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HAIKU    (Judge: Michael Dylan Welch)


First Place ($100)


rental truck
filling our house
with echoes

    Roland Packer

Somehow, this feels like an autumn poem. It is filled not just with echoes, but with discoveries, many of which are opposites. The rental truck may imply that the house is not rented but owned—or was. The house is being emptied of belongings, yet filled with echoes. And these echoes are not just sounds, but memories. Those memories are surely long. And obviously shared because it is “our” house—yet it is no longer a home but just a house. And there’s one more opposite—it’s not really “our” house any longer. All of these details feel sad or nostalgic, which puts us in the mind of autumn. We do not know why a move is necessary, or chosen, but for the moment, despite the nostalgia, the house starts to become foreign because of unfamiliar echoes. Much reverberation in all of this poem’s echoes.

Second Place ($50)


spring sea
the fishing boats
go out in pairs
    Michael McClintock

This poem exhibits, for me, a sense of karumi (lightness) because of its simplicity and immediacy. I imagine commercial fishing boats in this poem. They go out in pairs for safety reason, when the sea can still be dangerous after a long winter. Going out in pairs also suggests a sort of love or sharing matches the season of love. That’s a metaphorical interpretation of “pairs,” and a similar metaphor could be extended to the boats. Imagine the boats being like people, going out in pairs. In spring, what could they be fishing for but love? Even without this fanciful view of the poem, we see the images clearly and recognize our own inherent need for companionship and security. 


Third Place ($25)

eviction - 
I pack the pieces
of my favorite bowl


     Seren Fargo

As sad as it is to have broken a favorite bowl, here we feel mixes of emotions, showing that even a broken bowl is still loved. The broken pieces of that bowl may represent all that is left to hold on to from the home one is evicted from. Another layer of meaning may be to wonder how the bowl came to be broken. A regretted act of anger, perhaps? Or an accident brought on by having to move and pack the bowl in the first place? In any event, keeping the pieces of that broken bowl suggests a hope to one day put the pieces of one’s life back together again too.

Honorable Mentions   (not ranked)

summer sky
I stare into the blue
of my baby’s eyes


    Tracy Davidson 

Although my own children are now 10 and 8, I still feel like a new father, staring into the limitless blue of my child’s eyes. I feel the wonder in their eyes every day, and find that same wonder and possibility in this poem—indeed, perhaps in all haiku. For this baby’s life, the sky, indeed, is the limit.

dust comes
to light


    John Stevenson

I can see dust motes shining here in a shaft of sun. The light changes in spring, and so we are seeing the light differently, not just the dust. The wordplay in this poem provides a sense of joy, despite the dust. That dust arises because of spring cleaning or perhaps we are motivated to clean because of the dust. Concise and precise.

from God’s lips
to my ears
spring breeze

      Gregory Longenecker

If one is religious, it’s easy to imagine, as this poem does, that the breeze comes from God’s very lips. This is a benevolent god, who brings a gentle breeze to match the gentleness of spring youthfulness. This breeze is not just heard by the person’s ears, but felt physically as well.

TANKA    (Judge: Garry Gay)


First Place ($100)


I watch
a Beluga swim
behind aquarium glass
white as the moon path
she once followed with her calf
     Linda Jeannette Ward

Second Place

once I was the wind
whistling down valleys
singing through trees…
now just a pebble in the creek
where music runs off my back
    Susan Constable

Third Place

in your voice
there’s that love
for a field of reeds
where you were born

    Michael McClintock

Honorable Mentions (not ranked)

will my end too
leave a night pool
that holds the moon
    Linda Jeannette Ward

out of control
I break
my favorite bowl,
cutting myself
on my reflection

    Seren Fargo

SENRYU    (Judge: Stanford M. Forrester)


I expect that most judges before me have stated in their reports what they believe to be or not to be a senryu.  This definition is then followed by listing the number of contest entries, the process in which the “winners” were chosen, and finally some sort of disclaimer.  I will not repeat this practice here in order to not reinvent the proverbial wheel.  Instead, I direct you to these past judges’ reports and you can choose what you like and don’t like from their literary theories and/or thoughts on senryu.  In this particular case, please note with all the things you are in agreement,  I am too.  The things in which you are not in agreement, I also am in accord with you.  So I’m happy to say that we are now on the same page and in the position move forward. 

First Place ($100)

     John Stevenson

The poet who entered this poem was quite daring. The poem sparingly displays what many believe a senryu or haiku really boils down to.  It is an x-ray or skeleton poem of sorts leaving the reader to place their own words on its poetic framework.  But more importantly there is a play here on how it addresses the general public’s belief that the essence of a senryu or haiku draws from being 5-7-5 and pretty much, nothing else. So it is here that the author gives the formalists just that, 5-7-5 in three lines.

