Back to Newsroom

Friends Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge

Friends Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge
(photographer: Mark McConnell)
By Natasha Stone
Community Engagement Specialist

April 7, 2021

In celebration of National Poetry Month and International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17, Friends of the Columbia Gorge is announcing its second annual Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge!

Poetry was an escape for me growing up. 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. Last year's Spring Gorge Haiku challenge was a huge hit, and we wanted to once again help provide a way for the public to stay connected with each other and nature at a time when many are still physically distancing.

Recently, the video version of Amanda Gorman's popular "Earthrise" poem got people around the nation talking in response to her challenge:

We relish the view;
We witness its round green and brilliant blue,
Which inspires us to ask deeply, wholly:
What can we do?


In the spirit of Gorman’s words, for this year's Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge we are again asking the public to submit haikus illustrating what they love about the Gorge (the views, the communities, waterfalls, etc.) as well as haikus about why it's important to protect, preserve, and steward the Gorge for future generations (i.e. What can we all do?).

For millennia, humans have used poetry, creative writing, and other artistic activities as a way to articulate feelings and thoughts that are often hard to convey in everyday language. And the wonder of the natural world has served as a source of inspiration for scores of beloved poems from "Earthrise" to countless other works of art over the ages. While many still may be sticking closer to home due to the pandemic, we all can still help protect and celebrate the Gorge’s wonders—from anywhere—by writing three simple but meaningful lines of verse. 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 by 5 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday, April 14.

Friends will share several of our favorite submissions on our website and social media channels in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day (April 17). If you need a little "inspo," remember that the Columbia 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.

 Happy writing, Gorge friends!