July 7th, 2007

Egrets Reading

Tanabata

Tanabata is my favorite Japanese holiday.

It's the Star Festival - basically commemorating the story of two lovers, the celestial princess (Vega) and a cowherder (Altair). The princess fell in love with the cowherder and her father, the king, gave permission for them to marry. The problem was that they were so much in love that they didn't get their work done - the princess didn't do her weaving and the cowherder allowed the cows to stray all over heaven.

So, the king decided to separate them on opposite sides of the "River of Stars" (the Milky Way). The princess cried until her father agreed that on one day of the year, they could reunite for a tryst - on the 7th day of the 7th month. The problem was that they still needed to cross the river of stars. A group of magpies took pity on the lovers and agreed to make a bridge of their wings, but only if it doesn't rain. If it rains, the lovers have to wait until the next year for their tryst.

The holiday is celebrated by writing poems for the lovers and hanging them on bamboo with decorations such as different colored threads, paper shaped like cows and kimonos, etc. The next day, the bamboo and decorations are either set afloat on a river or burned.

My haiku group is helping out at the Tanabata celebration at the Japanese Garden at CSULB on Sunday. There is also a bento box dinner tomorrow night with Japanese flute, harp, and fan dancing at the Rancho Los Alamitos gardens, which a number of us are also attending.

Here's the link:
http://www.rancholosalamitos.com/events/2007%20Tanabata/tanabata.htm
Egrets Reading

SFPA Sonnet contest

The Science Fiction Poetry Association is having its second annual poetry contest. This year we're looking for sonnets - a sonnet on a speculative topic of your choice (science fiction, fantasy, horror, science, astronomy, surrealism, etc).

Contest entries are free - no more than three per person, and we are now open to entries.

Thanks to our sponsors and prize donors (Aberrant Dreams, Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Talisman, Dreams and Nightmares, Bruce Boston, Denise Dumars, and Kendall Evans), we have some great prizes this year, including:

1st Prize: $80, SFPA web site publication, and a year's membership (or extension) to the SFPA , and a copy of Aberrant Dreams I, The Awakening, and a set of MYTHIC anthologies, (MYTHIC and MYTHIC 2) signed.

2nd Prize: $40, SFPA web site publication, and a year's subscription to Tales of the Talisman, and a copy of Aberrant Dreams I, The Awakening.

3rd Prize: $20, SFPA web site publication, and a year's subscription to Dreams and Nightmares, and a copy of Aberrant Dreams I, The Awakening.

For more information:
http://www.sfpoetry.com/2007poetrycontest.html