Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 1993

Haiku Society of America Student Haiku Awards
in Memorial of Nicholas A. Virgilio

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Student Haiku Awards for 1993

Tom Clausen and Jack Ervin

The 1993 Virgilio Haiku Contest for High School students received 350 entries of which at least 70 were worthy of recognition. The judges were hard pressed to narrow selections to seven entries only. It was a real privilege and pleasure to share the experiences and moments that were carefully recorded in each of the entries. The gamut of life experiences was well represented in the range of entries. Keen expressions of direct observations, nature, connection, love, heartache, loss, alienation, humor, joy and simple moments of beauty and poignancy were included. We sincerely hope that everyone who entered will continue to read and write, with their senses open and aware of the poetry that exists anywhere, anytime.

We would like to thank all the teachers who contributed their encouragement and assistance with the Virgilio contest. There were so many other entries that deserved commentary. Our only regret as judges is that we cannot individually comment on them. ~ Tom Clausen and Jack Ervin


In the corner
of my bedroom
in the silent house

Robin Grady
Wahlert High School, Age 14, grade 9, Dubuque, IA

Without telling us what or how to feel this poet invites us into a quiet space that requires us as the reader to supply the reaction. Do we feel small, alone, afraid, cold, warm, secure, cozy, separated, remote or happy with a bit of peace? Haiku often require that we as readers participate in and engage with the experience so that we are placed in a setting similar to that which the writer wrote from but with freedom to form our own response. This haiku paints us into a bedroom corner of a silent house and it's up to us to feel exactly what this conjures.


I watch myself
past the still lake

Cory Olson
Wahlert High School, Age 14 grade 9, Dubuque, IA

When nature provides a still moment, we are given a golden opportunity to see ourselves, whether in reflection literally or in thoughts. The allowance of thoughts on a walk and then the actual reflection on the lake surface serve to highlight the bridge between our conscious and unconscious realms. There is an element of narcissism implied here too in that what this writer has focused on is their own self-image. How human a tendency it is to reflect and be self-referential even while out in the pristine beauty of our natural world. The tranquility of the lake might extend to us the chance to see something we could not see in more turbulent times. We are left to ponder the dreamlike reflection that mirrors us as we walk along.


emergency room:
watching the spider
cross the floor

Keith Habel
Wahlert High School, Age 14, grade 9, Dubuque, IA

Trapped by circumstances from which one cannot extricate oneself or replay, this poem captures the helplessness of being in the midst of an emergency. The shock of such a situation heightens awareness or transfixes us and tends to make us see more than we might ordinarily. Haiku often arrive when we notice or feel some thing that pinpoints or suggests what is most telling and poetic in the moment. For many people the sight of a spider is possibly unwelcome. That this spider appears in the sterile surroundings of an emergency room strengthens this poem's evocation of what is intuitively known. That being that nowhere in life is control absolute. Just as emergencies happen--spiders appear in sterile environments. There are situations where all we can do is watch.


goodnight embrace
by the dusty road —
all the stars

Becky Atkinson
Eastern Alamance High School, Age 17, grade 12, Mebane, NC

Universal themes are juxtaposed and utilized to strengthen the emotions of a parting in the night. A goodnight embrace against such essential elements as the dust and stars helps us to understand the feeling and empowerment that this moment is all about.


earthquake . . .
on the chess table
the horse hits the king

Pascu Dumitru
School No. 39, Age 13, grade 6, Constanta, Romania

The earthquake as the great equalizer is one of nature’s most dramatic events. This poem links a huge event with a tiny detail which in essence signifies the poetic tables of life being turned, which can be so true in a disaster. That the knight knocks into the king is a telling commentary on what may be happening to the whole kingdom. The reality that an outside event might affect an inside situation identifies the resonance of chain reactions that constantly is taking place.


Inside the box
sits a doll

Noelle Egan
Cherry Hill High School, age 16, grade 11, West Cherry Hill, NJ

There is something about dolls that evokes many different emotions. This poem has a haunting feel to it as if the box were perhaps confining this doll. Being shoeless emphasizes that this doll is being studied and this detail clues us in to considering what poetry requires of us. Is the doll shoeless from being played with and put away hastily or is it propped in this state staring out ready to walk out of its box?


striped fish
by a salty net

Heather Caulberg
Eastern Alamance High School, Age 16, grade 11, Mebane, NC

What has captured this poet's attention is the contrast of patterns. A sense that the crisscrossing of the net has resulted in this fish's capture serves to enhance the pattern of the fish. Anything caught tends to evince a detailed look that creates a distinct lasting impression.


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The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition for Grades 7-12 was founded in 1990 by the Sacred Heart Church in Camden, N.J. It is sponsored and administered by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association in memory of Nicholas A. Virgilio, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, who died in 1989. See the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association for more about Nick.

The Haiku Society of America cosponsors the contest, provides judges, and publishes the contest results in its journal, Frogpond, and on its Website (www.hsa-haiku.org). Judges' comments are added to the web site following publication in Frogpond.

Winners by Year (with judges' comments):

2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 |

For details about the contest rules, read the complete contest submission guidelines.

See the Haiku Society of America publication of the award winning haiku and senryu:

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition Anthology

edited by Randy M. Brooks
designed by Ignatius Fay

© 2022 HAIKU Society of America


To commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition, the executive committee of the Haiku Society of America published this anthology of award-winning haiku and senryu. The student observations, insights, experiences, emotions and insights evident in these haiku and senryu are a wonderful testament to the fresh voices and vivid imagery of young people. We believe the judges’ commentaries add a valuable layer of meaning as we see how leaders, editors, writers and members of the Haiku Society of America carefully consider the significance of each award-winning poem.

This collection celebrates the work of students whose teachers have gone beyond the stereotypical haiku lesson plan emphasizing only one dimension of haiku—the five/seven/five syllable form. In these haiku and senryu the reader will find a wind range of form, carefully constructed arrangement of lines, surprising juxtaposition of images, and fresh sensory perceptions. They will find what we all love in haiku—the human spirit responding to the amazing diversity of experiences and emotions offered to us in our everyday lives.

Come, enjoy these award-winning haiku and senryu full of the wonder, surprise and angst that are the gifts of being young. These young people enjoy being alive and effectively share that joy through their haiku and senryu.

~ Randy M. Brooks, Editor