Haiku Contest, Fall 2008

First, the entries…
The entries are listed below according to alphabetical order of the poet’s last name. The results are listed at the bottom. If you are a patient sort and want to play a game, get a piece of paper and note your favorites as you go down and see how you compare with judges. Feel free to comment on the bottom. I hear that “She was robbed…” and “What, judge, are you blind” are phrases frequently heard at the end of such contests.

Following the results, are brief, judge-supplied bios and some fun facts about the judging, which are listed anonymously to avoid mobs with torches. Oh, and please check out the blogs of the poets who supplied them (that is one of the purposes of having blog based contests, after all).

Well, without further adieu…

Fruit Yet Unpicked
Long-unnoticed, ripe
abundance fades on the vine.
Frostbit, sigh, goodbye.

Fall Redeemed
Tree limbs denuded
leafy splendor litters lawns-
Clothe yourselves in white.



Pretty as they fall
Then the monotonous task
Of raking them up

Darkened stormy skies
Slashing winds and bitter cold
Such melodrama

Carissa B.
Saint Louis, Missouri


Amidst the dull brown
the wild, flaming scarlet shows
prescience of spring

Through dreary gray skies
Snow falls like cigarette ash
brimming past the cusp

Renee Badenoch
Saint Louis, Missouri



Autumn thinks ahead,
But remembers warmth behind.
She is full of Joy.

The alarm clock rips
The shelter of my cocoon.
Cold air slaps my face.

Sally Badenoch
Saint Louis, Missouri


Warm sun and crisp air,
sweaters released from hiding,
welcome autumn in.

Bundled up we climb
the white hill and fly down on
snow’s magic carpet.

Margaret Deaton
Saint Louis, Missouri


Walking without shoes
We crack the leaves together
Embraced in the cold

How come it’s so cold?
Did we piss off El Niño?
Better grab my scarf

Nathan Gemayel
Saint Louis, Missouri



Close your eyes in fall
Between summer and winter
The trees are naked!

Winter? No….Tundra
Way too cold for most of us
Mailmen wearing shorts?!

Melissa Horton
Saint Louis, Missouri


autumn holds secrets
brilliant beauty in dying
joy unspeakable

cold wind and raindrops
conspire to transform bare twigs
and God’s eyes twinkle

Carrie Jones
University City, Missouri


Crispy russet leaves
Fresh air smacks the mountain high
Grape juice in my mouth

Moon ices over
Tears are falling on dead leaves
My dear Master’s gone

Mae Linat
Pau, France



cuddle up deep to
burnt orange autumn connection
in smoked coffee talks

mixed winter feelings
sweaters and blankets and fire
hunched shoulders cold toes

April Minninger
Saint Louis, Missouri



a lone flower waits
the leaves falling around it
announce its demise

amidst stabbing cold
an ancient hound collapses
winter marches on

Andrew Mollenkof
Chattanooga, Tennessee


the year is crashing:
brilliant at first, then softly
down to the gutter.

pale moons drift along,
sullen faces like paintings
caught by early dusk.

Bob Nickles
Saint Louis, Missouri


The green season’s song
crescendos. Listen, the trees are
whispering good-bye.

Barren elms hold their
breath. Oaks unleaved await Spring’s
collective exhale.

Vera Ramsey
Saint Louis, Missouri


breathless, awaiting
soft crunch of first frost, leaves fade
earth is in the air

sleeping, i am not
into the chill must we go
straining to the sun

Travis Scott
Saint Louis, Missouri (but soon to be Auckland, New Zealand)



Darkness too quickly:
Red, yellow leaves in my hair,
Smoke scent of evening

No sound no color–
Spear slices through the doorway
Piercing skin of white

S. Brady Shuman
Saint Louis, Missouri


Except for evergreens, leaves of most trees
Change from green to yellow to brown
Then fall to return the next spring

From cool to cold to freezing weather
Winter shows one of it’s various faces
At different regions of the World

Ivor Umbor
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.



The red and yellow
Fingers reaching to the sky
Reach to me as well.

Alive! My warm breath
Hovers in the cutting wind
Death beneath my feet.

Jeremy Weese
Saint Louis, Missouri


Autumn in Norfolk
A thousand starlings
swing and swoop around crisp sky –
sweet- flung wing ribbon.

Rosy eve’s riband
strings perfect moon pearl. Aching
to stop, I rush by.

Alison Wiltbank
Kampala Uganda



The Last November?
End of the church age
New antichrist has arrived
Lather, rinse, repeat

A Dixie Lament
I can see my breath
My skin is itchy and dry
Why did I move north

Randall Yelverton
Camdenton, Missouri

And the results? Drumroll please……………….

2nd Runner Up, Autumn Haiku
Nathan Gemayel

1st Runner Up, Autumn Haiku
Alison Wiltbank

Best Autumn Haiku
Bob N.

2nd Runner Up, Winter Haiku
Renee Badenoch

1st Runner Up, Winter Haiku
Alison Wiltbank

Best Winter Haiku
Bob N.


2nd Runner Up Best Haiku Pair
Nathan Gemayel

1st Runner Up Best Haiku Pair
Alison Wiltbank

Best Haiku Pair, Grand Prize
Bob N.

