QUEENS — A local nonprofit is asking residents to unleash their inner poets and in turn may publish their pieces in a free book.
The Rego Park Green Alliance Studio, a group promoting community-oriented initiatives, wants locals to use their talent and imagination to write haikus, short Japanese poems consisting of 17 syllables — five in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third one.
“We want people to be inspired and write a haiku,” said Yvonne Shortt, executive director of the group. “And then it potentially could be chosen for our book on haikus.”
Shortt said the idea came to her during a series of haiku workshops she held for seniors at the Self Help Center in Forest Hills.
“They came up with some beautiful haikus,” she said. “And I thought it would be great to get the community to write some haikus as well, and then we could have that kind of intergenerational sharing of some beautiful pieces.”
Participants can write about anything that inspires them, she said.
Shortt said she has already received around 30 submissions which pursue a wide range of topics, "from the recent snow storm and nature to beautiful life lessons.”
Anyone can participate, but out of about 70 poems that will be chosen for the book, at least 50 percent will be written by authors who live in the 29th City Council District, which includes Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and a portion of Richmond Hill, organizers said.
“It’s just a beautiful way to be inspired and share something you’ve learned with the community,” Shortt said.
Authors whose poems will be selected for publication will receive a free copy of the book. The volume will be also distributed free of charge during various events organized by the group throughout the district.
Students from Forest Hills schools will help illustrate the book, but other people interested in drawing artwork for the project should also reach out to the organizers.
The deadline to submit haikus is March 31. Those interested in participating should email their pieces to email@example.com.