Head-To-Head Haiku is a fun twist on the popular poetry-slam format. In Head-To-Head Haiku, a “Gyoji” or slam master presents two poets – aka Haikusters – head to head, each poet alternately performing a haiku (a short, 17-syllable poem).
Judges chosen from the audience, using colored flags, vote for the winner of each pairing. The winner moves on to the next round of the competition. The last two poets standing face off for the final “death match” – a round of best of 17 haiku. The first poet to garner nine points is crowned the winner.
The number of contestants for a Head-To-Head Haiku is limited (in this case to eight poets) and the rounds move quickly. With the only limit on poems being the number of syllables, anything goes, and the haiku are likely to range from calm to manic, and from bucolic to bawdy.
For this WXW Head-To-Head Haiku, Melissa Quirk, Berkshire poet and co-organizer of the Slam-I-Am poetry slam in North Adams, Mass., will serve as Gyoji.
Poets interested in competing should visit WordXWord Festival for more information and should sign up online to reserve one of the limited slots.
Admission is free and open to the public. Recommended for mature audiences.