Annual Selection 2010
Judge's Comments: 'Haiku in season'

Selections and comments by Isamu Hashimoto

In making the annual selections for 2010, I first selected honorable mentions and other entries above this level. I then grouped the entries by author in the order of their first appearances in the daily "Haiku in English" column. Thirdly, I selected the third, second and first prizes, each of which I decided to award to more than one haiku, and listed the month of original publication. Below the names of the authors, I added brief haiku comments. I hope these will shed a ray of light on my final choices, and I hope readers will forgive my assumptions.

Bruce Ross (Bangor, ME, USA)

This author's way of seeing things is a bit different from us ordinary haijin, but he surely and precisely grasps "suchness." I am very happy to know that through his works, this haiku master is still ready and willing.

Zen garden...
sand waves up to and over
the stone islands

(January, 2010)

the tree shadows
more prominent now
...end of autumn

(3rd prize: November, 2010)

the reef's silence...
sea fans brighten, darken
with the current

(July, 2010)

Jose del Valle (Rockville, RI, USA)

I foresee this author winning the top prize in the future. I would be very glad if he could criticize his own pieces more severely before submitting them. Taking all into consideration, I awarded him a second prize.

winter stars
in both ears

(January, 2010)

a cricket
or Heifetz
summer night

(August, 2010)

how long
since I wandered in moonlight
a little drunk

(October, 2010)

wishing me
a happy new year
wrong number

(February, 2010)

a hoot owl
breaks the silence
hairy moon

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

Ralf Broeker (Ochtrup, Germany)

The haiku below conjures up such fascinating and beautiful scenery, switching the misty environment from a sense of hearing to one of sight in a flash. This is a kind of synesthetic method.

mist --
the sound of a fast car
becomes light

(3rd prize: January, 2010)

Jacek Margolak (Kierce, Poland)

This author senses many kinds of beauty, putting them easily into haiku form.

sliding down
from my roof
--winter moon

(January, 2010)

windy meadow...
her butterfly hair slide

(July, 2010)

slow disappearing
my reflection on the ice

(3rd prize: February, 2010)

Gregory Hopkins (Weaver, AL, USA)

"Autumn moon": The author realized amidst the autumn moonlight that he finally came back to haiku after having taken such a roundabout course. In the words of Basho: "Haiku is the art and enjoyment of old people."

expanse of sky
the creator
of the billboard

(January, 2010)

summer heat
more trees
than breeze

(August, 2010)

autumn moon
why I return
to poetry

(2nd prize: November, 2010)

afternoon shadows
another world
on the world

(June 2010)

pine trees
suddenly the sunset

(October, 2010)

Anabela Anca Mendes (Durham, NC, USA)

One of the new fireplace findings.

outside fire
burns anew inside
starry night

(January, 2010)

William Cullen Jr (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

This author was surely standing still facing toward the horizon. Suddenly the moon appeared and strongly pulled him over toward her. This could be a foretaste of monster earthquakes.

waiting for the eclipse
the flash of a sunfish
deep in the pond

(January, 2010)

moon on the horizon
I feel the strong pull
of the undertow

(2nd prize: March, 2010)

john martone (Charleston, IL, USA)

Mr. Martone remembered the same point in the middle of the frozen lake. He felt good about the way the stars dotted themselves there.

crossing a frozen lake
the same space
between stars

(3rd prize: January, 2010)

alarm clock hands--
& little buddha too
glows in the dark

(June 2010)

winter sun
here's my lost
sweater button

(March, 2010)

Helga Stania (Greppen, Switzerland)

Two good honorable mentions.

cattle's returning
from alpine pastures
expanding silence

(January, 2010)

wood glade
just a hint

(September, 2010)

Heike Gewi (Aden-Crater, Yemen)

'Door curtain': If this author happens to have an English or Japanese version of the novel, I would like to read it.

pushes the moon higher

(January, 2010)

trapped in a sick
palm trees bloom

(June 2010)

tangled stems
score the sky:
new year's morning

(February, 2010)

The door curtain billows.
I put a ghost
in my novel.

