I promised to provide the sordid details of the haiku party last weekend, and here they are.
First, we were told in advance what the season words were: "nightengale" and "spring snow." Each participant had to write a couple of haiku with these themes before the party, and also bring a small present.
I had to work late, so I missed the first hour or so and can only surmise that everyone had a good time. In any case, they seemed happy. Apparently, everyone also turned in their haiku to the man running the show, and each haiku was transcribed onto its own sheet of paper with no name or other identifying features. These pages were taped to the glass patio doors.
This is where I walked in. It was too late for me to participate, so I grabbed some sushi and tea and watched.
Each person got a piece of paper with places on it for first, second, and third place, and funniest and second funniest. The leader of the party read each haiku two times. Everyone marked their votes for their choices for each place. When the reading was finished, the leader went down the haiku one-by-one and anyone who voted for a particular haiku called out what place they gave it. At the end, they counted the score and awarded places. The small presents were prizes, and since there were twice as many prizes as places, they also chose half-a-dozen honorable mentions.
After all that was finished, everyone wanted to see what I had written. I should have claimed I didn't have time to write anything, but stupidly I brought out the two haiku I'd attempted. I got the "Hmmmmmmmm ... OooooKaaaaaay ..." prize.
The leader of the group then gave a brief talk he had prepared about how to improve our haiku, discussed a couple of haiku other people had written, and then we all adjourned to the dining room and had some wonderful strawberries and conversation.