Haibun Wins First Place in Haiku Society of America Competition

JD Hancock - Down with Rainbows
Photo: JD Hancock/Creative Commons/Flickr

I am extremely honored and humbled to have won First Place in the Haiku Society of America’s 2018 Haibun Awards Competition with my haibun “That Summer.”

The genre of haibun consists of the juxtaposition of prose and haiku in ways that allow the two genres to resonate uniquely with each other, creating multiple layers of meaning. Here is “A Brief History of English-Language Haibun” by Jim Kacian, founder and board chairperson of The Haiku Foundation and one of the leading exponents of English-language haiku and related genres. This essay was compiled from Kacian’s introductions, and with Kacian’s permission, by Ray Rasmussen, the present editor of the major haibun journal Haibun Today.

“That Summer” is published on the Haiku Society of America’s website. My haibun will also be published in the Haiku Society of America’s journal, Frogpond, one of the finest publications of English-language haiku and related genres. [Update, 2-29-20: “That Summer” was published on the Haiku Society of America’s website and in Frogpond.]

Sincere thanks to competition judge John Stevenson, and hearty congratulations to my fellow poets who also won awards in this contest.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Anna Cates


Photo: Rojer/Creative Commons/Flickr

Today the International Women’s Haiku Festival features poet Anna Cates. Two of her haiku are alive with flowers and sunlight, smooth pastels and mother of pearl.

lady’s mantle
the sunlight
on my shoulders

This poem renders a haiku moment in the most gracious and vivid terms.  You can almost see an impressionist painting: A woman sits next to a window or en plein air, summer sun warming her shoulders as he admires clusters of dainty lady’s mantle.  The woman enjoys sitting in the sun, while the lady’s mantle is content to wear its golden glow in the shade.  The woman and the flowers are twin sisters.


mother of pearl
still inside her shell
smooth pastels

How does the mollusk do it, create that iridescent, otherworldly mother of pearl?  All of that is going on inside the shell’s hard, creviced exterior.  It’s as though the sea creature, wary of leaving its shell and rendering itself unprotected, makes its own comfortable satin sheets.  This poem acknowledges the vulnerability that haunts every girl or woman who, at whatever stage of life, longs to leave her shell and put her mark on a man’s world.  But it also slyly suggests that maybe staying in the shell that she has, by her own talents, made so exquisite is okay, too.  The choice is hers.

Anna Cates lives in Ohio (USA) with her two cats and teaches English and education online. One hundred of her short form poems appear in the Living Haiku Anthology.

Find more information about the International Women’s Haiku Festival and submit your work at this link.

‘Zucchini’ Haiku Named a ‘Judge’s Favorite’ in the 2017 Golden Haiku Contest, Washington, D.C.

Hambrick_zucchini_haikuI was delighted to learn that one of my haiku has been named a “Judge’s Favorite” among the six winners of this year’s Golden Haiku Contest, Washington, D.C.

This year’s contest garnered more than 1,000 entries, among them poems from the authors of the other six winning haiku – Terri L. French, Marek Kozubek, Trish Bright, Mark E. Brager, Sandip Chauhan, and Michele L. Harvey.

Aside from the numbers game, the judges of this year’s contest are some real haiku heavies, so I am quite honored that they found merit in my little poem.  My sincere thanks to the contest judges, Abigail Friedman, author of The Haiku Apprentice; John Stevenson, managing editor of the haiku journal The Heron’s Nest and author of several haiku collection; and NHK World’s Kit Pancoast Nagamura.

The other two haiku in my submission were also named runners-up in the contest.  Here they are:

My haiku will be displayed on placards as in the image at top with the other contest winners and runners-up around Washington, D.C.’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, near the White House.

Public art exists to inspire others and bring meaning to people’s everyday lives.  I hope my “zucchini” haiku will bring lots of people joy.