Erinn Batykefer, MLIS

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Share Haiku at the library: Kukai poetry program

Sari Grandstaff’s Haiku Library on Pinterest / Library as Incubator Project. Click above to see the board.

I just met Sari Grandstaff, a wonderful school librarian from New York state.  With her keen expertise on all things Haiku, I blogged about National Haiku Poetry day for the Library as Incubator Project, and also had a brainstorm for a quick programming idea that would work for just about any age group (but might be especially fun for Tweens and Teens).

Here’s a summary:

Writing and sharing haiku is a social activity in Japan.  A kukai happens when a group gets together to share haiku in a friendly competition.  Everyone in the group takes some time to write haiku, and then all of the poems are read anonymously by a facilitator.  Everyone gets to vote on the haiku they liked best and say why they chose it.  The winning haiku is then read aloud by its author.

This process can be repeated over the course of a single session, or over multiple sessions if you have a dedicated group.  Pretty simple, right?

I think a program like this has potential for all age groups.  I know there are lots of adults who write poetry and haiku seriously; if you have a group of avid writers at your library, you might consider a kukai for adults or an all-ages program during National Poetry Month to assess interest and then go from there.

Ultimately, I think the social / sharing aspect would be especially fun for tweens and teens interested in Japan and Japanese culture.  A lot of teens get hooked on manga and like to explore other Japanese art forms, too.  Who knows? If you get a particularly excited group for a kukai, you might be able to expand it into an on-going contest, with winning haiku displayed in the Teen area and Japanese snacks at meetings.

For more information, check out my original blog:  National Haiku Poetry Day | Library as Incubator Project.

And don’t forget to check out Sari Grandstaff’s Haiku Library on Pinterest (image above)– it includes a ton of great websites and books for kids and teens/adults interested in haiku, and is a great resource for collection development or for creating a tie-in display for a Kukai Program at your library.


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This entry was posted on April 16, 2012 by in Program Ideas and tagged , , , , , , .
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