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Local art groups to hold poetry contests

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HOLIDAY — While April is more than a month away, it’s never too early to touch base with your inner muse and write some poetry.

The Pasco Arts Council, known for its yearly Jacaranda Poetry Contest, has decided to mix things up for April’s National Poetry Month this year. Instead of a contest encompassing various types of poetry, the council is asking for submissions of short, Japanese haiku poems, along with a piece of artwork to represent it.

Haiku, in its original form, has themes of nature and natural things in the universe. The poem consists of three lines with a specific number of syllables to each line — five syllables for the first line, seven syllables for the second and five syllables for the third.

Basho Matsuo, known as the first great poet of haiku, wrote this in the 1600s:

An old silent pond...

A frog jumps into the pond,

splash! Silence again.

The council gives a few tips for brainstorming an original haiku// in a press release: “Brainstorm words that are about nature, the earth, etc. For example: rain, clouds, soft breezes.”

Pasco Arts Council Director Laura Knox recommends partnering with a friend if you can write, but not create an accompanying art piece, or vice versa.

“We had a haiku event five years ago and had a lot of fun with it,” Knox said. “We decided to revisit it because entries are starting to dwindle on poetry. We went from 150 submissions yearly to 100 and last year about 50. When that happens, it tells you need to mix things up a bit and re-generate.”

Haikus can be written or typed. The gallery will re-type them for consistency regardless. Two-dimensional work must have a dry surface, be framed, gallery-wrapped or otherwise presented for viewing, and include a secure hanging system such as wire hangers.

The April contest and exhibit, “Expressions,” will be open to the public for voting for the People’s Choice Award. The council will present both a certificate and modest cash award to the winner.

This show is open to nonmembers of Pasco Arts Council for $20 per entry; members may enter one entry free of charge and $10 for each entry thereafter.

Entries are accepted during regular operating hours beginning March 25 through March 29. The show will be open for public viewing April 1 - 30 at its headquarters, The Arts Center, 5744 Moog Road, Holiday. Admission is free. For more information call (727) 845-7322.

The Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery will have a poetry contest and exhibit in April. First, Second and Third place will be chosen by yet-to-be-announced judges, and possibly Honorable Mentions, as well Cash prizes and gallery memberships will be awarded and all winners will receive a signed certificate and their winning poems will be published on the gallery’s website.

The First Place winning poem will be framed and placed on the gallery’s Poet’s Wall.

The entry fee is $3 per poem, or two poems for $5 and there is no limit on the number of entries you can submit. Poems can be any style but must not exceed 40 lines in length.

Poems must be typewritten, one to a page and the title of the poem must appear at the top of the entry. Your name should not go on the poem, but on the entry form, which you can get online at www.nprgallery.com. Each poem requires a separate entry form.

Entries must be received by Friday, April 11 and an awards ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. Send entries and check, or submit in person, to the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery. Call the gallery at (727) 848-6500 for more information.

You can reach Daylina at dmiller@suncoastnews.com or (727) 815-1067. Follow her on Twitter @DaylinaMiller

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