This poem does tell us about one aspect of human nature.  He or she gets hooked on the first idea in which they are indoctrinated, and will carry it throughout their life even though there later emerges ideas that suggest the opposite.  

I love this poem for two other reasons: one, there is an ah-ha moment when the reader translates the Roman numerals into Arabic ones and that Roman numerals are also used as letters so it can’t be argued that we are just looking at three separate numbers listed on a page.

There is so much that can be written about this poem, but there is a space limitation to respect here. I do know that this poem will stick with me till death and I will quote it at workshops and use is in Socratic literary arguments.  I’m at least confident that no one will ever accuse the poem of being wordy.

Second Place

       wildebeests leaping
from flat screen to flat screen
      Black Friday sale

     Scott Mason

A little longer that the first place winner, this senryu captures the feeling of the day.  The consumer chaos exemplified on this post Thanks Giving day, has itself become sort of a primordial ritual of hunting, in this case for the best bargain. Here the “wildebeests” are fleeing the hunt.   There is also another layer of tension between man’s “needs” (technology) and nature.

Third Place

old album
all my thoughts

    Ernest J. Berry

This senryu also brings to mind the relationship between man (technology) and nature, but it has a different tone in what it want’s to convey.

Honorable Mentions (not ranked)

one last comment on simplicity

    John Stevenson
her empty jars
on cupboard shelves

     Gregory Longenecker


another birthday I blow out the pyre

     Scott Mason




RENGAY (Judge: Ebba Story)


First Place  ($100)




John Thompson, Santa Rosa, CA

Renée Owen, Sebastopol, CA


petals tightly closed

I dream the poppy’s dream

until this fog lifts                     John



heartbeat of this tiny finch      Renée


on the border

of becoming a weed

forget-me-nots                         John


after chemo

marigolds glow on her

Butsudan altar                          Renée


just when everything’s wrong with this world

cherry blossoms                       John


moon or flower—

my thoughts drift

into wisps of white                   Renée



Second Place


Recess Bell


Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Garry Gay, Santa Rosa, CA


great expectations—

a Muslim transfer student

raises her hand                                    Michael


     the scarlet letter

     passed between friends                  Garry


a secret garden

outside the window—

unfinished quiz                                   Michael


the only crayon

not broken

the color purple                                   Garry


     a boy’s homework

     gone with the wind                    Michael


call of the wild

the children all waiting

for the recess bell                                Garry


Third Place


Coming to Light


Seren Fargo, Bellingham, WA

Sheila Sondik, Bellingham, WA


camouflaged moth—

I turn down

the party invitation                            Seren


an early snowfall shrouds

what remains of my garden               Sheila


moonlit snow

I feel the need

to whisper                                         Seren



brings peals of laughter

playing telephone                              Sheila


finding out he hurt her too

the mixed emotions of gossip            Seren


spring cleaning—

my stash

of stale chocolate                               Sheila



Honorable Mention  (not ranked)


Autumn Deepens


Michael Sheffield, Kenwood, CA

Susan Antolin, Walnut Creek, CA



I ponder the virtue

of thyme or sage                      Michael


     a 2-for-1 deal

     on canned pumpkin             Susan


glint of light

the sound of steel

on the honing stone                 Michael



     before the guests arrive red wine                              Susan


cooking steam

drips from the window sill      Michael


     new food stains

     on an old cookbook

     autumn deepens                  Susan



Starlings Rush


Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Terry Ann Carter, Victoria, BC, Canada



starlings rush

from the coast madrone           Michael


       sun through clouds

       the pine’s overhang          Terry Ann


clear blue sky—

a boy loses his balance

on the driftwood spruce          Michael


our paddles at rest

in the cedar-dappled cove—

gathering mist                          Terry Ann


       a little rain

       in the bonsai cypress        Michael


storm warning—

swirling arbutus leaves

in the seaside café                   Terry Ann






Barbara Snow, Eugene, OR

Marianna Monaco, Eugene, OR


first dream

riding the bell rope

from cling to clang                  Barbara


the streetcar’s ups and downs

through fogbound hills                           Marianna


winter birds—

little cat feet bearing

a faint tinkle                                           Barbara


bellflowers in the wind

listening for the sound

that isn’t there                                         Marianna


entering the clock shop

at the stroke of twelve                            Barbara


stage lights—

glint of finger cymbals

amid the drum beats                               Marianna

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