(November, 2010)

charlie smith (Raleigh, NC, USA)

I like the second line of the following haiku because six "s" sounds are effective for this big mysterious river.

crowded noisy bus
slow silent Mississippi
in my daydream

(January, 2010)

Tatsuya Onai (Matsudo, Chiba, Japan)

Absurdity occurs in this haiku, but at the same time, it's real, indeed.

winter rain
sounds more loudly
far ahead

(January, 2010)

Ferre Denis (Antwerp, Belgium)

"Merely" in this haiku is not "merely," as the author intends.

a wren
in my winter garden

(February, 2010)

Gesine Becker (Stralsund, Germany)

The author might have seen the monster tsunami more than one year before.

the sound of sea
deep frozen

(February, 2010)

john mcdonald (Edinburgh, Scotland)

"Swan": This is the most appropriate choice for the third line. "Forming" won this author a second prize.

zen garden
covered with snow:
zen garden

(February, 2010)

on the Zendo's
polished floor
passing clouds

(July, 2010)

the robin
reddens the water

(April, 2010)

out from the mist
a swan

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

Grzegorz Sionkowski (Torun, Poland)

Sensing the changes of the seasons ...

evening chill--
breathing in the scent
of campfire smoke

(February, 2010)

Claudia Melchior (Freiburg, Germany)

Two 2nd prizes were given for this author's uncommon haiku talent.

between the years
to slow down the globe
with one finger

(2nd prize: February, 2010)

a cyclist carries
The Girl from Ipanema
through the town

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

fereshteh panahi (Mashad, Iran)

"Walker" in the following haiku represents an amiable relationship between the old and the young. Using "orange" in the second haiku, the author dreams of having a magnificent, solid stone house, but in real terms ...

The grandmother's walker
is next to the granddaughter's scooter
after a breathtaking race

(February, 2010)

closing my eyes,
this time
the orange brick house

(3rd prize: October, 2010)

Helen Buckingham (Bristol, UK)

Overall, Helen-san wins a No. 1 placing. "Tea" teaches us how we are going to lead happy lives despite many unfortunate happenings.

ovoid pebble
the moment

(February, 2010)

off duty doctors
top up their tans
coffee in hand

(October, 2010)

blue moon
still skies
over Britain

(June, 2010)

knowing I'm in trouble
but oh...
that sweet cup of tea

(1st prize: December, 2010)

Keith A. Simmonds (Tunapuna, Trinidad & Tobago)

Overall Mr. Simmonds wins a No. 2 placing. The same remarks I gave to Mr. Jose del Valle apply to him.

a white scarf
around the chimney:
winter moon

(February, 2010)

dazzling windshields
in the morning sunshine...
market place

(2nd prize: August, 2010)

car's headlights jump
up and down the night...
thickening fog

(April, 2010)

neon lights
skipping across my car...
Paris by night

(October, 2010)

Mamoru Ikeda (Ube, Japan)

The author's "dandelion" here is a good example of the zoom-out method.

cushion left outside
inches thicker
snow's falling

(February, 2010)

far above the floating
dandelion seeds
a jetliner zooms off

(July, 2010)

Marshall Hryciuk (Toronto, ON, Canada)

A kind of discovery, but not entirely a new finding:

snow on every tuft
of pampas grass
one side only

(March, 2010)

Mario Massimo Zontini (Parma, Italy)

Another possibility for the following haiku could be: "whiter than / the winter moonlight-- / a barn owl."

whiter than white
in the winter moonlight--
a barn owl

(March, 2010)

Megan Elizabeth Monish (NE Hickory, NC, USA)

OK, stay there. I envy you for your life of happy solitude.

winter morning
a down comforter
and nowhere to go

(March, 2010)

A. Thiagarajan (Mumbai, India)

Judging from the haiku here, the author must be a hotel owner's friend. They were probably enjoying talking by the red flaming stove in the lobby, waiting for guests to arrive.

highway motel--
she lights the stove
at every slowing car

(March, 2010)

ed markowski (Auburn Hills, MI, USA)

Here lies a 'haikuic' acknowledgement -- namely, the author caught a glimpse of life in a beam of the moon.

loon's cry
in a split second
my moonlit biography

(3rd prize: March, 2010)

Ramona Linke (Beesenstedt, Germany)

"Flickering": The juxtaposition of "thunderstorm" and "young mare" is excellent, indeed. I can clearly see the scene. "Young mare" got the prize.

scurry of snow--
granny reads out fairy tales
with her witch voice

(March, 2010)

flickering in the eyes
of the young mare

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

e-mail attachment
I open the smile
of my grandchild

(December, 2010)

walking alone...
above the ship mill
the Milky Way

(August, 2010)

between two stars
as wide as a finger

(November, 2010)

Karol Rosiak (Bydgoszcz, Poland)

Standing among the old garden trees, the author suddenly becomes aware of the years she has passed.

old garden
from tree to tree
my childhood

(April, 2010)

David Durston (Gwynneville, Australia)

Water has stopped gushing from a dragon-shaped fountain. Mr. Durston developed a fantasy and wrote that the monster was sunning itself under a street light.

