2015 World Haiku Competition Winners!! 

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
          William Butler Yeats - (1865- 1939) 

                                                                           Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine © 2007-2015        P.O. Box 17331    Arlington, VA 22216 
Congratulations Poets!!

Guest adjudicator: Alan Summers is a double Japan Times award-winning writer; recipient of the Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto Peace Museum Award for haiku (1998); and a Pushcart Prize nominated poet.   He is the author of the forthcoming book Writing Poetry: the haiku way (Spring 2016).

Website: www.withwords.org.uk  Blog: http://area17.blogspot.com   

Grand Prize ($200 Winner)

bare branch
the wild persimmon 

                by Cynthia Rowe

I tend to be both a writer and reader of haiku that embrace the many stances and approaches to the genre, including very contemporary styles, but this poem just kept coming back, and coming back, and the more it came back the more I fell in love with it.

This feels like a very traditional haiku, and incredibly simple on one level, on one layer. It’s a bare branch that holds a wild persimmon flecked by snow.  A stark beauty of color amongst the backdrop of bareness and white. 

The most famous persimmons are Japanese and they “…like to grow along the edges of things; fields, roads, rivers, railroads, fences, trails…” 1 and that’s the way of many a poet too.  We are often on the edge reporting back to the main areas of society, if they, if we, listen.

When the power of the seasonal allusion device called kigo is utilized, that they are not merely weather news announcements, then the haiku becomes even more than the sum of its parts. Like a good novel, a haiku can open a door to another world, or many other worlds.

The first line starts me thinking of Basho and his crow: The famous haikai verse, which is actually 19-on (5-9-5 Japanese units of sound) is about a dying tree where a crow perches. We now know that the crow flew away to become an even greater poet, no longer shackled by security and concerns, and that crow was Basho himself.

Basho’s famous bare branch haikai verse, which was written in 1680, denoted the year when the poet moved from financial security to live a much more insecure and frugal lifestyle. And so I see this haiku of a wild persimmon as a mark of bravery, and allegorical, as something internal and that something external is also shifting.    It is also a breathtaking stark beauty of a winter scene, when all is still for a moment, a fleeting moment, and there is this one single fruit on a bare branch flecked with snow.

“There is hardly a woodland creature that doesn’t like the persimmon…” 2 and it’s the same for a poet, especially reading this haiku.

1, 2 Persimmon Provisions by GREEN DEANE at  http://www.eattheweeds.com 

p.s. As I was judging blind, I had no idea of the nationality of the poet but I must have had persimmons while residing in Australia, where I was an avid fruit eater from dawn to dusk.


2nd Place Winner

first love
summer outgrows
its lanes

              by Claire Everett

Ah, first love, the sweetest and the most bittersweet at times.   We have someone possibly in the Spring of their lives, and a love affair of their first youth. But now, as many of us have to do, we move onto and into the Summer of our lives, leaving things of childhood and proto-adulthood behind.    Also on a literal level the Summer outgrowing its lanes is a marvellous and exuberant image, and highly memorable.

3rd Place Winner

dark in the west
mushrooms just under
the surface

              by Julie Warther

This feels like a haiku that is both a literal meaning of dusk drawing into night, and an allegorical level, and often the best haiku have more than one layer of meaning.  A stunning haiku full of allusions, mystery, and menace, depending which level you choose to delve into, and appreciate.  A remarkable haiku that will resonate with me for a long time.

Honorable Mentions

Five brilliant haiku receiving honourable mentions, from an imaginative use of parentheses during a time of heavy snow; to storm clouds that may be inside a tulip; an antelope that is the hum of the wind in barbed wire; to the blue filtered light as a man of war decays; to the iconic tumbleweed where perhaps it wishes to ride the now defunct railway line possibly by a long gone ghost town. 

These are astonishing honourable mentions all worthy of winning competitions in their own right. 

snowed in ... 

( this longing 
deep inside )

               by Chen-ou Liu

storm clouds the inside of a tulip 

              by Julie Warther

the humming of wind 
in barbed wire

              by Debbie Strange

blue sea glass
a man of war decays 
in the sun
              by Debbie Strange

old railway track
a tumbleweed skips 
through wild grass

              by Cynthia Rowe


Thank you for your entries! 

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