How 2006 Went from Bad to Verse

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By: Anna Crane

One Kentucky paper found a unique way to let readers toast or roast the year’s news by taking part in its annual Holiday Haiku Fest. More than 100 of the top entries were printed in the Louisivlle Courier-Journal’s Christmas Eve edition, with its Web site posting many more. The paper also invited entrants to submit videos in which they recited or performed their haikus. Public Editor Pam Platt, the Haiku Fest’s coordinator and founder, says, “This is like my Christmas present to the readers.”

This year’s entries tackled topics ranging from the death of economist Milton Friedman to the University of Louisville football team making it to a bowl game. Platt started the Holiday Haiku Fest three years ago when she came to the paper from Florida Today in Melbourne. There, she had overseen a collection of readers’ haikus about the Mir Space Station. “You have to fight for every syllable in a haiku,” she observes. “I don’t want to necessarily equate it to headline writing, but you have to take dense or complicated material and reduce it to get its essence.”

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