Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 2001

Haiku Society of America Student Haiku Awards
in Memorial of Nicholas A. Virgilio

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Student Haiku Awards for 2001

Randy and Shirley Brooks

We enjoyed reading the submissions to the Virgilio competition for 2001. We admired the straightforward language of these haiku and were especially drawn to the playful irony of their observations. ~ Randy & Shirley Brooks


autumn wind
rattles the glass —
a child’s breath

Travis Moore
School of the Arts, Age 13, Grade 8, Rochester, NY

This wonderful haiku takes us to the window, beside the child, looking out at the autumn wind. We feel the chill of autumn and the force of the wind as it rattles against the glass. The focus on the breath, suggests the child is having trouble breathing, that each breath rattles, perhaps with a cold or congestion. Maybe the child is home from school for another reason and the breath is just a sigh that he or she cannot go outside to play in the autumn storm. Either way, we feel the chill of autumn and connect with this child looking out the window. This haiku conveys a sense of being alone, cooped up in the house, remembering sunnier days that will not return until after the coming winter had ended and the child has recovered a more ordinary breath.

the pumpkin patch —
children’s faces aglow

Brooke Erschen
Wahlert High School, Age 18, Grade 12, Dubuque, IA

We like how this haiku features children in the pumpkin patch. Their faces are aglow with the excitement of Halloween as they seek the perfect pumpkin. They imagine the jack-o-lantern they could carve from each one, seeing an ear or furrowed frow in the shapes of orange skin. Their faces are aglow—so alive—with possibilities. Another autumn haiku, but this time with the warm glow of a sunny day in the pumpkin patch. The children in this haiku are excited as they run from pumpkin to pumpkin, imagining the jack-o-lanterns they will carve. It is so hard to find the perfect pumpkin, so they must walk the entire pumpkin patch. And the sun is shining on their faces and on all of the potential faces of the pumpkins—such a glorious celebration of the autumn afternoon full of the warm oranges of the pumpkins and the ruddy cheeks of the children.


from the tanning salon
to her car
January chill

Deborah Meyer
Wahlert High School, Age 18, Grade 12, Dubuque, IA

Our third selection also focuses on someone walking outside, this time from the tanning salon to her car. Of course, the point of having a tan is to let others see it, so we imagine her long bronzed legs or some skin being exposed to the cold air as she scurries to her car. Despite her efforts to resist the seasonal changes in her appearance, she must live in a world of changing seasons. The reality of the January chill intrudes on her desire to perpetuate an endless summer look. We feel the goose bumps of the cold air as she hurries to her car. Even though the young woman is resisting nature, the January chill forces her to accept its power in her life. In the middle of winter how else can someone work on their tan? Maybe they are planning a spring break getaway to a beach and want to be ready. However, the reality is that it is still winter as she is reminding on her way back to the car after a relaxing tanning session.


strep throat
she kisses him

Heidi Streit
Walhert High School, Age 17, Grade 12, Dubuque, IA

We love this senryu. What a hoot. Teenage love. The invincible, fearless youth, willing to risk all for a kiss. This is the kiss he or she has dreamed of for weeks. Nothing will stop it now. Not even strep throat. This senryu works so well because it starts with “strep throat” so she knows what she is “getting into”. The anyway suggests a slight, perhaps flippant, risk analysis that is ignored. Sometimes we just have to face the consequences, the inevitability, that love is a risky business. On the other hand, kissing someone with strep throat is just stupid (from a grown-up’s perspective). Another winter haiku, but this time indoors with a sick child or lover. We like the different ways this haiku can be read. Is it a mother caring for her sick child, who bends over the sick bed and kisses him even though he is sick with a fever? Or, is it a young lover so in love with her boyfriend that she doesn't care if he is sick. Or is it that she is sick? She kisses him anyway, wanting to share everything, even strep throat with her lover. However you read this haiku, we feel the hot skin of the person with strep throat. And we admire the love and dedication shown in that kiss.


after the dentist appointment
sister returns
all smiles

Katherine Welter
Wahlert High School, Age 17, Dubuque, IA

Our fifth selection also emphasizes relationships. Why is the sister smiling so much now? Did she used to have braces? Has she got a new tooth? A new crown? Has she had her teeth cleaned? Has she quit smoking and the dentist praised her tartar-free teeth? No cavities? For whatever reason, the sister is now proud of her self and happy with others. She can't help but smile to everyone she meets. She returns all smiles with her own smile. She has smiles for others even before they ask for one by smiling at her. Truly this has been a great dentist appointment, and the sister has been transformed into a smiler. Maybe the brother should go to the dentist and get some smiles too! We liked the simplicity of this haiku. Sister is showing off her clean teeth. Perhaps she was not so eager to go to the dentist, afraid she might have cavities. However, now it’s over. She got a clean bill of health from the dentist. Look Ma, no cavities!


new beau
fingering the tattoo
with her name

Kali Smith
Wahlert High School, Age 16, Grade 11, Dubuque, IA

The final selection is another haiku of romance entanglements. How exciting to have a new beau! It's so fun to get to know each other, to learn all about each other, to share everything with the new lover. This haiku has the intimacy of someone tracing the lines and letters of the tattoo with their finger. The interesting question left up to the reader's imagination is WHOSE name is on the tattoo. Is this a new tattoo, still tender and sore from having the new lover's name injected into his skin? Or is this an old tattoo with the name of a mysterious former lover? Hey, who is this person whose name is on the tattoo? Why is her name branded onto you? Such a wonderful haiku celebrating the possibilities of a new relationship with all its complications from the past. We like the excitement of new love in this senryu. He has shown his commitment with a new tattoo with her name. Everything’s new and exciting . . . and intimate as she fingers the tattoo. Did it hurt? Is it still sore? Next thing you know she will be kissing him, even if he has strep throat!


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The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition for Grades 7-12 was founded in 1990 by the Sacred Heart Church in Camden, N.J. It is sponsored and administered by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association in memory of Nicholas A. Virgilio, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, who died in 1989. See the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association for more about Nick.

The Haiku Society of America cosponsors the contest, provides judges, and publishes the contest results in its journal, Frogpond, and on its Website (www.hsa-haiku.org). Judges' comments are added to the web site following publication in Frogpond.

Winners by Year (with judges' comments):

2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 |

For details about the contest rules, read the complete contest submission guidelines.

See the Haiku Society of America publication of the award winning haiku and senryu:

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition Anthology

edited by Randy M. Brooks
designed by Ignatius Fay

© 2022 HAIKU Society of America


To commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition, the executive committee of the Haiku Society of America published this anthology of award-winning haiku and senryu. The student observations, insights, experiences, emotions and insights evident in these haiku and senryu are a wonderful testament to the fresh voices and vivid imagery of young people. We believe the judges’ commentaries add a valuable layer of meaning as we see how leaders, editors, writers and members of the Haiku Society of America carefully consider the significance of each award-winning poem.

This collection celebrates the work of students whose teachers have gone beyond the stereotypical haiku lesson plan emphasizing only one dimension of haiku—the five/seven/five syllable form. In these haiku and senryu the reader will find a wind range of form, carefully constructed arrangement of lines, surprising juxtaposition of images, and fresh sensory perceptions. They will find what we all love in haiku—the human spirit responding to the amazing diversity of experiences and emotions offered to us in our everyday lives.

Come, enjoy these award-winning haiku and senryu full of the wonder, surprise and angst that are the gifts of being young. These young people enjoy being alive and effectively share that joy through their haiku and senryu.

~ Randy M. Brooks, Editor