2017 IBMA World of Bluegrass haiku

For some reason, some of my most popular columns have been on the subject of bluegrass haiku. It may be because of the close affinity between the Japanese and bluegrass music. So, in honor of the upcoming IBMA World of Bluegrass, and especially the reunion of legendary Japanese bluegrass band The Bluegrass 45 at this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass, I thought I should write some IBMA World of Bluegrass haiku.

To review, for those who may not have read my previous writing on the subject, or for those who were reading it while driving (i.e. a typical Nashville driver), let me summarize: the haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry, which in its traditional form contains 17 syllables divided into lines of five, seven, and five.

Its popularity is credited to two 17th century poets, Matsuo Basho and Ueshima “Hylo” Onitsura, who helped to develop and refine the haiku as a stand-alone poetry form.

Aside from its syllabic structure, the haiku also uses no punctuation or capitalization (like many high school seniors), and it traditionally contains a seasonal element or a reference to nature. I’m good with the lack of punctuation, but these IBMA WOB haiku may be a little light on the nature references, unless “barbecue” qualifies. One of the goals of the World of Bluegrass is to try to exist for five straight days as isolated from nature (and preferably from sunlight) as possible.

IBMA 2017 World of Bluegrass Haiku:

Marriott lobby
banjos in two different keys
there’s always Starbucks

I swear I know you
still need to see your lanyard
you flipped yours around

a great seminar
honestly I missed it all
up till 5:00 again

the keynote address
always gives us food for thought
barbecue parfait

in the showcase suite
sponsored by a festival
that never books us

I love the trade show
I’ll just be a few minutes
see you in five hours

you’re looking away
seeking someone more famous
and you’re my father

you look familiar
but I just can’t place the face
oh you’re in my band

Always a highlight
The IBMA Awards
producers AWOL

the songwriter’s track
which came first words or music?
just cut it will you?

a wardrobe quandary
what’s best for the red carpet
tux or pajamas?

was heading to bed
but friends were in the stairwell
singing Uncle Pen

haven’t slept in days
now I have a nasty cough
let me shake your hand