reportedly pleased the emperor, and that's a good enough authority for my tastes ;)

Anonymous said...

Checking Miss Snark late
I can't believe I missed it!
Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

HeartSong Studio said...

HAH! Well, I look forward to seeing if mine gets posted. I'm confused though by the email to use... www[dot]gmail[dot]com ????

The Anti-Wife said...

Damn. Now I can't leave work until 5:01 pm. You're a cruel woman Snark! One of your best qualities!

HeartSong Studio said...


It was a DAH! moment. I got it:


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Whatever the prize
Makes no difference to me
Contest I have missed

Anonymous said...

I couldn't write a haiku to save my life, but I'm looking forward to reading them all.

Anonymous said...

Er...it's not 8 PM Eastern yet, guys. You haven't missed it.

- Wonderer, who might be able to write a poem of 5, 7, 5 but greatly doubts her ability to write a true haiku

Heather Wardell said...

It's 5 P.M. in
Eastern Standard Time zone, folks.
You haven't missed it yet!

Heather, proving why she is NOT a poet!

Anonymous said...

If we are feeling particularly clever, can we submit more than one?

Anonymous said...

Gravity's Rainbow
Is so hard to read, I barfed
Bananas for days.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

We pixies don't Haiku. We don't Kung Fu either.

We sing a lot, play with goats ... and are so busy writing a biography of a really obscure twit ... umm I mean 19th Century "prophet" that we won't learn how either.

I'm 'bout done with it though. And now the really hard part sits on my computer screen: Reducing this mass of words to 7-10K for a journal article, which if it passes a tough peer review will see the light of day next year sometime, maybe. I hope. … Though today I'd feed it all to Bill E. Goat and tell all those nice people waiting on me to forget it.

But I'll read your High Koos. ... You write. I read!

So ... Bill E. wants to know ... When do we have a best novel by a Goat contest?

Anonymous said...

May we submit more than one haiku?

Bernita said...

Not elegible.

Gravity of years,
And a pot of gold waiting
Beneath the rainbow.

Anonymous said...

panicked and flustered
unable to tell the time
nitwits fail the test

Anonymous said...

quick, before the window opens/closes:
Happy Birthday to you
They say it's your birthday
Happy Birthday to you,DearT.R.
Happy Birthday to you!!!
(sound of more than one hand clapping?)

Rei said...

Nooooo! Email bounce! I fired mine off to Killer.Yap@gmail.com. Two Ps in Yapp!

Oh, how dumb could I be? I resent it, but it's probably too late :(

Miss Snark, if you're reading, mine was the "Listing on billows" one... but I know that rules are rules, and that sometimes a one-letter typo can mean you miss out :(

Anonymous said...

watch it - it's to kileryapp, not miss.snark! muscle memory? nitwittery? Lucy pulling the football? Augh!

Maya Reynolds said...

Couldn't get through in time so am posting here:

If you ask the wrong question,
Answers don't matter
To Thomas Pynchon

Ernest said...

8:01 p.m.
issued No. 29
lot of syllables!

Maya Reynolds said...

Arg! Was so annoyed, I reversed my first and second lines.

LouthMouth said...

You can't really have a good poem without the word "Nantucket".

Anonymous said...

"panicked and flustered
unable to tell the time
nitwits fail the test"

What do I know of Haikus? Absolutely nothing but this made me chuckle....

The haikus purists are funny too. So many have been so serious about spreading knowledge of the "proper" haikus but it made me learn something new today....

Impy said...

Haiku is not just
the Japanese poetry.
The meaning expands.

In other words, the western meaning of the term Haiku has long since gone beyond the original Japanese meaning and associated guidelines. The loosest definition as taught in schools for the last decade or more is that of the 5-7-5 syllables, with occasional reference made to the traditional focus on nature and the seasons.

We all know that the English language is a bit of a bully... the original meaning and cultural impact of haiku as a form never stood a chance once removed from the tone and inflection native to the Japanese language. There's a degree of reverence and respect built into that language and culture which is just not as present in English.

(Also, Japanese makes a LOT more sense. Their sentences are made from building blocks, and while there are complicated rules about how to stack them, at least the edges are fairly regular. English is more like a jigsaw puzzle cut by a madman.)

Kanani said...

Gravity's Rainbow was one that I struggled though. However, I loved Vineland as well as Mason & Dixon.

Happy Birthday Mr. Pynchon, master of the long sentence, poetic prose, characters with inner lives, souls a wry sense of humor, satyr and creator of at least one character who knew when to wear a dress.

Anonymous said...

Some feel that an attempt to recreate the 5-7-5 structure using stresses as opposed to syllables may produce an English haiku closer to the Japanese.