2017 Porad Award Winners
Terry Ann Carter, Judge
First Place ($100)
grave cleaning . . .
The compassion in this haiku has almost brought me to tears. Whoever said that judging a haiku contest isn’t subjective has never judged a haiku contest. My own experience with graves this summer has made this haiku particularly poignant for me. And yet there is universality here, too. One feels tenderness in the word “held.” Two trees are bound together much like the grave cleaner and the one who has died, like the earth that holds the grave, the grave that holds the remains. The winter setting of the haiku accentuates its warmth, its yūgen (mystery), its profundity. This haiku strikes a chord. A minor chord. A perfect fifth.
Second Place ($50)
This haiku is all about movement: the heron’s wings, the artist’s arms. The choice to use the second “dip” in this haiku makes all the difference. It lets us see the action in a clear way, just the tip of the wing dipping, and then dipping again, into the river, much like the sumi-e artist dipping a brush into black ink—each stroke as powerful, as gentle, as the great bird.
Third Place ($25)
fog . . .
Living close to Thetis Park in Victoria, British Columbia, I often walk in fog, and experience the sound of a raven’s wings flying overhead. It is not clear exactly where the bird is headed. This haiku resonates on a visual and aural level. I have seen this fog. I have heard these wings.
Clonazepam is a drug used to treat seizures or panic disorders. “Slowerly”—the perfect choice of diction. This poem abides with underlying meaning.
leaving stones on graves
This haiku evokes the closing scene from Schindler’s List—the last tribute of a Jewish tradition (and perhaps others that I am not aware of). The weight of whispers, the weight of death.
Intense speculation. Intense seeing. Intense comparison. The ragged edge also evokes so many other unravelings.
The human condition on display here. No one to share berries with. So why not eat them all?
Terry Ann Carter