Young poets, we have heard you. We discontinued KidsPost’s annual poetry contest four years ago, and yet your hope springs eternal. (Yes, those last words were from a poem.) What we mean is that you continue to send us your quaterns, sonnets and blank verse just in case we change our minds.
The truth is, we have missed your poems. So we have changed our minds. Sort of. The idea of the original contest was to celebrate National Poetry Month, which is April. But this year’s contest will also celebrate another April tradition: Squirrel Week. It’s a tradition started nine years ago by John Kelly, a Washington Post columnist who also was the original editor of KidsPost. He likes squirrels. A lot. So he writes about all things squirrel in his column for an entire week in April.
So KidsPost and Kelly are joining forces this year for a Squirrel Haiku Contest. That means poem submissions must take the form of a haiku — three lines with syllables in a five-seven-five pattern. And they must be connected in some way to squirrels. They also must be original, meaning created by you (not found online, in a book or elsewhere). Kelly is going to help judge the entries, which will be published in KidsPost during Squirrel Week.
A few more rules:
●The contest is open to kids ages 5 to 14 who live in the United States. Each child may submit only one poem. Poems can be illustrated, but that is not required.
● A love of squirrels is not required. Entries will be judged on creativity and form.
● Each haiku should have a title.
● You need to have an adult (a parent, guardian or teacher) send us your entry. On each entry, the adult should include your name, age and hometown as well as the name, email and phone number of the adult submitting the entry. A note from the adult giving permission for you to enter the contest is also required. A teacher can give permission for an entire class if parental permission has been obtained.
● The adult should fill out our online form, which can be found at wapo.st/kidspostsquirrelhaiku. Entries can also be sent to KidsPost Squirrel Haiku Contest, The Washington Post, 1301 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
The deadline for us to receive entries is April 1.
If your poem is published, you will receive a prize package that includes a KidsPost T-shirt and pencil, a squirrel novelty or game and a selection of poetry books. Winners will be notified before publication.
If you have any questions about the haiku contest, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.