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For the Autumn 2019 issue we are open for submissions in the Haiga Challenge feature:

Through the years at Haigaonline we have been choosing our issue themes largely from the saijiki and haiku topic lists. As editor I’ve been immensely pleased at the breadth and depth of thought that has gone into the submissions. At this point we’re going to change the approach slightly, and I’m curious to see how you’ll all respond, and if you find that it makes a difference in your working methods.

As you’re probably aware, I’m an Art teacher, which means that whenever I’m not online posting, responding and connecting with other haiku poets, I’m online posting and responding in a lively exchange of idea with my network of Art Education colleagues. One of the things we’re talking about these days is reorganizing the curriculum around themes rather than discreet projects, so that students learn to make personal connections and deepen their thinking. A favorite source for some of my colleagues is the writing of Ernest Boyer (1928-95), former Chancellor of the State University of New York, US Commissioner of Education, and President of the Carnegie Foundation. Acknowledging that we are each “nonuniform” individuals, Boyer had a list of “human commonalities”, shared experiences that define what it means to be human on this planet:

  1. Life Cycle: As humans, we each experience birth, growth, and death.
  2. Symbols: We each use some form of language to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
  3. Aesthetic response: Various art forms serve as a universal language.
  4. Sense of time and space: We each have a capacity recall the past and look to the future.
  5. Group membership: We each develop forms of social bonding.
  6. Production and Consumption: We each make a living in some way.
  7. Awareness of Nature: We are each connected to the ecology of the earth.
  8. Values and beliefs: We each, in own way, search for meaning and purpose.

Don't we need this kind of thinking in divisive times? Numbers 2, 3 and 7 should instantly feel relevant to us as writers and artists of haiku and haiga. My thoughts are to begin at the top and move through the list, asking for Challenge submissions to respond however that issue’s theme resonates within your haiga practice. Accordingly, the Challenge theme for the Autumn 2019 issue is Boyer’s first Human Commonality:

Life Cycles: We each experience birth, growth, and death.

Create a haiga that relates to the theme. Your text may be haiku, tanka, or any haiku-related short form. For the image, we'd love to have a wide range of traditional ink brush paintings, western style drawings or paintings, digital and iPad app art, and photographs.

Files should be in jpeg form, in a size no larger than 650 px wide or high, and 72 pixels/inch in resolution. Other sizes and resolutions may be reoptimized by the editor. Email your haiga to me at the following address with 'Life Cycle Challenge' as your subject heading.

The deadline is 31 July 2019.

paplinda [at] yahoo [dot] com