Duncan man takes top poetry honour

coastal fog —

the way mountains flow

into the mountains

— Devin Harrison

This small poem has netted a Cowichan Valley man a big honour.

Duncan’s Devin Harrison has written poetry all his life, and often enters his work in various competitions he hears about through an online network of poetry enthusiasts and organizations he’s connected with through the decades.

“I get the buzz,” he said.

Four months ago he put in his submission for the prestigious Japan-Russia International Haiku Contest, now in its third year, sponsored by the Akita International Haiku Network.

As the name suggests, entries may be in Japanese, Russian or English.

Harrison had forgotten about his submission when he got a notification this month that he had not only placed in the competition, but won over hundreds of other entries.

“It sort of came out of the blue, all these months later,” he said.

Harrison, who has a degree in Japanese studies, started writing tanka (five-line verse) first, then about two years ago he turned his talents to the even shorter form of haiku.

“It’s a much subtler form, than I think most people realize,” he said.

“For one thing, very few people are writing it five-seven-five anymore; it hasn’t been used for decades expect in the schools,” he said referring to the traditional haiku form of three metrical phrases written on three lines with five, seven and five syllables respectively.

“Currently the majority of haiku are written in 11 short syllables in a three-five-three format,” concurs the AIHN website.

“True haiku is an observation of nature, right, but they also have other forms that are haiku-like that might have some sort of human overtone in it,” Harrison explained. “Where you actually put yourself in the poem.”

“I write in all these several forms, but I realized for this contest I should make it as ‘haiku-like’ as possible,” he said.

His strategy paid off.

But winning contests isn’t why Harrison writes poetry, including haiku.

“Poetry has sort of an essence to it, good poetry does,” he said. “There’s something significant in the centre of it. Sort of like a little ball of light that you get together and get a sense of. If it works. If the poetry works.

“Haiku takes that to the utmost degree,” Harrison said.

His prize for the win will be bragging rights, a certificate and a small Japanese artifact.

There is an award ceremony in Japan on Oct. 25, but the competition only offers airfare from a major Japanese airport to the event, not travel costs all the way from Canada, so Harrison will wait to get his prize in the post.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Lake Cowichan Minor baseball strikes back after presentation calling for ballpark changes

Lake Cowichan Minor Baseball says there is no call for thousands in renovations

Are you a Shawnigan Lake senior looking for things to do? Call YSAG and join the fun

The Young Seniors Action Group offer something for everyone so check them out and see for yourself

Strong home showing for Shawnigan rowers

Next up for local rowing teams is national championship

Shawnigan Lake senior walks for family members with MS

There’s no slowing down 72-year-old William McQueen.

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Most Read