Best Poetry Book (2011)

Hialeah Haikus

Short is not always a shortcut. In fact, it takes real balls to write something as abridged as a haiku. After all, three lines and 17 syllables leave few places to hide. It's strange, then, that the Japanese used the potent form to wax poetic about spring's first cherry blossom. The nuggets seem so loaded for satire. Consider Hialeah Haikus, the amusing and insightful poetry collection by local author collective Foryoucansee. Instead of evoking nightingales and harvest moons, these haikus parody Miami bros, Miami hos, and disapproving abuelas. The collection is now in its second printing after selling 300 copies in its first month of publication and 1,000 soon thereafter. It all started when the authors — a merry band of Miami artists, writers, and actors in their 20s and 30s — began sending each other haiku text messages. The playful exchange led to not only an ingenious book but also live readings where the authors, faces painted as if by a poor man's Romero Britto, recite their five-seven-five verse. "I hate Abuela./Why she gotta call my girl,/'La Tira-flecha'" or "Cool Water and gel —/We roll like 20 heads deep./Belen spring formal."


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