2012 Porad Award Winners

Deborah P Kolodji, Judge

Nancy Dahlberg, Contest Coordinator

Sponsored by Haiku Northwest and the Washington Poets Association

First Place ($100)

sketching the sapling

I will never see grown—

the quiet woods

Dejah Léger

Shoreline, Washington

The sense of quiet acceptance in the winning haiku appeals to me on a deep level. Each time I re-read it, I discover a different meaning. There are hints of a possible death of a child, a miscarriage, or the author’s own impending passing. Yet, the poem is devoid of the senti­mentality that often accompanies such themes. The lines are perfectly ordered, the poem wouldn’t have the same impact if the third line were the first line, and there is music in the rhythms of the words. The quietness of the woods also slightly echoes Frost, from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”:

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

Here the only sound is the sweep of the poet’s pencil on paper, sketching the sapling. The haiku doesn’t mention snow, but a sense of impending winter remains.

Second Place ($50)

Perseids . . .

oh, the weight

of all those wishes

Carole MacRury

Point Roberts, Washington

We all want Disney endings in our lives, but “when you wish upon a star . . . ,” there’s an emotional weight behind it. Sometimes it is merely a desire, a new toy under the Christmas tree. Sometimes it’s more a desperation, such as betting your last dollar on that “lucky” horse. Like wishes, meteoroids, or falling stars, also vary in weight. Most are bits of dust and rock that disintegrate when they enter the earth’s atmosphere. But others survive, and are reclassi­fied as meteorites when they strike the earth. Some of these are also quite small, but others are extraordinarily heavy, such as the Willamette meteorite that weighs nearly 16 tons. In a mete­or shower, such as the Perseids, there can be as many as 60 meteors per hour. I can only imag­ine the weight of all those wishes! This haiku makes me think of all this and more in fewer than ten words. The ellipsis in the first line is reminiscent of meteors. I wish I had written it.

Third Place ($25)


this one tiny worm

coiling uncoiling

Timothy Russell

Toronto, Ohio

The image of a tiny worm coiling and uncoiling is a wonderful juxtaposition to the equinox. Although the haiku doesn’t indicate whether it is the spring or autumnal equinox, and earthworms actually hint of summer, the fact that the worm is tiny first led me to believe it is the spring equi­nox. Yet, the worm is coiling before uncoiling, which hints to shorter before longer, and autumn. I love the ambiguity of this poem because it hints at the cycle of the seasons. As the worm coils and uncoils, the days become shorter, then longer, and everything cycles around and starts all over again.

Honorable Mentions

(in order of merit)

deep crack in the acorn morning thunder

Mark Smith

Keyser, West Virginia

This one-liner is wonderfully crafted with sounds, using literary devices not often associat­ed with haiku. I love the onomatopoeia of “crack” and the internal rhyme of “acorn morning.” Something about the juxtaposition of thunder with the deep crack appeals to me on many lev­els. The fact that it is morning thunder makes me wonder what else the day has in store. Because it is a one-liner, the meaning shifts a bit, depending upon how the reader breaks up the haiku.

frost-tipped blossoms

not how I thought

it would happen

Cara Holman

Portland, Oregon

Again, here is a haiku that subtly hints at death without unnecessary sentimentality. The blos­soms are frost-tipped, which is not what you’d expect. Death rarely comes when one expects it, so this juxtaposition is beautiful in an almost metaphoric way.

white lilacs

beyond our grasp

the Milky Way

Barbara Snow

Eugene, Oregon

Both the white lilacs and the Milky Way are beyond our reach, but not beyond our apprecia­tion. The middle line works well as a pivot line, and I like the way the first two lines end with short “a” sounds (lilacs, grasp) and the last line ends with a long “a” sound.

snow clouds

each of us seeing

someone else

paul m.

Bristol, Rhode Island

The author has crafted an effective double meaning in this haiku. The people in the poem could simply be two people seeing different faces in the clouds, or they could both be dating other people after ending their relationship. I appreciate the craft in the way this works, as well as the soft “s” sounds that flow all the way through the poem.

Sponsors’ Thanks

Our thanks to Deborah P Kolodji for judging and for commenting on each poem, and to Nancy Dahlberg for serving as contest coordinator. Congratulations to each winner, and thank you to all the poets who entered 435 poems for consideration. We hope that you will enter the 2013 Porad Award for haiku. We also welcome haiku poets in the Seattle area to join Haiku Northwest at its monthly meetings. Please explore our website for more information.

Tanya McDonald

Haiku Northwest Coordinator

Michael Dylan Welch

Washington Poets Association Board Member