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Utah haikus inspired by Jell-O

Poetry » Don’t take our state snack too seriously.

By Kathy Stephenson

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Nov 26 2013 07:58 am • Last Updated Nov 29 2013 12:56 pm

Utahns have always made room for Jell-O on the Thanksgiving table, right next to the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

But this year, molded gelatin also became the conduit for expressing the wobbly woes of our state and nation.

At a glance

The Jell-O Judges

Six members of the Utah State Poetry Society and two Salt Lake Tribune staffers judged this year’s Jell-O haiku submissions. They pored over the gelatinous gems, looking for proper style and originality. Judges include society members Vera Bakker, D. Gary Christian, Barbara Funk, Kolette Montague, Eric Reed and Jon Sebba; and Salt Lake Tribune reporters Cathy Reese Newton and Kathy Stephenson. For more information about the Utah Poetry Society or to join a chapter, visit utahpoets.com.

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Adults who entered the The Salt Lake Tribune’s 2013 Jell-O Haiku Contest used these three-line poems to poke fun at recent events. Their timely subjects included Utah Boy Scout leaders knocking over a Southern Utah rock formation, the Affordable Care Act and our general disdain for Congress after the recent federal government shutdown.

In all, nearly 400 amateur poets entered our seventh annual contest. More than half the entries — 250 — came from students in seventh through 12 grade, no doubt an English assignment for which we thank their teachers.

Of course, the best way to handle so many gelatinous gems was to bring in experts from the Utah State Poetry Society who judged the poems for proper style and creativity.

Here are the first-, second- and third-place winners in the adult and two student categories, as well as 13 honorable mentions to enjoy with your pumpkin pie.



To recall our loss,

story continues below
story continues below

Let’s mold our Jell-O salads

into Goblin forms.


Utah loves Jell-O,

it is like our seismic faults,

constantly shaking.


Weak-kneed and slimy

Soft as a congressman’s spine

What’s hidden inside?


(Grades 7-12)


Not quite a solid

And yet neither a liquid...

Cherished mystery.


Jell-O: illusion

of a strong stability

Have you been deceived?


So much depends on

Jell-O, quivering in a

corner, all alone.


(Grades K-6)


When comes a rainbow.

Some think of "Love!", "Peace!" or "Life!"

Others think, "Jell-O!"


Crazy summer treat

Mountain shaped Jell-O so sweet

Liquid to solid.


Eat it says The Cos.

There’s many shapes and sizes.

Peach, Lime ... Veggie too?



No loaves and fishes —

Jell-O feeds the multitude

in Salt Lake City.

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