2017 Porad Award Winners

Terry Ann Carter, Judge
Richard and Kathleen Tice, Contest Coordinators

Sponsored by Haiku Northwest

First Place ($100)

        grave cleaning . . .
        all winter a fallen tree
        held by another

                paul m.
                Bristol, Rhode Island


The compassion in this haiku has almost brought me to tears. Whoever said that judging a haiku contest isn’t subjective has never judged a haiku contest. My own experience with graves this summer has made this haiku particularly poignant for me. And yet there is universality here, too. One feels tenderness in the word “held.” Two trees are bound together much like the grave cleaner and the one who has died, like the earth that holds the grave, the grave that holds the remains. The winter setting of the haiku accentuates its warmth, its yūgen (mystery), its profundity. This haiku strikes a chord. A minor chord. A perfect fifth.

Second Place ($50)

        sumi-e—
        a heron’s wingtips dip
        dip into the river

                Julie Warther
                Dover, Ohio


This haiku is all about movement: the heron’s wings, the artist’s arms. The choice to use the second “dip” in this haiku makes all the difference. It lets us see the action in a clear way, just the tip of the wing dipping, and then dipping again, into the river, much like the sumi-e artist dipping a brush into black ink—each stroke as powerful, as gentle, as the great bird.

Third Place ($25)

        fog . . .
        the sound of wings
        going somewhere

                Carole MacRury
                Point Roberts, Washington


Living close to Thetis Park in Victoria, British Columbia, I often walk in fog, and experience the sound of a raven’s wings flying overhead. It is not clear exactly where the bird is headed. This haiku resonates on a visual and aural level. I have seen this fog. I have heard these wings.

Honorable Mentions

(unranked)

        clonazepam—
        I watch the scenery
        slowerly

                Danny Blackwell
                Whitwell, United Kingdom

Clonazepam is a drug used to treat seizures or panic disorders. “Slowerly”—the perfect choice of diction. This poem abides with underlying meaning.

        leaving stones on graves
        the weight of
        our whispers

                Meik Blöttenberger
                Hanover, Pennsylvania

This haiku evokes the closing scene from Schindler’s List—the last tribute of a Jewish tradi­tion (and perhaps others that I am not aware of). The weight of whispers, the weight of death.

        ragged edge
        the cabbage moth’s wing
        and the cabbage

                Gregory Piko
                Yass, Australia

Intense speculation. Intense seeing. Intense comparison. The ragged edge also evokes so many other unravelings.

        alone—
        I eat all the salmonberries
        on the trail

                Nicholas Klacsanzky
                Edmonds, Washington

The human condition on display here. No one to share berries with. So why not eat them all?

Judge’s Thanks

My thanks to Haiku Northwest for the opportu­nity to judge the 2017 Porad Haiku Award. Such an honour! And thanks also to Richard and Kathleen Tice for coordinating the contest. I am indebted, again and again, to the mentorship of William J. Higginson, who taught me to read, read, read, before I write. This opportunity gave me the time to read many fine haiku. I wish I could speak to them all. Thank you to all who participated.

        Terry Ann Carter
        Victoria, British Columbia

Sponsor’s Thanks

Gratitude to Terry Ann Carter for judging this year’s contest and for commenting on the win­ning poems. Thanks also to Richard and Kathleen Tice for serving as contest coordinators. Congratulations to each winner, and thank you to the 66 poets (22 from outside the United States) who entered 390 poems for consideration. We hope that you will enter next year’s contest, and join Haiku Northwest at its monthly meetings and annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway retreat each autumn.

        Michelle Schaefer
        Haiku Northwest President