After Much Waiting, The Haiku Contest Results

I do apologize for the waiting, but the first delay was an attempt to get more entries, the second to hear back from some truly extraordinary judges. I ended up receiving 6 entries and having an equal number of judges, whose judgment I truly value.
George is a writer who has recently begun a program of graduate studies and a thoughtful and lively new blog. Jacob is a writer and a poet and a sensitive thinker about issues of culture and faith. Tim, who is a member of my house church, generally has more creative projects going than this guy has plates spinning. He has a fun business (make sure you check out the gallery), which incorporates many of his talents, even it ain’t all fun and games to man a booth at several weddings and a high school prom of a weekend. Louise, is a former student worker at the library I used to work at, an uber Kurt Vonnegut fan (she is truly in mourning), and now the very comptent editor of Lewis and Clark Community College’s student newspaper, The Bridge. I have a distinct feeling that I am one day going to be saying about her “I knew her when…” Kirstin is a wonderful writer and the editor of catapult, to which I submit pieces upon occasion. And last, but certainly not least, Aaron is writer and poet, whom I am just getting to know and who runs an impressive poetry series at the Schlafly Tap Room, which I encourage you to attend if you are in the St. Louis area. Thank you to all of you judges for bringing such talent, judgment, and energy to this contest, and for taking the time to read haiku.
And now, without further preamble, the results….
Best Autumn Haiku
Grey clouds, ominous
over golden, harvest fields-
a time to gather.

Runner Up: (tie) Heidi Vincent and Laura Wachsmuth
Best Winter Haiku: (tie)
Heidi Vincent
Frost buries the pane
chilly snap of a bough’s branch
Winter takes its kill

Laura Wachsmuth
Throw a little snow
up into moon-lit branches
crow wings flood the night

Runner Up: H.H.</strong
Grand Prize Winner: (tie)
Heidi Vincent and Laura WachsmuthRunner Up: H.H.
After six judges each assigning scores out of 10 to each haiku, Heidi Vincent and Laura received identical scores on their autumn and winter haiku respectively. They both scored a 94 out of a possible 120 points for the winning scores for their pairs of haiku. And to the commenter on a previous post who lamented the use of spreadsheets in judging, well I agree in principle that poetry should have no use for spreadsheets, yet it was the simplest way to quantify scores and try to fairly determine who received the most consistent recognition across a panel of diverse judges.
Congratulations to Heidies and to Laura. And many thanks to each of you entrants who participated. I truly enjoyed reading your pieces which follow and conducting the contest. Here’s hoping for even more entrants for Haiku Contest II to be held sometime in the dead of the coming winter for spring and summer haiku.
Ah, and the prizes. Well, in response to the tie, each winner will get a Toblerone or chocolate bar of her choice, and to the four extant prizes listed here and here, I am going to add this and this. Laura and Heidi V, you are just going to have to negotiate how to divide them.
And now on to the the point of all of this and to some lovely haiku…
Susan August
harvest peacekeeper –
scarecrow stands where the fields merge
to exchange their crops
waiting in the stream
dates from an old calendar –
ice is gathering

Grey clouds, ominous
over golden, harvest fields-
a time to gather.
Discount-store fruit-cake
Mistletoe hid in pocket.
Christmas mis-givings.

Angela Heirendt
The bright heavens hold
Arms replete with painted leaves:
Rapturous embrace.
Hush of silent pond
Winter dusk sunlight descends
With sparkles of frost

Carol Lah
Eating toblerone
Leaves crunching under my feet
Cool breeze runs through hair
Rolling balls of snow
Sledding on rough icy hill
Toblerone on mind

Heidi Vincent
Winter shakes Autumn
And her leaves fall to her feet
She turns, blushing spring
Frost buries the pane
chilly snap of a bough’s branch
Winter takes its kill

Laura Wachsmuth
Whisper autumn’s here
A single leaf turns and falls
Red on withered green
Throw a little snow
up into moon-lit branches
crow wings flood the night

