Haiku Society of America Haibun Student Haiku Awards for 2007

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

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Student Haiku Awards for 2007

Ruth Eshbaugh and Susan Delaney

Haiku and senryu in their brevity are an art to master. Most of the entries to the Nicholas A. Virgilio Haiku Contest this year were senryu. Some missed the form of haiku or senryu altogether. Still in the entries we found again and again powerful images that showed thought and vulnerability. Should the author rewrite with some further instruction, there is potential for poignant haiku. All the submissions gave us a delightful and interesting look into the young author’s world. The scope of content ranging from the mundane to the highly unusual thus showed an attempt by the authors to look at their world fresh with eyes open, senses at alert. ~ Ruth Eshbaugh and Susan Delaney


beep of the monitor
reminding me . . .
to hope

Nicole Grogan
Wahlert High School, Grade 12, Dubuque, IA

There is a heart wrenching story behind this senryu, with life so precariously hanging in the balance that the author falters between despair and hope. With each heartbeat life continues. As long as there is a heartbeat there is hope. There is sense of waiting beside a bedside, held captive by the monitor, distanced by technology, but informed by it also. It is a surreal moment that anyone who has sat in that chair can slip into in a heartbeat upon reading the senryu.


the wind
her secret

Jordan Krueger
Wahlert High School, Grade 12, Dubuque, IA

The wind brings mystery into this simple senryu of two young girls sharing a secret. The very economical use of words suggests briefness. The secret is shared, the words spoken and are gone as quickly and silently and mysteriously as the wind. A secret shared is not to be repeated thus exists but does not exist except between those who share it. An excellent expression in nature of the relationship is implied in this work. The word “taking” suggests something stolen or forbidden to share.

This senryu could also be read as someone with no one to share a secret. They speak instead into the wind, creating a profound sense of aloneness and alienation by one who holds a secret that no human ear can hear.


early spring
the willowy girl
runs around the track

Sara Dill
School of the Arts, Grade 8, Rochester, NY

You can feel the cold crisp air and the sense of determination in each step. A young girl with her life ahead of her like the new spring day is full of promise. The comparison to a willow speaks of fluidity of movement and grace; a profound enjoyable evocative image of “youth.” The rhythm of her step around a circular path is repeated in the mention of the season with its own circular rhythm.


spring morning
her jelly shoes dry
on the back porch

Zoe Christopher
School of the Arts, Grade 9, Rochester, NY

Jelly shoes stand out as a delightfully unusual but recognizable image. It evokes an array of colors, although in this haiku the color is unnamed. The smooth texture of the shoe and the suggestion of wetness or even a puddle by the use of the word “dry” repeats the smooth surface and shape of the shoes. They are empty on the porch, but someone has worn them. They suggest a story, but it is left unsaid. So much is unsaid in this timeless glimpse of the mundane invaded by the colorful shoe that it makes a very interesting senryu to ponder.


empty house
echoes of laughter
in the rotting wood

Emily Onyan
School of the Arts, Grade 8, Rochester, NY

A mood is created in this senryu with many echoes or layers. There is the sight of the empty house, the mood that emptiness creates. The smell of the rotting wood is another layer that tells us the house is old and abandoned for years. The echoes of laughter are in the present and past connecting the unauthorized visitors that explore the empty rooms with the strangers who lived there at one time. Why do we love to explore abandoned places?


Valentine’s Day
the stop light stays red
too long

Pendle Marshall-Hallmark
School of the Arts, Grade 9, Rochester, NY

Expectation good or bad, anticipation of an encounter or the dread of a long lonely day is the stuff that Valentine’s Day is made of. The color red like a stop light can’t be ignored. Even if you want the day to end or want it to last forever the feeling of stress can’t be ignored. It is the annoyance of a long red light when you are waiting for something more in life to happen but instead you are sitting in your car at a red light waiting.

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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