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

June 3, 2008

good haiku by kids

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 4:56 pm

Yesterday, we talked about an infant who fell unnoticed out of his baby stroller (and under a bus). Today, I want to spotlight children who have apparently never been dropped on their heads, and who — more importantly — have been nurturing their inner poetic muses. These kids have been writing some pretty darn good haiku.

The Haiku Society of America has just announced the 2008 Winners of the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition. The Virgilio Competition was founded in 1990 and is for students in Grades 7-12. It is sponsored and administered by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association in memory of Nicholas A. Virgilio, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, who died in 1989. [See the Nick Virgilio Poetry Project Website for more about Nick.] HSA cosponsors the contest, provides judges, and publishes the contest results in its journal, Frogpond, and at the HSA Website.

Tony Pupello and f/k/a Honored Guest Pamela Miller Ness were the judges for the 2008 Nicholas A. Virgilio Haiku Contest — which attracted 85 entries. Click to see their Judges Commentary, which notes:

“We would like to express our appreciation to all the young poets who submitted to this year’s contest and to the teachers who instructed them in the craft and special characteristics of haiku. It was a privilege to be invited to enter their haiku moments and a pleasure to share their imagery and language. . . . Many of the entries were sophisticated in their use of imagery and juxtaposition, and were very proficiently crafted. As with very fine haiku and senryu, many were layered and functioned on multiple levels. . . .”

In the Virgilio Winners Circle you will once again find students of poet-teacher Tom Painting — one of our very first Honored Guest Poets (since May 27, 2004). Indeed, five of the six winning poems were written by students at the School for the Arts, in Rochester, NY. (my birthplace), where Tom teaches Creative Writing. Three 12th graders from the School of the Arts had winning haiku: Asha Bishi (with two poems), Alexa Navarez and Desire Collier. In addition, 7th grader Gracie Elliot had a winner. Somehow, one non-Rochesterian — Lauren Fresch, grade 12, Sandusky, OH — had a winner, too. [Since 2003, the Virgilio Contest winners have been unranked; don’t get me started.]

f/k/a does not publish poems without the author’s permission, so we urge you to click here for the 2008 Virgilio Contest Winners to see what the fuss is all about. Of course, if any of the winners leaves a comment or sends an email granting permission, we’d be most pleased to add them right here.

We also want to remind you about the website Two Dragonflies, which features haiku and music for children, and is presented by award-winning children’s song-writer and haiku poet, Johnette Downing. The site has information about haiku, including an Educator’s Packet, and lots of links.

On its Haiku by Children page, Two Dragonflies has four poems by another young Rochesterian, who is still too young to enter the Virgilio Contest — Sarah Painting, who we’ve told you about here and there, and who is a 4th-grader and the daughter of Tom Painting. Two of those poems can be found in our “introduction to Sarah Painting” (Sept. 16, 2007). Here are the other two from Two Dragonflies:

watching a bee
skim the flowers-
summer’s end

November 11th
cemetery flags
Old and tattered

……………… by Sarah Painting – Two Dragonflies

You will find more poems by kids at Two Dragonflies — along with inspiration and instruction to help nurture more young haijin. Also, every day, you can click on the HSA Virgilio Contest Collection page to see the annual winners since 1990. I’m inspired by all the young haiku talent I’ve seen demonstrated today. After a nap, I hope to write a celebratory haiku, too, with beginner’s mind.


  1. I like that last one, nice :)

    Comment by Wu-yi — June 3, 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  2. You have really pointed to some wonderful haikus. Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by meghnak — June 4, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  3. My greetings and congratulations to Sarah. I’ve been a fan for years!

    Comment by John Stevenson — June 5, 2008 @ 5:37 am

  4. […] Society of America Recognizes SOTA Students – f/k/a blog and Haiku Society of […]

    Comment by Step Off! « SOTA Alumni Connect - News and Links for School of the Arts Alumni — June 17, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  5. These haiku’s are amazing. I wish I could write like that, and im getting my masters in English. guess im going to fail. muhaahhah

    Comment by Susan — January 22, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

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