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HaikuNow! 2010 Winners

The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the HaikuNow! International Haiku Contest 2010.

1st Prize (Traditional)

war memorial
the shine on a bronze soldier
from so many hands

        Cherie Hunter Day


1st Prize (Contemporary)

distant thunder
the future
in my bones

        Lorin Ford


1st Prize (Innovative)

what we say             what we do
pear blossom          in winter

        Olga Dugan


The judges for our first contest were Billy Collins (Traditional) and Jim Kacian (Contemporary and Innovative). In addition to the 1st place winners, who each received $100, the judges also chose 4 runners-up ($25 each), as well as other noteworthy poems.

To see all of their selections and read their commentary, go to the new page that’s been created for HaikuNow! 2010 (and be sure to click on the PDF to see the other noteworthy poems).

Our judges have made their decisions. Now you be the judge. What do you make of the judges’ selections? What can you add to their comments on them? Of all the haiku selected for each category, which strike you the most, and why?

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Great haiku, indeed!
    Could someone direct me how to view
    the other noteworthy haiku?
    Could you send me the link?
    Many thanks

  2. Lorin, we just had a thunderstorm roll through…and I can tell you first hand, you nailed it! I felt it in every bone! Thanks.

  3. It’s as fresh as the day you wrote it and this shows how being specific, without being overly specific, can achieve this end. It’s a very illustrative haiku in many ways. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Jack,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments. I wrote the haiku several years ago about our family trip to Washington DC. It’s the only haiku I wrote on the subject and I put it in my card box not even aware that it was 5-7-5. I’m glad I could share this experience with you through haiku.


  5. On further consideration, there is something welcoming and public about Cherie Hunter Day’s haiku and I think this involves us as readers and joins us with all those others who couldn’t keep from touching the bronze soldier depicted in the war memorial.
    It is not a museum piece, distant and canonized and forbidden to be touched. The memorial, and the poem itself, are offered in the public arena to bear the expressions of all of us; the memorial and its corollary, the poem, are vulnerable to all the elements, and this makes them all the more touching.
    P.S. I meant above to say “not her subject,” not “now her subject.”

  6. I’d also like to add that perhaps Ms. Day’s choice of writing her haiku in the traditional mode is most fitting for the subject. War is a messy, horrendous affair, and yet adherence to norms, to protocal, to rules, is something that manages it for us. The armed services are particularly bound to tradition and formal rules and I can’t imagine a poem on the subject of a war memorial breaking from tradition without somehow tarnishing the memory of the war dead. It would be a different matter if Ms. Day was discussing war itself; but that is now her subject.

  7. I’d like to single out Cherie Hunter Day’s haiku for praise, especially because it was written in the traditional haiku form of 5-7-5 syllables. Since this is a form that is rarely adhered to these days, I feel the quality of the poem deserves some praise and merit.
    It is a poignant poem: it reaches into our innermost feelings of loss and sorrow for those who died in the defense of our country. I particularly like the fact that Ms. Day did not see it as necessary to specify which war memorial she was alluding to, since a monument to the war dead affects us regardless of the conflict memorialized in the monument.
    There is not a single syllable added or missing in this poem: it reads flawlessly and so much so that had it not appeared in the category of “traditional” haiku, I never would have thought to count the syllables-that’s how precise the poem is in form.
    And, the pain expressed in the poem is expressed concretely by the many hands that have touched the monument: almost everyone feels the inability to let go of those lost. And, because of the universality of this feeling of loss, the poem goes beyond its particular reference point and leads the reader emotionally to all their memories and sympathies for those who died and the sorrow of the survivors.
    I especially like the “shine on a bronze soldier,” because this lightens the feeling of loss; it epitomizes how we overcome grief by our shared sense of loss and shared sense of respect for the departed. It makes of the lost soldiers a beacon that we in our fear of the darkness create through love.
    Fine, fine work Cherie Hunter Day.

  8. Yes, I was delighted with Olga’s poem too…it was remininiscent of Ashbery. But a lot easier to follow!

  9. These are wonderful. Tom Clausen has given me a gift with his haiku…a duck mind….That’s a thought I could live in for awhile given the state of this old world. Many thanks for this contest. I can just imagine all the one’s we didn’t see too.

