Friday, 16 March 2007

CBC Radio Haiku Contest

Hey, kids--it's a Conrad Black haiku contest, courtesy of CBC Radio One (91.5)! Now's your chance to let Canada know your thoughts on the nation's trial of the century. Details can be found in the Friday, March 16 transcript (below) of As It Happens, which is running the contest. Thanks to Andrew for the tip!

The joy of haiku --
Dispense poetic justice
Through this ancient form.

What I just read was itself a haiku. And while you may detect the delicate sensibility of haiku master Masaoka Shiki in its lyricism, you're wrong: I gave some guy in the CBC food court half a muffin to write it for me.

But I can't afford to keep doing that. So, instead, we're asking you, our listeners, to give us your seventeen syllables on a story that has already inspired a number of books, and a larger number of lawsuits: the story of Conrad Black.

As you know, the trial of Lord Black of Crossharbour commenced this week in Chicago. And while tales of the jury selection revealed that residents of the Windy City seem poorly acquainted with the windy Canadian, we know things are different elsewhere. So we'd like to hear your opinions of the proceedings.

We're asking you to send us haikus on the subject of Lord Black, his exploits, and his current legal travails. We're going to be strict: the haiku should consist of seventeen syllables. And it should consist of three lines -- with five syllables in the first, seven in the second, and five in the third. And, ideally, it should consist of two sections.

This may seem unfair, given that Lord Black himself has been known to pack seventeen syllables into the first two words of a sentence. But it can be done. Here are some examples.

George Jamieson, longtime senior producer of "As It Happens", offers this scene-setting haiku:

Reporters crowd in
When the motorcade arrives:
Conrad Black on trial.

And this, also from the mind of Mr. Jamieson:

Barbara Amiel
Sitting in the second row --
Hoping to stay rich.

And, from another guy in the food court, this cinematically evocative example:

"Citizen Conrad":
The snow globe slips from his hand,
As he breathes, "Radler..."

That one cost me half a date square.

Now: clear your minds. Pick up your quills. Inscribe your haiku on a scrap of birch bark, or a dried maple leaf. And once you've written your miniature masterpiece, transcribe it into an e-mail and send it to Or read it aloud to Talkback, which you can reach by dialing 416-205-3331. We'll feature the best of the bunch in coming programs. And we'll also feature the worst.

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