Poets must apply by Feb. 10 to compete in Haiku Death Match
Heights Arts seeks contestants for its annual Haiku Death Match, the fun and irreverent event in which a Haiku Master is chosen by the audience. The event will take place this year on Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m., at Dobama Theatre.
Poets who wish to compete and can firmly commit to the April 8 date must contact Heights Arts by Feb. 10 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contestants will be accepted in order of application, and the eight chosen will later meet to review the rules and the structure of the event.
The number of competing poets is limited to eight this year, so that each may have more time to hurl syllable-sharp weapons, and so that the audience will have more performance evidence with which to measure the skill of each contestant.
Another new feature of this year’s match requires poets to perform haiku in six specific-topic rounds, accumulating audience-awarded points as they go. Topics are: Personal Relationships, Politics, Animals in our Life, The Daily Grind, All Things Cleveland and a final elimination round of classic nature haiku.
Heights Arts Executive Director Rachel Bernstein said, “The Haiku Death Match has always been a lot of fun—for the audience and the poets who participate, and for lots of people who might not be big poetry fans. Really, it’s poetry, comedy, theater, a talent show, and kind of a jousting match all rolled into one. We think the new format for this year’s competition will up the game for the poets, to be sure, but it will also challenge the audience to be discerning judges of the best, the funniest, and the most outrageous feats of poetry performed by the contestants.”
The Haiku Death Match raises funds that help support Heights Arts literary endeavors, including the CH Poet Laureate (the oldest office of laureate in Ohio) and the popular and innovative Ekphrastacy program, wherein poets compose new works inspired by Heights Arts exhibitions.
Tickets for the April 8 Death Match are $15; $10 for Heights Arts members, and will be available starting in mid-February at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road (216-371-3457, www.heightsarts.org).
Kathleen Cerveny was the 2013–14 CH poet laureate. She recently retired from the Cleveland Foundation, where she was director of arts initiatives for 25 years. She lives in the “Royal Heights” neighborhood of Cleveland Heights and is chair of Heights Arts' Heights Writes Committee.