  10. I’d like to add that I’m delighted to see that Olga’s winning poem makes excellent use of John Carley’s innovative ‘zip form’.

    Having had the pleasure of John as sabaki in renku, I know he’ll be chuffed, too, that the ‘zip’ form has gained acceptance within the haiku community to this extent.

  11. Many thanks for all of your kind congratulations. Thank you, too, Aubrie, for your succinct comment on my ku.

    Still picking myself up off the floor!

    I’ve read and re-read all of the wonderful haiku, and different ones strike me each time, so I don’t envy the judges’ work one bit. This morning, after watching sunlight butter my little Wollemi Pine, I’m taken back in time by these two:

    a case of bird skulls
    my ears torn by such
    little scissors

    – Peter Yovu

    prey on the cave wall an arrow’s unfinished flight

    – Darrel Lindsay

    Among other things, I noted that our technology originates in ideas our ancestors got by observing the natural world. I’ve long thought that the first scissors must’ve been made from bird beaks/ jaws.

    The ‘arrow’s unfinished flight’ in the cave resounds for me on a metaphorical level as well as being literally what’s illustrated.

    Both poems make us think, then ‘tease us out of thought’. ( Keats- Ode to a Grecian Urn)

  12. I just corrected the errors that John pointed out. My apologies to the poets and our readers,

  13. There is an error in the display of poems on “the new page…etc.” Vanessa Proctor’s poem (night swimming …) should be displayed among the contemporary selections rather than the innovative. And Cherie Hunter Day’s poem (salt wind ripples…) should be displayed among the innovative poems rather than the contemporary.

    Both are displayed correctly in the pdf version.

  14. I am honored to be among the three winners listed above. I’d also like to congratulate all the poets. After reading the listed poems, I was “floored” too, Gene!

    And to read all of your comments…thank you. I am amazed by the palpable imagery of both Cherie’s and Lorin’s poems. I struggle for that kind of effect in poems like “Duchamp’s Nude” (thank you Eve Luckring for looking it up and sharing). And to find one’s name in the same sentence as Rita Dove’s feels great, Jack! Finally, thanks to Aubrie for that thought on “space”–I try to work with space, sound, logic, and image in order to express some effort to make sense of what’s around me–haiku challenges us to do this with such precision,yes, even elegance, but without the “fanfare” (that Eve mentions). Thanks again, everyone.

  15. Michele, above in Red “the new page..etc” click on that and open the PDF file, and you will also find all of the poems that were Noteworthy.

  16. Enjoyed all the haiku. It’s well worth downloading the pdf so you get even more entries to look at.

    Literature Director, 2010 Bath Japanese Festival
    Director/founder, With Words

  17. Delightful selection. Congratulations to all the winners. Any way to see more?

  18. Congrats to the winners and runner-ups!

    I agree with others are saying—there’s something quite striking about Olga’s poem. The space as a disconnect between our actions and our words truly does resonate.

    Lorin’s poem also makes me look twice, and I find myself looking back to it again and again. Slightly out of curiosity, and slightly out of a reflective mood. The distance of an on-coming storm paralleled with the approaching future. I appreciate how Lorin takes something abstract and brings it into the concrete with the feeling in her bones with the change in the weather.

  19. And thank you Eve for the site to the Dugan poem Another Look at Duchamp’s Nude: quite a masterpiece, I think.
    And thank you to Olga Dugan for bringing the ingenious method of Rita Dove to haiku; it bridges the gap between our best contemporary poets and our haiku poets and shows how each can and should learn from the other.

  20. And after having read the runners’ up poems, I heartily contragulate you, too, as well. All fine work. And thanks goes to Jim Kacian and Billy Collins for their thoughtful consideration of all the work and for their remarks regarding their final decisions.

  21. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

    I am quite struck by Olga Dugan’s poem, for how its form
    encapsulates the content so elegantly– –the gap between what we say and do embodied not only in the image of the “pear blossom in winter” but the poem’s structure. And yet it does so without fanfare and without flattening the poem into an overbearing form that overly defines, or Illustratively limits, how to read it.
    Quite inspiring for me.
    Reading Another Look at Duchamp’s Nude
    shows more of where this spirit comes from.
    More please, Olga!

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