The Hemingway Society received 38 haikus for its Hemingway Haiku Contest. Members of the Media Society selected the top six, and all six were read at the Holidays with Hemingway virtual event on December 17, 2021. Attendees voted for their favorites, selecting the three winning entries below.
The cafe beauty sometimes returns,
There is clean, new snow - and silence.
Wrecked planes can still fly.
Eamonn O’Neill writes, “I have been reading Hemingway since university in the late 1980s and am particularly fascinated by the influence Europe had on him, his private life, and his work. I began working as a journalist immediately after graduation, and have worked in print, broadcast, and online, specialising in investigations and long-form narrative writing for titles like Esquire and GQ. For the last 20 years, I have taught journalism in academia in the UK and beyond, and relish passing on my love of Hemingway to the next generation of journalists who I am fortunate enough to meet in class. I am now an Associate Professor in Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University, and live in a small town which is an international mountain-biking mecca, in the beautiful Scottish Borders.
“My haiku references the 'café beauty' Hemingway spies during the famous café scene in A Moveable Feast. For a moment or two she claims a special, permanent place in his heart and memory—then she vanishes. In my composition, I ponder whether she ever returned to him in the years that followed. The reference to 'wrecked planes' alludes to his two African crashes, and the whimsical notion that, like all older men, he hopes he can still hold his own in a tight corner.”
Broken Parisian skylight
No poet has claimed this poem. If this is your haiku, please contact the blog editor at firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can receive credit for your haiku and a prize for placing in the top three of the 38 haikus we received.
Fisher and hunter
Drinker, lover, and fighter
Above all, writer
Thad Smull writes, “I live in Des Moines, Iowa, and work at Drake University. Like many people, I knew of the Hemingway persona before I had read a word of his writing. His intrepid image appealed to me as a boy who longed for a life of action and adventure. When I did read his stories, they inspired me to travel the world, often in his footsteps. Along the way, as I read and reread his work, I began to understand that he and his writing were so much more than his hypermasculine archetype. I became so enamored at his genius that I chose to study literature and writing, and years later even made my son his namesake by giving him the middle name of Miller.
"I had given thought to, and took a shot at, writing what might be considered a deep and clever haiku that a true Hemingwayphile would appreciate, but after a few attempts I realized that the best way to encapsulate and honor Hemingway the man, as well as his style, would be to write an unadorned, declarative poem. As simplistic as the poem seems, it did require consideration of word order and rhyme to achieve the right rhythm and pace.”