Each winner receives a $100 scholarship award and a copy of Nick Virgilio’s Selected Haiku, as well as a subscription to the HSA publication Frog Pond.
This year, as always, the poems offered fresh looks at key human emotions – from nature and the seasons to love, loss, grief, hope, fear and joy. At the essence of haiku and senryu is the power of being in the moment and capturing that moment in a few expressively chosen words that let the reader recreate that experience.
It is for that reason that the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association and Writers House is using writing arts and poetry, especially haiku, at the core of our mission to promote literacy and self-expression. We believe that this meditative approach is crucial to helping youth and adults become engaged members of their communities.
We have approached this mission by serving as the home for programs like Mighty Writers Camden – which serves students ages 11 to 17 in daily after school and evening writing programs in our Writers House. We also host poetry readings, literary events, and writing workshops including haiku workshops, and we create resources and trainings by teachers and for teachers.
This fall, we will be holding an event for teachers (watch our website for details) that will be taught by haiku poet Tom Painting. It is a testament to the power of his excellent teaching that five of the six winning poems in this completely anonymously-judged competition were written by students of Painting, who teaches at The Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia. The additional winner is from A.T. Laurian National College high school in Botoșani, Romania where teacher Cezar-Florin Ciobîcăhas also had winners from his class in past years.
This year’s judges were Brad Bennett and Hannah Mahoney. Brad Bennett is an elementary school teacher in the Boston area and has been teaching haiku to kids for over twenty years. Brad’s haiku have been published in a variety of journals and magazines. He is a member of the Summer Street Haiku Group, the Boston Haiku Society, and the Haiku Society of America. His first haiku book, a drop of pond, published by Red Moon Press, was awarded a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award for 2016 by The Haiku Foundation) Hannah Mahoney lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and works in children’s publishing. Her haiku have appeared in a variety of print and online journals, and she is a recipient of the Kaji Aso International Haiku Award and the Kaji Aso International Senryu Award. As always, the judging is completely anonymous with all poems submitted to the judges in a random order list with no identifying geographic or demographic information.