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Head-To-Head Haiku

Head-To-Head Haiku is a fun, good humored, twist on the Poetry Slam format. In H-T-H, poets come armed with a collection of Haikus – poems having 17 syllables, no titles, no props – and are matched up in pairs for friendly, head-to-head competition. Strategy, delivery, quick wits as well as clever writing all come into play. Only 8 slots available. Register Online to compete!

August 1, 7:30P
Head-To-Head Haiku

Dottie’s, 444 North Street, Pittsfield

How H-T-H Works

Poets – aka Haikusters – come armed with at least 25 Haikus. It is advisable to have 2 - 3 times that many, organized in such a fashion that you can find just the right poem, at just the right time in the competition.

In this case, Haiku is defined simply as a poem having a maximum of 17 syllables. No titles, no props and new explanatory introduction or comments.

3 judges selected from the audience, are equipped with red and non-red flags.

Haikusters are matched up in pairs for head-to-head competition. Unlike a conventional slam, in H-T-H you have a direct competitor in every round. With multiple haikus per round, on-the-fly strategy, paring and counter paring and thinking on your feet all come into play!

Structure of the Head-To-Head

First Round

Matched up by luck of the draw, each pair enters a head-to-head, best 3 out of 5 match. One poet is designated as “red” and one as “non-red.”

Each poet reads one poem and – after a momentary pause for contemplation – the judges raise either a red or non-red flag to indicate their vote. The “Gyoji” (aka slam master or host) issues a point to the winner of the round. Then each poet reads their second poem. Judges vote, point is awarded. The back and forth continues - alternating as to which poet goes first - until one poet has won 3 points and a match winner is declared.

The winners of Round 1 pairings move on to next round.

Repeat for all 4 first round matches.

Second Round

The winners of the first round pairings are paired up by luck of the draw for Round 2.
Second round proceeds as the first with the exception that it is “best 4 out of 7.” First poet to 4 wins.

Second round results in two finalists.

Third/Final Round

Final round is 7 out of 13. First poet to 7 wins!


Only 8 slots available. Register Online to compete!

Rules and structure are subject to change. The Gyoji is the arbiter of all disputes and their decision is final. The Head-To-Head Haiku is intended to be fun, friendly competition - we don't take ourselves too seriously.

Subject To Change