2011 Porad Award Winners

Susan Constable, Judge

Ida Freilinger, Contest Coordinator

Sponsored by Haiku Northwest and the Washington Poets Association

First Place ($100)

afternoon fog

the dampened cries

of wild geese

Cara Holman

Portland, Oregon

The winning haiku drew me in, time and time again, and I discovered more about it—and myself—with each successive reading. I believe that “dampened” is the key word to its success. The sound is muffled by fog, but it also feels as though the cries are physically dampened—an idea that I love. There is something very haunting about it: the image, the sounds, and the sensation of fog on my skin . . . and there’s a marvellous sense of wonder. Although I may lose my way because of limited visibility—both physically and metaphorically during this time of my life—the geese fly on!

Second Place ($50)

unrelenting summer—

a termite

tears at its wings

Seren Fargo

Bellingham, Washington

The second-place haiku piqued my curiosity about termites. My appreciation for the poem intensified when I discovered that they shed their wings, and reproduce when heavy rains follow a drought. The first line begins with a powerful adjective and I feel immersed in that long, hot summer. My attention is then focused on a single termite anticipating the signal to reproduce. As though unable to wait for nature to take its course, it tears off its wings. The contrast between the wide and narrow views in the first and second lines is mirrored by the lengths of those lines, and the repetition of the T sounds seems to intensify the frantic actions of the termite.

Third Place ($25)

fallout

she said it felt lighter

than snow

Glenn G. Coats

Prospect, Virginia

This year’s third-place haiku speaks to me on a very emotional level. Despite the word “snow,” no definite season is stated or implied. And although it’s written in past tense, with very little imagery, I find it extremely effective and poignant. The poet does not tell us how to feel; there’s no hint of sentimentality. In fact, it’s what isn’t said that feels so important. There’s a stark contrast between the devastating fallout and the purity of snow, and an implication of the huge difference between what it felt like at the time, and how things might feel in the future.

Honorable Mentions

(in no particular order)

bristlecone pine—

finding out

about myself

Ernest J. Berry

Picton, New Zealand

The opening line draws me immediately into the haiku with a strong visual and a distinct sense of something intriguing. Finding out about myself is like picking at the hard, layered scales of this cone . . . interesting, yet difficult to dissect. Unlike the bristlecone pine, however, my life is short . . . too short, perhaps, to find out all there is beneath my protective layers.

at least the crow

says what he means

April rain

Glenn G. Coats

Prospect, Virginia

I keep returning to this haiku for the smile it brings. I love the playfulness of the phrase, which implies that it’s easier to understand crows than to figure out what thoughts are really lurking behind what people say. Crow caws may be repetitious, but there’s no fancy vocabulary or convoluted phrases. No mist, drizzle, or showers. Just rain!

acacia seeds rattle

in the autumn breeze . . .

missing you

Angela Terry

Lake Forest Park, Washington

Haiku that include sounds are often very appealing, and this one’s no exception. I can almost hear these seeds and can’t help but imagine the poet rattling around in his or her own life, which now seems so empty. Autumn brings the cycle of life to our attention, with images of death and signs of rebirth through the sowing of seeds. This poem may refer to a permanent loss or, perhaps, simply to a long absence. Either way, life is not the same when one we love is gone.

snowed in every inch of her

John Hawk

Columbus, Ohio

With just six words, we are told a story . . . or two. Has the snow simply confined a woman to her house? Or are there sexual overtones to consider, which lead us to an entirely different possibility? Perhaps the heavy snowfall has brought this couple together both physically and emotionally. Or maybe not. In either case, the one-line format permits multiple readings that so often strengthen the resonance of a haiku.

Judge’s Thanks

It was an honor and privilege to be this year’s judge of the Francine Porad Haiku Award. There were some wonderful entries, which made my decisions difficult, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading these poems again and again. It’s worth remembering that this selection is based solely on one person’s opinion. At a different time or read by a different judge, the winners would surely be different. However, that does not detract from the accomplishment of these poets nor does it speak against the quality of other entries. Thank you all, so much, for sharing your haiku and senryu.

Susan Constable

Nanoose Bay, British Columbia

Sponsors’ Thanks

Our thanks to Susan Constable for judging and for commenting on each poem, and to Ida Freilinger for serving as contest coordinator. Congratulations to each winner, and thank you to all the poets who entered 366 poems for consideration. We hope that you will enter the 2012 Porad Award for haiku. We also welcome haiku poets in the Seattle area to join Haiku Northwest at its monthly meetings. Please visit our website for more information.

Tanya McDonald

Haiku Northwest Coordinator

Michael Dylan Welch

Washington Poets Association Board Member