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Friends Announces Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge

Friends Announces Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge
Oneonta Falls in 2015; the falls are currently closed to the public due to damage from the Eagle Creek fire. (photographer: Jeremiah Leipold)
By Natasha Stone
Community Engagement Specialist
April 9, 2020

In celebration of National Poetry Month and International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17,  Friends of the Columbia Gorge is launching a Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge. While we all refrain from connecting to the Gorge physically, for the greater good, we can still stay connected virtually and celebrate the Gorge’s wonders from home by writing three simple but meaningful lines of verse. 

In difficult times, many often turn to art for expression and inspiration. For millennia, humans have written or made things to convey those feelings that are hard to say with everyday language. And the wonder of the natural world has served as a source of inspiration countless beloved poems and other works of arts over the ages.

Growing up, poetry was an escape for me. What I appreciate most about poetry is how it can take you to another place. Just as a good book can elevate you into another world, so can reading a poem or writing a haiku. 

Chiseling the rock
She roars, dancing on my skin 

Oneonta’s mist 

Our senses are reminded of that place, without going anywhere or physically feeling anything. Right now, many around the world are longing for that same sense of escape. We may not be able to visit loved ones or explore our favorite places, but we can still stay connected through art. By bringing treasured landscapes to life in our minds and reminding ourselves of what we love most about them, we can escape, inspire, and unite.

Friends invites Gorge and poetry lovers far and wide to write and share their passion for the Columbia Gorge with a haiku. To help you get started, Oregon’s poet laureate, Kim Stafford, created a short video about what the Gorge and haikus have in common, as well as the process of writing a haiku. (At the end of the video, he delivers his own Gorge haiku.) 

Please follow the traditional haiku format which is three lines with 17 syllables (5-7-5 syllable structure). To submit your haiku in the challenge, you can post it on Facebook (please tag @gorgefriends), Instagram (tag @gorgefriends with the hashtag #HaikuPoetryDay), or Twitter (tag @gorgefriends with the hashtag #HaikuPoetryDay); or email it to friends@gorgefriends.org by 5 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday, April 15. Friends will share several of our favorite submissions on our website and social media on April 16-17. 

If you need a little "inspo," remember that the Columbia River Gorge is one of the most majestic and unique river canyons on the globe with the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. It's home to more than 200 species of birds and at least 15 species of wildflowers that exist nowhere else in the world

Good luck and happy writing, Gorge friends!

Gorge Haikus