Haiku Contest: The Judging Has Begun

Well, it has begun. The haiku have been submitted to the judges, and the results will be announced early next week.
Here are several of my own following the rules of the contest and reflective of my spending some of my youth in small towns in St. Louis’ Metro East. The challenge of haiku is to focus on one or several evocative images to create an entire picture. Every word can be important. For example, for the last word in the second line of poem two, I mulled over using “feel” or “take” or “drink” or “know” with each conveying a slightly different meaning. Pretty cool, huh. Well, enjoy, even if these are a tad dark.
how is such bounty
mixed with death, harvest queen, masks
candy in the streets

dark, frozen corn stalks
beneath a leaden sky, feel
the rabbit’s warm blood

The Color of Rest is Green: A Vacation in 37 Pictures

It occus to me that I do not really write blog entries any more, a truth that I would like to remedy at some point in the future. I am not sure entirely all the whys and wherefores, but I am convinced they are not all positive. Still, until those posts come, here is a brief photolog of a whirlwind vacation that took me from St. Louis to Milwaukee (to see the Cards win 8-0) to Green Bay (to catch the end of the Packers practicing with the great Favre himself taking snaps) on Thursday; from Green Bay to Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and back on Friday; and through Chicago (to spend the afternoon with Tanya and Heidi) and back to St. Louis on Saturday.
Needless to say it wasn’t the most restful vacation, but it was full of wonderful sites. Including a lot of the great outdoors. And, my, it was great, indeed, and awesome and lovely. My host in Escananba, my friend Dan’s step-father, said while I was talking to him about living in the U.P. that he has come to the conclusion that “The color of rest is green.” And I think that is well worth quoting and true, unless of course you sandwich it between a great, great deal of traveling.
This past weekend was also a great culinary tour as well. Mmm, mmm.
Wednesday: St. Louis pulled pork barbeque at house church.
Thursday: Steak at the Texas Road House (with peanut hulls on the floor)
Friday: Whitefish, Perch, and Walleye platter at the Buck Inn (courtesy of my host)
Saturday: Chicago deep dish at My Pie Pizza on Clark Street and a fully loaded Chicago style hot dog.
And adding to all the natural and culinary splendor was the opportunity to visit Goodwill in the U.P. Now you may think it rather silly to go six hundred miles to simply to hit a thrift store, but though they are very similar generally, it is interesting to see if there are any regional goods. For example, if I had more time to peruse, I could have tried on a pair of snow pants. As it was, I did not think I came away with anything uniquely regional, though I did get a blingerific green t-shirt. But when I got home, I saw that my $4.99 green, wide-slot toaster, had both English and French writing on it. Pretty cool, eh? The thrift-stores in Chicago along Clark street were surprisingly affordable, but, no, the real thrift stores of Chicago will have to be left for another day, when I can find an accomodating and knowledgeable native to help locate them in all their musty glory.
Finally, thanks, Dan, for helping provide me with such a thoughtful and well-planned vacation, and thanks, Heidi and Tanya, for the silly and fun afternoon in the city of broad shoulders.
OK, without further adieu, here are the 37 pics, which is a lot, but you must know, if you know me at all, that there are actually many more 😉

The Gel Series and Haiku Contest Notice

I am sure there are better things one could be doing when one is leaving for a trip at 6am the next morning, like packing, for example, or sleeping perhaps. But I saw this cool angular pattern of bubbles the other day after I had used some gel and as I packed it tonight I wanted to capture it for posterity. The first two shots are sink shots, the latter with some extra lighting.
Oh, and the haiku contest deadline is extended till next Wednesday. So, far we have only four entries, and with such great prizes on the line. Plus, I am going to be out of town for a whirlwind vacation, so that gives you haiku procrastinators some extra time. Come on now, we really have some quality judges in the wings, so lets get them a little more material to work on.