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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

July 7, 2006

a summer tradition at Modern Haiku Journal

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 6:00 pm


Summertime often means revisiting special places that offer a familiarity which is both comfortable enough for reminiscing and secure enough to permit new adventures and perspectives.  For haiku lovers, a visit to the Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Awards, at Modern Haiku Journal, has become a rewarding new summer ritual — where we can find poems that ememplify both “the time-tested canons and aesthetics of haiku” and the creative vitality of the finest contemporary haiku poets.

In their Summer 2006 issue (Vol. 37.2), the editors of Modern Haiku announced the winners of the fourth annual competition, which commemorates the life and work of their former editor Robert Spiess.   Once again, the three prize-winning poems and the five honorable-mentions are fine examples of the art and craft of “modern” haiku poetry.  The f/k/a Gang encourages you to start or renew your own tradition of spending a summer break with the Spiess Awards, no reservations needed. 

Because Spiess Award winners again include a number of our Honored Guest Poets, we are pleased to share their winning selections with our readers.

The 2006 Spiess Memorial Contest, First Prize goes to a woman whose trophy case must be getting very crowded — Carolyn Hall.

plum blossoms
I make plans
for my ashes


In fact, Carolyn may be on the verge of creating her own haijin summertime tradition, as she also took First Prize for the 2005 Spiess Memorial Contest, with:

wild berries —
one training wheel
lifts round the curve


Two other members of our f/k/a family were also honored in this year’s Spiess Awards:

Jim Kacian took Third Prize for:

I read her poem
                     jim kacian

Honorable Mention went to “Dr. Bill,” w.f. owen for


snow flurries
the square dancers

                     w.f. owen


Although you’ll need a subscription to fully enjoy the poems and essays found in Modern Haiku, an online sample is available for each issue at their website.  You can find representative haiku and senryu from the Summer 2006 issue of Modern Haiku here.  They include more poems from our f/k/a Honorable Guest Poets:


last of the daffodils
brrng brrng brrng of a bicycle
approaching from behind
                                         Carolyn Hall  


a yellow bag
over the gas nozzle—
dog-day cicadas
                                Peggy Willis Lyles  




unstrung pearls
the children divide
her estate
                                 w.f. owen  



out of the blue
the window washer
brightens my day
                                     Tom Painting 


One tradition that has just ended at Modern Haiku is the editorship of Lee Gurga.  The new editor, Charles Trumbull, discusses Lee’s stewardship and his own acceptance of the honor and responsibility, in this Letter .  Lee Gurga knows a thing or two about summer and traditions:


a bike in the grass
one wheel turning —
summer afternoon


hidden waterfall —
they come to see
why we’re not speaking




graduation day —
my son & I side by side
knotting our ties


      Lee Gurga, from Fresh Scent


Now, it’s back to our f/k/a online summer siesta. 

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