There will be a Comic Haiku Contest this year.

Read previous winner: http://wp.me/psSjA-rJ
Read 2014 winners

About Childhood’s 2016

Not Nearly Annual

Frozen Fishhead Comic Haiku Contest

***

I’ll announce the photo prompt in April, following which it will be open season for one month. Please do not write to the decapitated fish prompt. The fish head is the contest’s famed moniker.

The rules and fan-ta-bulous prize money will be the same as in previous years. The photo prompt will be different.

Step up to the bar and check under “Haiku.” Not much will change except (TO REPEAT) the dates and the photo prompt. That said, brush off those 17 syllables, and keep me in mind:

 

 

 

Haiku Contest: Grand Prize, 2nd & 3rd Places

GRAND PRIZE – Neil Ruddy

 

Norman Bates washes

away all traces of the

women in his life

 

 

2ND PLACE – Allen McNealy

 

I had this dream where

I sneezed and a fire broke

out in my navel.

 

 

3RD PLACE – Elizabeth Catalano

 

Longtime fantasy

Reenactment realized

Gary was Flashdance!

 

*    *    *

Thank you to all who entered. You made my work fabulously arduous.

Over the next few posts, we will better get to know our winners.

Tomorrow, check back to read the winning Honorable Mentions, and the winners in the “New to Writing Haiku” category. Haiku on!

 

 

 

 

Stringing for “Brevity”: the Second of Three.

Continuing to tell the world about covering AWP panels for my bucket-list mag, Brevity:

When they talk about “distinguished panelists,” they are not kidding. One of my favorite writers, Mimi Schwartz (Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed), the editor of one of my favorite magazines, Joe Mackall (River Teeth Journal); and Philip Lopate (Philip Lopate).

“Speaking after Phillip Lopate must be like what Danny DeVito feels, at a bar with Brad Pitt. They’re not there for you but there is decent overflow.”

Joe Mackall

Read the full pieceComedy is Tragedy Plus Time

 

 

Give me your funky / Your impudent Tokyo / Hot nightlife haiku.

I am a sassy-pants, no doubt, but when it comes to my funny, I am a serious lady.

When it comes to haiku, I am not a fan of the “Oh, fleet, flying crane” variety. The world needs those haiku. Take heart: there are waaaaaay more outlets for your work than there are Not-Nearly-Annual Frozen Fish Head contests.

For our purposes, you are required to knock my socks off with your hai-larity. However, while I am all for “just” being funny, haiku works best for me when:

  • each of the poem’s three phrases presents a stand-alone image that, in context of the poem’s story, evokes what haiku poet Alexey Andreyev calls “certain bright moments of life”—quixotic, troubling, deeply tender, or simply a flash of time whose specificity caught your attention; and
  • the juxtaposition of images in the first and second phrases create friction that sets up a big-bang finish. The idea is to initiate a circular pattern, drawing reader back to the beginning of the poem.

If you can be funny while doing this, you can do anything.

I'm ot of yellowLet’s Talk 5-7-5

The 5-7-5 rhyme scheme is a big debate in the haiku universe. Do the constraints provide a certain freedom, or are they just constraints?  We at Frozen Fish Head will play Switzerland on the issue. Focus more on letting the writing prompt unfurl your funny flag. However, for the record:

Japanese haiku doesn’t count syllables. The three phrases are more like: short-ish, longer, short-ish. The syllable thing is an American construct. Brian P. Cleary’s classic, “Report Card” is the go-to example:

Four days of the year,
One tiny piece of paper
Turns my stomach sour.

Funny. Would it win? I think you could do better. Let’s examine a few more.

A few years back, an Austin writer-mama named Kari Anne Roy came out with her book, Haiku Mama. Check out this gem:

Red leaves on tree
 glitter
poop in the diaper.
It’s the holidays!

Boom. Each line here presents a single image; in the case of the second line, a striking and original one (if you go for that sort of thing). Without inserting herself into the poem, Roy conveys a mama-specific perspective. She even slips in a “season word,” the word that traditionally created a backdrop (often from nature) for the “haiku event.” (Contemporary haiku has moved toward an urban aesthetic; THANK GOD. Flying cranes: boo.)

Unfortunately, the majority of Roy’s work settles for what I am absolutely uninterested in: mere thoughts wrestled into the requisite five-seven-five:

Tennis ball in sock
sad yet apt description of
post-nursing boobies.

If a poet has but 17 syllables, “sad yet apt description of” wastes seven. Give me a second image to equal “Tennis ball in sock,” driving to “post-nursing boobies.” I want one of the same caliber as one Roy uses elsewhere, and smashingly so, to describe her tush: “Small, like fresh ham steak.”

So, do that, and you win. Good hunting.

Win This Contest: Be Funny for Me.

Dear God. Why could I not have written this? You are dead to me. Heart, Alle.
My God, you give this gem to another? You are dead to me. Heart, Alle.
  1. The best funny includes a sense of humor.*
  2. Funny can be Stephen Colbert; funny can be Breaking Bad. Haiku-funny is evocative, not vulgar. Funny can be the guy who stays up all night sharing posts from The Onion. Funny can be that episode from the first season of the new Battlestar, where they mock themselves—which obviously went over like one of the bombs that decimated Earth, because the meme never resurfaced as if it were a Cylon in the Goo-bath. Do I sound as if I am at a convention?
  3. Funny can be you.
  4. Look at what I want in haiku. Look at the previous winning haiku. Kerri Buckley walked the line between hilarious and something else, something of meaning.

Read the Rules.

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*The phrase “sense of humor” was coined by my funny-writing teacher, Brangien Davis, currently the Arts & Culture Editor at Seattle Magazine; also the founder of Swivel Magazine, a labor of love devoted to smart, funny writing by women.

Alle’s Big Mystery Pick for Hugo House’s Winter Classes: “Being Funny” with Michael Shilling.

Michael Shilling is an excellent teacher. He is committed, he is organized. He offers lots of engaging homework that if you don’t do, oh well. He just wants you to keep coming to class.

Shilling: Funny Guy

After taking his Screenwriting 101, here are my thoughts about his teaching:

  1. Michael has great taste in material; in this case, movies—except for Hot Tub Time Machine.
  2. Michael responds to feedback from his students. He did not make us watch Hot Tub Time Machine.
  3. Michael is outstanding at maintaining classroom balance. He is the best teacher I have ever had curbing the—how to say?—overenthusiastic participants such as (a-hem) while drawing out the more hesitant.
  4. Michael is funny. Funny funny funny. If anyone can teach you how to be funny, Michael can.

I am not laughing that, at this point in my life, I do not have the headspace for a multi-week class. I hope Hugo House will soon offer Michael teaching Writing Funny Screenplays.