Monday, June 14, 2021

Hexapod Haiku Contest, 2021 - Frost Entomological Museum

Honoured to have the following work chosen for the Haiku Laureate Award (category: ages 18 and older) in the 2021 Hexapod Haiku Contest:

outdoor wedding
an unexpected flurry
of cabbage whites

Judges' Comments:

Everyone knows wedding planning has its stresses. When a couple decides on an outdoor wedding they are taking a chance; an outdoor wedding has the added stress of weather. And yet for some couples it is worth taking the risk of having a rainy or windy wedding day, in order to tie the knot in the great outdoors. In Debbie Strange's haiku, the setting is clearly outlined in the first line. However, the particulars are carefully omitted. Is it in a park, a person's backyard, a formal garden, or a field? Cabbage whites, the insect in this haiku, are considered hexapod generalists. They have adapted to survive in many different habitats, so in this regard the author further allows the reader to imagine their own version of an outdoor wedding. Debbie Strange uses a technique created by Master Matsuo Basho called sokkyo, or spontaneity, when using the word "flurry." In the course of a wedding ceremony there is typically a great flurry of emotion when either of the nearlyweds enter the scene. However, the author pivots to the cabbage whites who are having their own flurry of activity. Perhaps a trailing dress or footsteps stirred up the butterflies, or the butterflies may have been attuning to something else. There is room to wonder. Debbie Strange adeptly taps into the excitement one feels at a wedding without any direct reference to emotion or the wedding party. Although scientists bristle at the idea of appreciating an invasive species such as the cabbage white butterfly, the author of this haiku finds a way to express beauty through the butterfly's presence in the world. And you wouldn't want a white butterfly at one's outdoor wedding? It is good luck, we hear, and it has even become a wedding business — called butterfly release.

—Anne Burgevin and Dr. Kadeem Gilbert

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