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Local News

Haiku festival multi-lingual, international

A woodcut image of a man leaning on a staff, conversing with two seated men.
Encyclopedia Britannica
19th century Japanese woodcut image of Matsuo Basho.

The Ukiah Civic Center on Sunday was packed for the annual haiku festival, which was an international, multi-lingual event this year. It’s National Poetry Month, and for the first time in the festival’s 22-year history, students of the Northern Pomo language contributed haiku in the local indigenous tongue. Poetry in Spanish has been a longtime feature. This time, former Ukiah poet Laureate Jabez Churchill read the winning entries in the original as well as in translation. There is a haiku contest leading up to the festival, which consists mainly of reading the winning poems to local poetry lovers.

Entries also came in from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and India, though none of the winners, who were featured in this year’s chapbook, were on hand to receive acknowledgement or read their work.

The Ukiah Haiku festival, as much a celebration of a local palindrome as poetry, is uniquely situated for poems in many languages. Armand Brint, the town’s first poet laureate, told the crowd that the local haiku is adapted from the original form, which was created in the 17th century by Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. But the bones of the form remain...

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.