Water Dragon--
sunning itself at night
under a street lamp

(3rd prize: April, 2010)

Patricia Neubauer (Philadelphia, PA, USA)

I think this author's haiku has been getting more and more sensitive and mature.

flower shop girl
her smock the same color
as the daffodils

(April, 2010)

rising wind
sailboats race the storm
to harbor

(October, 2010)

Arctic summer...
tonight's twilight becomes
tomorrow's dawn

(Aug. 11, 2010)

Michael McClintock (Clovis, CA, USA)

Mr. McClintock, I'll never forget your excellent series of haiku concerning the Vietnam War. Especially, this:

tonight...wishing / the lightning were lightning / the thunder, thunder (MM)

wildflowers blowing
as far as the eye can see
wildflowers blowing

(3rd prize: May 2010)

hortensia anderson (New York, NY, USA)

In the Japanese seasonal almanac, we classify "tsubaki" (camellia) as a spring flower, and the waterlily is included in the summer category. In America, however, authors are free to choose words independently from Japanese haiku standards or adopt two seasonal words in one haiku.

Spring snow--
light falls in the folds
of the camellia

(May 2010)

the whiteness
of a waterlily...
spring moon

(July, 2010)

K. Ramesh (Chennai, India)

Indeed. I've felt the following way too when my bag is not stuffed with things:

camera in my hands...
the shoulder bag
so light

(May 2010)

village school
a salamander rests
under the bookshelf

(December, 2010)

Stephen A. Peters (Bellingham, WA, USA)

"Summer breeze": I acknowledge the author's haiku talent in the third line.

leaving the chainsaw behind
walking around the tree
for a better view

(May 2010)

lingering with her
in the candy store
summer breeze

(3rd prize: October, 2010)

Hubertus Thum (Hammamet, Tunisia)

The big bang is said to have occurred more than 100 million years ago. Today, we see cherry buds' beautiful big bang.

big bang
of cherry buds
the universe's long memory

(May 2010)

almonds in bloom
all these forgotten

(June, 2010)

Lothar M. Kirsch (Meerbusch, Germany)

"Strange": The author is looking up at the clear night sky, seeing innumerable stars. One step aside, he can see a different aspect of the universe.

Strange human world
Only steps away
Another galaxy

(3rd prize; June 2010)

Wind moving
Curled leaves
Like hurrying mice

(November, 2010)

Michelle Ang (Kyoto, Japan)

"Weather": A good report, thanks. Interesting.

Between the lines
That aren't there

(May 2010)

Today's weather report--
Sunny over the pool with gusts of
Small screaming children

(September, 2011)

Angelee Deodhar (Chandigarh, India)

Why don't you join in the cyclists and get a fresh feeling like this haiku has.

spring morning
cyclists lean into
mountain mist

(3rd prize: May 2010)

Shaahrokh Solhjoo (Esfahan, Iran)

A haiku reminding us where beauty can be found. Let's raise a relief fund so that the planet and people in poverty can find this kind of happiness.

With a sandwich in
Her hands
A gorgeous girl

(May 2010)

Urszula Wielanowska (Kielce, Poland)

"Chemotherapy": Buddha sitting, Christ on the cross, Muhammad hearing … We believe someone watches over the patient building the final house of cards.