Congratulations to, well, Bob! And all the other winners. Bob very graciously suggested that he keep only the Grand Prize of $20, a Dassler original matted and framed, and publication in Catapult for himself, and suggested that I give the other prizes to those who came second and third overall, which means that Alison Wiltbank and Nathan Gemayel each win $10 and a matted Dassler original. Perhaps in a subsequent blog post I can post the pictures the winners selected for their prizes. And, congratulations to all who placed: Bob, Alison, Nathan, and Renee.

Also, a huge, huge thank you all my contestants. Your haiku were wonderful and you gave me such great pleasure in making this contest so great this year.

And the contest surely would not be as good and meaningful without such a great panel of judges. Seriously, I am very thankful they chose to honor this smallish blog by agreeing to judge. Admittedly, they were rather strict, but that can only mean good things for the quality of the contest as it goes on to future. Thank you each of you.

Aaron Belz

Odetta Fields
is the principal of The Freedom School and, in principle, longing for Christ’s kingdom revelation.

Angela Heirendt
Angela applauds
each wordsmith’s lovely haiku:
Fall has been beckoned.

Winter is lauded
for the austere scene she’ll play.
when the sun is low.

Jeremy Clive Huggins
writes prose and judges fashion
hate mail no thank you

(And only as I retyped this, did I realize that Jeremy’s name and a bio together are a haiku. Groan. That shows my judging ability..)

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

Heidi Vincent
graduated from Calvin College an unemployable Lit major specializing in theater. Sadly, she is quite unqualified to judge Haikus, nevertheless, she does so with an obsessive thoroughness which makes up for her lack of qualification.

Judging Fun Facts
The average scores per poem by the judges and their high and low scores are listed below. The order below does not correspond to the alphabetical listing of the judges above.

Out of a highest possible score of 10
Low: 3, High: 10, Average: 6.9
Low: 2, High: 9, Average: 6.3
Low: 4, High: 9.5, Average: 6.6
Low: 1, High: 9, Average: 5
Low: 0, High: 6.75, Average: 3.6
Low: 2, High: 7, Average: 2.6

So, how Close Was It?
Well, it is gratifying after tabulating so many scores that winners emerge, but it was pretty close in parts.

Autumn Haiku:
2nd Runner Up: 36 / 60 points
1st runner Up: 38.75 / 60 points
Best Autumn Haiku: 39.75 / 60 points

Winter Haiku:
2nd Runner Up: 34.75 / 60 points
1st Runner Up: 36.75 / 60 points
Best Winter Haiku: 43.25 / 60 points

Best Pair
2nd Runner Up: 68.75 / 120 points
1st Runner Up: 75.5 / 120 points
Grand Prize Winner: 83 / 120 points

Well, that’s a wrap. Until next year, keep counting those syllables on your fingers and dreaming up concentrated images of beauty and truth, humor and grace.

12 thoughts on “Haiku Contest, Fall 2008

  1. Pingback: OK, so its a little early… « The Dassler Effect

  2. So, as a first comment, let me just say that the esteemed Bob Nickles is a member of the esteemed establishment 715A Interdrive, and–wait for it–now occupies the very room I lived in less than two months ago. Coincidence? Hmm, you be the judge. It is a very small room. Perhaps good for fostering the creation of short, compressed verse.


  3. If the winning entries weren’t so beautifully written I’d be suspicious of a little judge bribery going on….

    Good job all!! Lovely! Lovely! Nice work, too, judges.


  4. Well friends, The Judges decision is final, and all the winners deserve my sincere applause! Still I think that in life, the journey mostly may be more enjoyable than the destination! I have enjoyed almost all of the contributions, since they were GOOD!!! At the end of the day I think, what really matters is “PARTICIPATION!” Thanks!


  5. all of this makes me smile. especially heidi’s “obsessive thoroughness”. thanks for a new experience. i agree, ivor, the journey was enjoyable.


  6. Regarding the “obsessive thoroughness”…That was not an understatement! When I wrote that little blurb, I was kind of kidding, but when Neil posted it I thought, “So true”.


  7. woah. i was so anxious to see the results, yet you can see it took me ages to sit down and read ’em… GREAT WORK! i liked minniger, scott, shuman, wiltbank, and yelverton’s haikus best. gotta be honest. but other than april, those are all people i don’t know, so maybe it’s just the allure of unknown authors.

    ok, i’m gonna go back up and read all the scores. i just had to post a “first reaction” comment after reading through the entries. no, wait, i’m gonna read the entries again. they were just that good. then the scores. then maybe i’ll have something else to say.


  8. …almost to the scores, but must comment before i forget: mad props to angela and jeremy for the haikus within their judge bios!


  9. yeah. it’s a sign of my obsessive performance anxiety that i immediately turned all the reported scores into classroom grades. and found out that nobody got an A. here’s to the day when i can write (and live) without measuring and judging!

    and that brings me to what i really want to say. who can think of a more grace-loving and grace-giving host for our contest that the author of thedasslereffect? three cheers for grace!


  10. Pingback: Next year it will have to be a “haiku / senryu / zappai” contest « The Dassler Effect

  11. Pingback: New Catapult, Old Work and New « The Dassler Effect

  12. PS: what about that $20?! i’m loving the print… but i don’t think i ever saw that cool green jackson! how about you buy me breakfast and we call it even?

    PPS: i will not forget to bring this up in person. i’m absent-minded, but food is potentially on the line. i will find you.


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