2018 Porad Award Winners

Francine Banwarth, Judge

Richard and Kathleen Tice, Contest Coordinators

Sponsored by Haiku Northwest

First Place ($100)

March gusts

I hold the baby’s foot

for ballast

Margaret D. McGee

Port Townsend, Washington

I find the juxtaposition, enhanced by the echo of sound values in lines one and three, surprising and compelling. A ballast provides stability for a ship or vessel. As the tempest blows around us, we are held steady by the thrust of the baby’s foot against our palm. Throughout the challenges of parenthood and life in general it is our children, after all, who teach us how to love.

Second Place ($50)


the tug of a mother’s call

before it’s heard

Michele L. Harvey

Hamilton, New York

We are called back into the twilight evenings of our childhood. The tug, with such an effective surprise in line three, is palpable. Can you feel it? I do. It is an invisible tether, a lifeline that connects us to Mom whether she is near or far. It most likely began with the umbilical cord in the womb. My mother is 92; she’s been a part of my life for 71 years, and I still feel that tug.

Third Place ($25)

winter solstice

you have to hold

the handle down

Scott Mason

Chappaqua, New York

I am drawn to haiku in which we have to piece the parts together, those with layers and possibility for suggestion. Winter begins, we batten down the hatches, prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the long, cold, dark months ahead. What is this handle attached to? A pump? A faucet? A commode? Or to that voice inside that reminds us we are entering the season of persistence?

Honorable Mentions


high winds off Alki

a sea star

clings to the piling

Melissa Alexander

Seattle, Washington

Alki Beach is located in West Seattle on Puget Sound, where nonnative settlers spent their first winter in the mid 1800s. A number of native tribes arrived thousands of years earlier and their ancestors still struggle today for “survival, respect, and renewal.” There may be other interpretations, but for me, this sea star clinging against the high winds is a symbol of that struggle.

rocky shoreline . . .

the driftnet remains

of seagull remains

Michael Dudley

Peterborough, Ontario

It’s a hard life, suggested by the rocky shoreline where nets have been set for the catch of the day. The problem is, other species become entangled in them and perish, like this hungry seagull who found his catch of the day in the wrong place at the wrong time. The repetition of “remains” adds a sad weight to this ecological dilemma.

pelican line-up

the arrival horn

of a cruise ship

Deborah P Kolodji

Temple City, California

The first line drew me in immediately, a whimsical setup where pelicans perch, tilting their heads from side to side at the sound of the horn while tourists peer out from the deck, anticipating arrival at yet another port. A delightful combination but one with its own ecological undertones.

settled porch—

rocker runners tell

the same story

Scott Mason

Chappaqua, New York

We have a single rocker and the story of one life, the joys and sorrows, the hardships and celebrations. But this haiku also speaks to me in the age of social media. It harkens back to a time when lives were shared face to face, when rockers were the seat of social interaction at the end of a long workday.

Judge’s Thanks

I met Francine Porad in 1995 at a haiku conference in Chicago and I will never forget her warm and generous spirit, her keen haiku sensibilities in her own work and as editor of Brussels Sprout. I am grateful to Haiku Northwest on the celebration of its 30th anniversary, and to contest coordinators Richard and Kathleen Tice, for the opportunity to select poems and write commentary for the 2018 Porad Awards. As these seven haiku rose to the top and stayed there, I found myself not only on a path of understanding the imagery and the way it is presented, but also on a path of discovery as each poem took me to deeper levels.

Francine Banwarth

Dubuque, Iowa

Sponsor’s Thanks

Our thanks to Francine Banwarth for judging this year’s contest and for commenting on the winning poems. Thanks also to Richard and Kathleen Tice for serving as contest coordinators. Congratulations to each winner, and thank you to the 79 poets who entered 495 poems for consideration. Of these poets, 22 were from outside the United States: United Kingdom, 5; Canada, 4; India, 4; Australia, 3; New Zealand, 2; Romania, 2; Portugal, 1; and Germany, 1. We hope that you will enter next year’s contest, and join Haiku Northwest at its monthly meetings and annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway retreat each autumn.

Michelle Schaefer

Haiku Northwest President