I'm building
the last house of card

(3rd prize: June 2010)

spider web
in the monastic window
I'm not alone

(September, 2010)

lazy noon
only shadows

(August, 2010)

the mirror of water
sculpts my features

(October, 2010)

Robert Epstein (El Cerrito, CA, USA)

We can easily imagine a good loving relationship between man and woman.

the way she starts
each day

(3rd prize: June, 2010)

Amin Pedziwiater (Rzeszow, Poland)

I want to know the words the author said to the highland lass.

trail of my words
on her face

(June, 2010)

Krzysztof Kokot (Nowy Targ, Poland)

Sorry, I was a little bit late, but just in time for the musical performance.

the orchestra tunes
just one seat
still free

(June 2010)

Wolfgang Beutke (Barum, Germany)

There's a flavor of romance mixed with adventure in this haiku.

sea mist--
the pilot's low voice cutting
through silence

(June 2010)

Francis Attard (Marsa, Malta)

"Unmade": Gradually the outline of a heron emerges from the moonlit marsh. Beautiful.

heron's unmade
in moonlit waters
less whiteness

(3rd prize: June, 2010)

ebony black
a shadow in the night
the white heron

(October, 2010)

J. D. Heskin (Duluth, MN, USA)

"Heskenn": The selector's name, Hashimoto, is made from two Chinese characters: "Hashi" means bridge; "moto" book -- "bridge book?" Anyway, I like it, as Mr. Heskin does his.

my name from old Welsh
'heskenn,' which means
where rushes grow

(June 2010)

a haiku
leaving no shadow
is not a haiku

(December, 2010)

a place where few words
are said

(November, 2010)

Mark Miller (Shoalhaven Heads, Australia)

The autumn rain isn't so romantic if the author is going to the hospital to see his friend.

stepping from the cab
at the hospital gates
autumn rain

(June 2010)

Vasil Moldovan (Bucharest, Romania)

The sound of the vuvuzelas is still reverberating in my ears.

a flock of blue doves
above the Southern Africa--
the Football World Cup

(July, 2010)

Don Hansbrough (Seattle, WA, USA)

It is the California sun leaving for India. The author loves the silky pink California sun very much. Why India, I do not know.

California sun
in pink spring silk
leaving for India

(July, 2010)

Origa (Okemos, MI, USA)

Origa-san standing on the tundra ... Her purpose in being out in the gnat-filled air seems so vast and mysterious.

tundra village
a voice of a bell pierces
the gnat-filled air

(August, 2010)

Sheila K. Barksdale (Gainesville, FL, USA)

I once saw two women on opposite sides of a New York subway car reading the very same Danielle Steel book. "Don't let a haiku moment pass by without recording it" is the rule, and the author sticks to it.

Fancy restaurant:
her designer jacket has
strange dramatic swirls

(August, 2010)

New York subway
the call of the loon
from a stuffed toy

(October, 2010)

Heike Stehr (Moers, Germany)

The author is making a call and at the same time looking over at the dandelions, half his mind floating away on the fluff.

dandelion seed heads--
he dials her number
and keeps silent

(August, 2010)

Tyrone McDonald (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

Mr. McDonald stands firmly on the 2nd prize podium. All three pieces collected here are of a very high level.

wild firefly...
grasping the light
and the darkness

(August, 2010)

a branch is its first target
these crooked things

(November, 2010)

night rainbow...
my fears
are more picturesque

(2nd prize: October, 2010)

Rudi Pfaller (Remshalden, Germany)

I've never had the chance to see a brimstone butterfly flitting up in the air, but the line "the sun gets wings" is captivating and beautiful.

brimstone butterfly
the sun
gets wings

(3rd prize: May 2010)

shortening shadows
making efforts to walk

(August, 2010)

Bernhard Kopf (Vienna, Austria)

This refers indirectly to human affairs.

With no sound
The air conditioning stopped
Summer evening

(August, 2010)

A. Sethuramiah (Bangalore, India)

The punchy third line is luring us to the street in the mountain resort.

mountain resort--
clouds engulf me
on the street

(August, 2010)

jerry ball (Walnut Creek, CA, USA)

"Smiles": Jerry-san enables us to look down into the deep abyss of the human mind.

...then she smiles again...
It's a real problem
being that pretty...

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

brittle and dry
the fallen pine cone
rolls to a stop

(November, 2010)

Reza Aerabi (Semnan, Iran)

So charming, a child scarecrow. The full moon is casting a smile on him.

Full moon...
guarding the beans

(October, 2010)

Janice Tay (Kyoto, Japan)

The lady cashier is welcoming this newly arrived foreigner, waving an "uchiwa" and wiping her face with a "tenugui."

