Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 2005

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

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Student Haiku Awards for 2005

Michael Moore and Charles Trumbull

We noticed a few things about the contest entries. All winning entries are closer to senryu than haiku; that is, they deal more with human nature than with nature. None of the winning haiku used punctuation. The idea of a haiku comprising two images has been nailed home by these student poets. The contest images, in fact, were not infrequently too far apart for comprehension. Many of the entries contain a personal reference, which is normally avoided in haiku. Four of the six winners contain the word “my.” Many haiku among the entrants were about haiku, grandmothers, and small children.

Reading the work entered by poets in the Virgilio Haiku Contest was a wonderful experience. Each poet should be proud of their individual contribution to this literary event. For those of you who were not selected as winners, please continue to share your talent as writer of haiku and share your talent with others. ~ Michael Moore and Charles Trumbull


grandma’s wake
my little cousin
shakes her etch-a-sketch

Alex Degus
School of the Arts, Age 18, Grade 12, Rochester, NY

Various views of life, death, and permanence are powerfully placed together in this prizewinning haiku for 2005. The adults gathered at the wake are undoubtedly observing the age-old church traditions for celebrating the end of a life, emphasizing continuities and eternities. The little cousin shows a much more transitory view of creations: one shake and they are gone, ready to be repeated.

A child’s hands upon an etch-a-sketch erase and yet draw a picture that captures the finality of death. That moment is recorded in a literary snapshot, of two cousins during their grandmother’s wake. The poet fills the scene with the motion of youthful innocence and the motionless nature of death. Yet life for the two cousins’ creativity lives on. “Little cousin shakes her etch-a-sketch” and a poet shares a few insightful words.


caught in my brush
long strands

Guilia Perucchio
School of the Arts, Age 14, Grade 9, Rochester, NY

For the writer what may have once been just “my brush” has acquired a special significance because of the “long strands.” The question now arises; who does the hair belong to? If it is the hair of the poet, the significance of its length may remind the poet of younger days. If it is not the poet’s, one can surmise that the poet has shared the brush with someone whose hair is longer than the poet’s. We are left to ponder the question. I love a mystery.

What would be more likely to induce deep personal thought and memories than the repetitive brushing of hair at night. My mind’s eye sees a young lady sitting before a mirror in her dressing gown dreamily brushing her hair and almost measuring out her life strand by strand. A wonderful image!


a triangle block
stuck in a square hole

Isabelle Bartter
School of the Arts, Age 15, Grade 10, Rochester, NY

This haiku is both philosophical and very funny. There is the suggestion that if you want to get something tricky done —”a square peg in a round hole”—perhaps you need to go study the youngsters: bypass the basics and . . . just jam it in!

Here the reader is given the opportunity to take the poem at face value or rearrange the triangle block in his or her mind. The what is, or what ought to be, that is the question. The word “stuck” may cause the mind to wonder how the triangle was placed in the hole, was it forced or just placed there with ease? Does it matter? A moment in the poet’s eye lets us see that design is a state of mind. A triangle stuck in a square hole shows that a young person was exploring another way of looking at how the world works.


harvest moon
the homeless man’s cup
filled with silver

Kate Bosek-Sills
School of the Arts, Age 15,Grade 10, Rochester, NY

In this haiku a celestial event is brought to earth. By looking down the reader sees that which glows from above, reflected in the cup of a homeless man. This haiku gives the reader a number of ideas to reflect upon. From the ethereal nature of light to the earthiness of the homeless man. The multidimensional nature of this haiku makes it a joy to read.

The homeless man’s cup is finally full, not of the one kind of silver he wishes for, but something much different. Alas, only if he is a poet will he be able to rejoice much.


my father
in the stubbled wheat field
scratches his beard

Asha Bishi
School of the Arts, Age 14, Grade 9, Rochester, NY

This author employs a device of classical haiku: using an image from nature to link to and describe a human subject. Because of the two juxtaposed images, the delighted reader receives a crystal-clear portrait of a man at one with his environment.

I can see the golden “stubbled wheat field” with the evening sun hanging heavy in the western sky. The poet gives the reader a wonderful view of a landscape. A landscape touched by rays of the sun and care of his/her father’s hand.


a fortune cookie
seals my fate

Adrian DiMatteo
School of the Arts, Age 14, Grade 9, Rochester, NY

Does a person’s superstition last as long as they can remember that their belief system is alive and well playing a role in their life? I would like to think that when the poet opened a fortune cookie that fate had good things in store. The power of suggestion is illustrated in the words of this intriguing dilemma.

Many people look beyond the normal for clues to their fate or the way to conduct their lives. Sealing a fate-especially in a young person-seems excessive, and yet . . . Do you really think it is mere hyperbole that a young person would be so superstitious as to put all his/her eggs in one basket?

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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