Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 1995

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

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Student Haiku Awards for 1995

Paul O. Williams

Over 325 poems were entered in this year’s Virgilio Competition. It was a difficult task to narrow the selection down to just seven. While a majority of the poems submitted could best be classified as minimal, some were five words or fewer, or senryu, concerned solely with human situations--often humorous, we were looking for poems that captured a haiku moment--a specific place and time, recorded honestly, free from commentary or sentimentality, with a lasting resonance of deeper understanding. I want to emphasize that every young poet that submitted work is to be congratulated and encouraged to continue writing. ~ Paul O. Williams


solitary swimmer
the early-morning sun

Anne Alfredo
Wahlert High School, 9th grade, Dubuque, IA

This swimmer is setting out in the morning, with all the associations of beginning. He or she is having an effect--even on the sun's reflection, a part, a focal part, of the scene. The swimmer recalls Whitman's solitary singer, the mockingbird, also associated with water. The poem suggests a bravery, an assertive action, a proclamation of the swimmer s being, declaring his or her being in the world.


old man
reeling in
the sea

Beth Paisley
Wahlert High School, 9th grade, Dubuque, IA

Obviously, the old man is not reeling in the sea, except in whimsical perceptions. But he isn't reeling in anything else either, and he is absorbing the whole atmosphere of the shore, and that is most of the point of fishing anyhow. Being at the sea is the point, reeling it into one's being. Fishing is the excuse. How is it that so many surf fishers are older men? This example fits the scene.


after the flood
our flag waves
from the clothesline

Katie O’Connor
Wahlert High School, 9th grade, Dubuque, IA

A poem of recovery, of going on, this haiku is about setting things to rights again, showing the flag, even if it is, at the moment, mostly drying out. It is still there, still waving, and it is "our" flag, not just any flag. It is a step to reestablishment, in recovery. Its colors are clear and bright, declaring hope.



Tony Leisen
Wahlert High School, 9th grade, Dubuque, IA

Dandelions are so easy to dissipate with one puff almost as slight as a wish, and the puff makes just that sound—wish—as the seeds float down the wind. The poem is economical. contains a delightful onomatopoeia and is altogether pleasing.


the tree
except one leaf

Maureen Reilly
Wahlert High School, 9th grade, Dubuque, IA

There is always that leaf, that exception, that different thing, being itself, separate, individual. Such single leaves give the world distinctiveness. Again, the poem is economical, coming at the end into the sharp focus of its perception.


two oak leaves
just the same
until a brown moth flies away.

Charlotte Stevenson
Castilleja School, 9th grade, Palo Alto, CA

Protective coloration is such a dry expression, drier, perhaps, than the leaf itself, or the moth, which startles us with its suddenly becoming itself, flying with a living purpose and not at the whim of the breeze. It is a separate will we are dealing with, asserting itself in its flight.


two bold streaks of blue
split by the thin horizon —
ocean and spring sky

Katie Gallagher
University High School, 10th grade, Honolulu, HI

All that blue . . . only one defining line, the horizon, gives us shape and definition, sets the world on a level again. The poem is a 5-7-5 haiku, the only one among our winners. Its longer center line becomes the horizon, with its final dash lining it out, right in the middle of the scene.

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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