A Bilingual 'Haiku Duel' Is Coming To 2 Cities In April, And It Promises To Be The Poetry Event Of The Year

If you're looking for something to do this April for National Poetry Month, you should check out Haiku Duel, a slam poetry event that has dates on both coasts in 2018. Thrown by the Haiku Guys + Gals, this poetry party — and afterparty, F.Y.I. — hits New York City on Apr. 6 and Los Angeles on Apr. 26, and you can sign up either to participate or to watch. The winner of each event takes home a $500 cash prize, though, so you might want to brush up on your syllable counting and throw your hat in the ring.

The Haiku Guys + Gals are an artistic collective, spread across both coasts, that writes free haiku for the people who pass them by. They'll even write one for you right now. They're also available for parties, weddings, and other events, where they will set up their typewriters and get to work, making sure that every attendee leaves with "a custom gift." They also make haiga, which are haiku with accompanying illustrations. Oh, and they hold online Haiku Feuds each week, in which 100 competitors vie for a $100 prize.

Courtesy of the Haiku Guys + Gals

Here's how it works. Sixteen competitors go head to head, crafting 17-syllable poems based on topic suggestions from the audience. When there's only one contestant left standing — which will probably only come after hours of entertainment — that poet will be crowned the winner and the festivities will move on to the afterparty at another, currently undisclosed, location.

Poets won't just be competing in English, however. These Haiku Duel events are bilingual, so you can expect to hear poems written in Spanish as well, or maybe even ones that blend the two languages together. The Haiku Duel website describes the event as being "like a slam poetry, comedy show, dance party + after-hours club. With a huge cash prize."

Courtesy of the Haiku Guys + Gals
Courtesy of the Haiku Guys + Gals

Best of all, these events are super affordable. Audience members, A.K.A. "Innocent Bystanders," only have to pay $15 to get in the door. Haiku Duelers each pay $25, which covers the cost of one drink. For $35, you can become a "VIP Baby," which includes two drinks, a custom haiku written for you, and "a very special gift bag." There are a limited number of Haiku Dueler and VIP Baby tickets available, so jump on them now, because the Haiku Guys + Gals say these events sell out quickly.

Courtesy of the Haiku Guys + Gals

Haiku Duel: NYC will take place on Apr. 6 at the Arlo Hotel SoHo. Haiku Duel: L.A. hits Highland Park's York Manor on Apr. 26. Doors for both events open at 7 P.M. local time, with duels kicking off at 8 P.M. The NYC and L.A. afterparties are scheduled to start at 11:30 P.M local time.

The Haiku Guys and Gals on YouTube

If you want to brush up on your poetry skills before attending Haiku Duel, Bustle has some excellent reading recommendations for you. Check out Haiku Guys + Gals co-founder Lisa Ann Markuson's haiku for U.S. senators here. E. Ce Miller has written an excellent roundup of 2017's best poetry collections, and seven of the 12 highly anticipated 2018 poetry collections listed here will be available before Haiku Duel: NYC. And, obviously, you should check out the book 102 Haiku, a journal crafted by the Haiku Guys + Gals themselves.

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