Uchiwa waving
a supermarket cashier
waits for customers

(September, 2010)

David Boyer (Stamford, CT, USA)

There were so many crazy hot days in 2010. And on March 11, 2011, the craziest tsunami attacked Japan.

no matter
which way the table wobbles
the heat

(3rd prize: September, 2010)

Beate Conrad (Waterford, MI, USA)

A fantastic butterfly unfolding another universe in a moment.

another universe

(2nd prize: September, 2010)

darkness gently dividing
man from man.

(December, 2010)

druart patrick (Urou et Crennes, France)

Mr. Patrick, you should refrain from drinking too much. I know you are a man of great character whom everybody likes.

Bastille day--
Helping my drunk shadow
to find its key

(3rd prize: September, 2010)

John Hamley (Marmora, ON, Canada)

We have another "the moon in a bucket" piece here. However the first line is good and well-supplemented.

I carried
the moon
in a bucket

(September, 2010)

I lit the stove
A moth
flew out

(December, 2010)

Raquel D. Bailey (Falls Church, VA, USA)

The last word, "sinks," suggests the author is leading a very quiet life.

monsoon rain
our last
crimson flame...sinks

(3rd prize: October, 2010)

Ralph J. Moritz (Chesterfield, MO, USA)

The author hits a home run here in his first at-bat. Bravo! Mr. Moritz, every evening you beat a drum and sing as the amazing Montana sun is setting... I imagine there could be no happier life than this.

Beat a drum and sing
What else can an old fool do
as summer's sun sets.

(1st prize: October, 2010)

P K Padhy (Rajahmundry, India)

Father, I still wonder.

the child wonders
the rest

(November, 2010)

McMurtagh (San Diego, CA, USA)

I would like to suggest the word "cold" in the third line is redundant. Please reconsider it. Maybe it's from the syllabic meter. Even if you omit "cold" from the third line, then the first line counts 6, the next 7, the third 4, and the haiku will total 17 syllables.

late autumn afternoon
a shadow slowly darkens
a cold cup of tea

(November, 2010)

Remi Pulwer (Toronto, ON, Canada)

The fantastic spelling of the English word "phantasmagoria" attracts me very much, and furthermore the word puts weight in the haiku.

Fall sneaked upon me
phantasmagorias of leaves
in spirals of wind

(3rd prize: November, 2010)

john breacher (Lavington, Australia)

As he was taught by his father, the author released a small fish soon after he caught it. A lovable boy.

At last, he catches a fish
Then carefully
Puts it back.

(November, 2010)

Toshio Matsumoto (Osaka, Japan)

"Daibutsu-sama," beloved Buddha dear, it's no time to make up your face.

kamakura buddha's image
seems lipsticked
reflected in the pink lotus pond

(November, 2010)

Masaru Tsuguno (Osaka, Japan)

Interesting, although I don't know how to play casketball.

spooky Halloween
play casketball

(December, 2010)

Carlos Gesmundo (Minneapolis, MN, USA)

If it was All Fools' Day in the first line, this haiku would be dull.

all souls' day
the missing jigsaw pieces
I count alone

(December, 2010)

Ram Krishna Singh (Dhanbad, India)

The author is a keen observer of the old man.

Wiping his face
under the umbrella
an old man with books

(December, 2010)

Marek Kozubek (Zywiec, Poland)

I am still at a loss over which way I have to take as a 69-year old haikuist.

fog thinning out--
more and more visible
the way to nowhere

(December, 2010)

Carolyn M. Hinderliter (Phoenix, AZ, USA)

A friend of mine who looks as vigorous as a 40-year old man always praises fried catfish as a dish. However I've never tried it, to tell the truth.

irrigation day--
the familiar scent
of frying catfish

(3rd prize: December, 2010)

Natalia Kuznetsova (Moscow, Russia)

Only God knows when drastically effective new medicines will come out.

a woman's face
in the hospice window
leaves falling

(December, 2010)

Matthias Korn (Magdeburg, Germany)

Hey, you're drunk. You're the one who is staggering.

the moon
is staggering

(December, 2010)

Tomislav Maretic (Majdakova, Croatia)

A family gathers around the tree to celebrate Christmas, yet in other parts of the world people may be undergoing hardship. May God be with us and save the people in devastated northeastern Japan.

the Christmas tree, our family
slowly assembling

(December, 2010)