Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 1999

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

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Student Haiku Awards for 1999

Yvonne Hardenbrook and Cherie Hunter Day

Many of this year's 235 entries required more than one look and some discussion. As judges, we looked objectively for well-crafted pieces with special attention to word choice and line breaks that hinted at a deeper meaning. We also had to consider the subjective criteria of memories and emotions that these haiku/senryu evoked for us. Those elements were much harder to evaluate, but we were able to narrow our choices to six poems. We thank all the poets and teachers for their fine efforts and hope they continue to study and practice the genre. ~ Yvonne Hardenbrook and Cherie Hunter Day


his hands
showing the work

Damian Stork
Wahlert High School, Age 18, grade 12, Dubuque, IA

We looked for the clear image that hints at a deeper meaning and creates a space for the reader as well. Both judges grew up with farmer fathers whose hands really did show the work—callused hands with thick fingers, gloveless even in winter. Farming by hand today is almost a lost art, so we appreciate the poem, and the poet's keen insight and clean craftsmanship.


on the runner’s forehead

Heather Klinthammer
Wahlert High School, Age 18, grade 12, Dubuque, IA

In televised marathons or local high school track events, we have seen for ourselves the concentration necessary for these athletes to succeed. The poet brings home the power of the moment by neatly juxtaposing the intense expression on the runner's face with the disgust that surely follows the realization of being shat upon. This surprise is conveyed perfectly in the poem's third line.


at the movie
their hands meet . . .
in the buttered popcorn

Paula Faber
Wahlert High School, Age 18, grade 12, Dubuque, IA

More senryu than haiku, this poem seems quite appropriate to teen life full of irony, frustration, mistaken signals, blind groping, and good humor. Whether on a first date, hoping to touch each other, or steady date just hungry for popcorn, the poet has captured the moment with a wry sense of humor.


mother’s crossed arms
a reminder —
of our argument

Heather Klinthammer
Wahlert High School, Age 18, grade 12 , Dubuque, IA

No psychology lesson needed to recognize a parent's crossed arms as "end of discussion." At a very young age we become masters of body language, and we found this poet masterful in portraying the scene with few words and well-chosen line breaks.


Overhead projector
the lesson
over a student’s head

Joe Arling
Wahlert High School, Age 17, grade 12, Dubuque, IA

At first, this senryu seems to state the obvious, but the skillful play on words in the third line adds delightful humor. By folding the meaning back on itself, the poet invites us to linger in the scene and enjoy the pun.


after the rain
so visible
the spider’s web

Tony Leisen
Wahlert High School, Age 18, grade 12, Dubuque, IA

This haiku is centered in summer with the season word or kigo, "spider's web." The words resonate and seem to tangle the mind. How can we be aware of things that are there and yet not there? This poem has a quality similar to a Zen koan.


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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