Haiku Winner (Open Day, 2009):

Massey University Albany

(Saturday, 12th September, 2009)

Haiku Competition

Be in to win an 8GB iTouch!

The competition rules were as follows:

A haiku is a Japanese poem in three lines.

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

Old pond!
frog jumps in
water’s sound

Originally the lines had to have 5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables and contain a seasonal reference. Modern haiku poets in English seldom bother with the syllable count, though, or even a mention of the season. We are asking entrants to write us three haiku about Open Day.

  • Find three images.
  • Turn each one into a 3-line haiku, trying to portray the image itself as vividly as you can.
  • Each poem should convey a particular feeling: joy, sadness, humour – something you want to communicate through the image.
  • No titles.

Entry forms will be available from the English Stand in the Round Room of the Atrium Building on Open Day. Completed entry forms must be submitted by 1pm on the day and will be judged by poet and author Dr Jack Ross with the winner announced at 2 pm! The winning haiku will be published on the Massey University website.

We had a number of fine entries, but the clear winner was Kathryn Neale, of Westlake Girls High School, who seemed very happy to receive her iTouch!

This is her set of three haiku:

An explosion of light
Fireworks captured in a frame
A smile to last forever

Tolling pierces through the silence
Tangible in the still air
A pleading call to pick up

Silver syllables ensnared on screen
Lies trip on the tongue
The truth is caught in a moment

© Kathryn Neale

Kathryn hasn't chosen to follow the 5 / 7 / 5 syllable convention in any of her poems, but then the competition rules didn't require her to. It's worth remembering, in this connection, that Bashō himself wrote to one of his disciples:

Even if you have three or four extra syllables, or even five or seven, you needn't worry as long as it sounds right. But if even one syllable is stale in your mouth, give it all of your attention.
- Matsuo Bashō, Narrow Road to the Interior and Other Writings. Trans. Sam Hamill (Boston: Shambhala, 2000): xxvi-vii.

There were so many other wonderful poems among the entries we received, however, that I can't resist posting some of those as well:

Fun but cheeky game
Gleaning pens from every desk
Thank you for this one!!

© Stephanie Jones

human nutrition
stall making me hungry
where is the food court?

© Amber Holyoake

What has made you what you are?
Where have you come from?

© Amanda Sanders

Students lurking here
We are invading their turf
It’ll be my home too

© Monique Warder

& finally:

So many options.
My future looks bright.
Look out, here I come!

© Caitlin Smith

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