RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
It's National Poetry Month. And to celebrate, we're going now to Florida's Miami Dade County.
MIRTA OLIVA: The haiku challenge was a chance for those who dream of writing in verse.
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And remember, Haiku is a deceptively simple form of poetry. You just put five syllables on the first line, seven syllables on the second line, five syllables on the third, you're done.
MONTAGNE: Organizers have invited the audience of the Miami Herald and NPR member station WLRN to submit haikus inspired by headlines. Here's one by Miami's Michelle Lopez.
MICHELLE LOPEZ: Truth torpedo launched. See Sheen's winning melt-down tour. Tiger blood required.
INSKEEP: The festival's founder is Scott Cunningham.
SCOTT CUNNINGHAM: It's very tempting as a teacher to delve into finger waving with poetry. And I think sometimes we lose the idea that it's supposed to be pleasurable.
MONTAGNE: In addition to the haiku contest, judges are including poetry readings in their court proceedings.
INSKEEP: An artist is sewing poems into clothing for sale on thrift store racks.
MONTAGNE: And some celebrities will be doing readings, including former poet laureate, W.S. Merwin, and celebrity polymath, James Franco. The winning haiku writer gets tickets to see Franco read.
INSKEEP: And here's another haiku contender, a political piece from Phil Harley of Cutler Bay.
PHIL HARLEY: The governor's pen, far mightier than a sword, cuts fat, flesh, blood, bone.
MONTAGNE: Now here's Mercedes Eleine Gonzalez(ph).
MERCEDES ELEINE GONZALEZ: (Spanish spoken)
MONTAGNE: That's translates roughly to: Pablo Milanes makes a new confession: Now, Liberation. Milanes is a Cuban singer who recently shook-up Miami with his comments criticizing the Castros.
INSKEEP: The haikus we've heard were all written by Floridians, but the contest is open to everyone. So can consider this a challenge. And if you need some tips, here's festival organizer Scott Cunningham.
CUNNINGHAM: My advice would be to keep it light-hearted, and concentrate on the cleverness of it. And yeah - and then something that has a little bit of heart to it.
MONTAGNE: The link to submit to the Miami Herald's haiku contest is at npr.org.
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INSKEEP: And Renee, I understand you've got a haiku there.
MONTAGNE: I do, indeed. And thank you for writing it.
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MONTAGNE: This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.
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