The New Zealand Poetry Society is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 International Poetry Competition. With over 1,400 entries, the four judges were delighted at the amount of talented writing that was entered from around the world.

OPEN SECTION
Judge: Kiri Piahana-Wong

1st Place:
‘Alumni Magazine by Margaret Moores, Auckland.

2nd Place:
‘A selection of papers translated from
birdsong’ by Susan Wardell, Dunedin.

3rd Place:
‘To Pluto on the occasion of its demotion
from being a planet’ by Kerry Dalton, Kapiti Coast.

Highly Commended:
‘The Rock’, by Joanna Fahey, Auckland  
‘Four photographs’ and ‘Lands soared over by the hawk’ by Kim Martins, Kerikeri
‘See You in the Morning’ by Ciaran Fox, Dunedin  
‘Te Mahi Piupiu’ by Fern Campbell, Kapiti Coast  
‘How to buy fish in New Zealand’ by Laurice Gilbert, Wellington  

Commended:
’47a’ by Fern Campbell, Kapiti Coast  
‘a city climbs up this smoke’ and ‘If I had been born a pohutukawa’ by Marion Moxham, Palmerston North  
‘What the thunder said’ by Laurice Gilbert, Wellington  
‘My dear’ by Cherry Hill, Christchurch   
‘flag this one’ by Vaughan Rapatahana, Mangakino  
‘My being’ by Helen Yong, Christchurch  
‘I Never Forgot’ by Wes Lee, Kapiti Coast  
‘the widow’ by Jeni Curtis, Christchurch  
‘Downtown Reflections’ by Janice Marriott, Auckland  
‘root-bound’ by Catherine Moxham, Palmerston North  
‘Borders’ by Andrea Ewing, Auckland  
‘Great South Desert’ by Victor Billot, Dunedin  
‘Snowglobe’ by Amanda Hunt, Rotorua  

 

*

It was an honour to judge the Open Section of 2019 International Poetry Competition. I enjoyed the breadth and depth of work submitted. In terms of topic choice, I noticed a lot of poems about fathers – absent fathers, deceased fathers, estranged fathers. Less poetry about mothers, although those were there too.

Poetry has long been a vehicle for political expression and protest. Many entrants bravely tackled the Christchurch mosque shooting in their poems. It’s an event we need poetry about, it can’t be written about or talked about enough; nonetheless, it’s a difficult topic to write on well. It’s very easy to fall into sermonising – straight description or narrative that doesn’t really add anything, and cliché. Still, keep these poems coming.

Mortality in general was a preoccupation. Many entrants were concerned with the travails of older age. As I enter my own ‘middle years’ this topic is on my mind much more than it was! However, aging is another topic that is hard to write on well. It can come off as moaning and complaining, which doesn’t engage the reader. Two outstanding poems on ageing made it into the Highly Commended and Commended sections, respectively. These were ‘See You in the Morning’ and ‘Downtown Reflections’. Quite a number more made me smile in recognition but did not make the final cut.

A number of people wrote poetry about their gardens – I have to confess that I have a weakness for garden poems. As I would expect from a competition that attracts many NZ entries, there was a notable focus on the natural world in general. Many of these poems were excellent.

I read a large number of poems where a single line or two jumped out as being exceptional, sadly this was not enough to save the poem as a whole. In a similar vein, there were good poems ruined by one cliched line.

The poem I selected as the winner, ‘Alumni Magazine,’ was one I returned to again and again. It had a deft light touch and a depth of detail that I found exceptional. The use of present tense to describe the old photograph was effective in bringing it to startling, vivid life. A stunning poem on every level. The second placegetter, ‘A selection of papers translated from birdsong,’ is quite a different poem, but one that to me captured the deep mystery and something of the wildness of the birds it describes. Finally, in third place, ‘To Pluto on the occasion of its demotion from being a planet,’ we have a wry, dryly funny poem with every word in the right place.

When selecting the Highly Commended poems, I looked for poetry that packed an emotional punch and/or drew a strong visceral response from me. With these poems, I did not require that every line be perfect if the overall effect of the poem was strong. I adored the poem ‘The Rock’, even if the title conjured up immediate visual images of Dwayne Johnson rather that the rock in the bay that the poem so lovingly describes. I decided I would overlook this issue. A poem I have already mentioned, ‘See You in the Morning’, had some lines that perhaps could have been better expressed; nonetheless, the last two lines brought tears to my eyes every time I read them. I still feel very emotional about this poem even after multiple readings.

In the Commended Section, I have selected quite a wide variety of themes and topics in the poems. I looked for good solid writing that impressed me in different ways. It goes without saying that there were many, many wonderful poems that I was not able to place. I’ve always been aware of the somewhat arbitrary nature of competitions, but never more so than in this one where I was the judge. While I am satisfied I have made a strong and thoughtful selection, I’m very aware that a different judge may have chosen an entirely different list of poems. A poetry competition is certainly not as random as a lottery, as I believe that writers and judges can agree on qualities that all good poems possess, but by way of encouragement if you have not placed this time – do continue submitting each year, as every year there is a chance of a radically different result. And to the poets reading this, it was a privilege to read your poems. Thank you.


Ngā mihi nui,
Kiri Piahana-Wong

 

 

JUNIOR OPEN SECTION
Judge: Miriam Barr


1st Place:
‘pith/silt/ cowlick’ by Ria Hermans, Newlands College, Wellington.

Secondary Runner-Up:
‘The Apple of Eden was Antibacterial Soap’ by Charlotte Boyle, Cashmere High School, Christchurch

Primary/Intermediate Runner-up:
‘Audrey’ by Millie Sarjeant, Selwyn House School,
Christchurch

Highly Commended:
‘Choppy Waters Run Deep Too by Charlotte Boyle, Cashmere High School, Christchurch.
But My Son by Thomas Forsey, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.
Bird’ by Pieta Mackle Bayley, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.
The Pigeons by Cadence Chung, Wellington High School, Wellington.

Commended:
I am The Strongest Person In The World by Harry Klouwens, St Kentigern Boys’ School, Auckland.
Tainted in Silverby Fatima Khan, Newlands College, Wellington.
And Still They Were Perfectby Avni Labhsetwar, Newlands College,
Wellington.
‘Four Course Meal’ by Bella Warren, Wellington High School, Wellington.
‘Because you insist on eating breakfast together’ and ‘Chinese Traditional Medicine’ by Victoria Sun, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland.

 

*

It has been a true pleasure to read the entries in the Open Junior Section of the NZ Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition. My judging criteria were simple, I was looking for poems that hooked me from the start, held my interest, and left something with me after the reading was done. Eventually I whittled 131 poems down to about 50, then down to my 12 favourites. These poems blew my simple criteria out of the water – they have depth, novelty, form, structure, music, and truth. It seemed impossible to compare the ‘goodness’ of poems that come from such different traditions as my selection did, but I decided I could compare their ‘completeness’. So I looked at how I would edit these poems if I was helping to prepare them for publication. Then I just let my preference guide me – and my love for the
avante garde won in the end.

The overall winner stood out from my bunch of favourites for its creative use of form and structure. Five columns visually mirror the tracks and grooves referred to in the poem and the slashes remind me of Adrienne Rich – I wanted to see even more of this. I like that it does away with traditional sentence structures and has a fluidity that reminded me of the inside of a mind. Yet it isn’t so fluid as to fall apart; repeating words and themes act as touchstones to bring the threads together. It flows from my mouth when I read it aloud, and there are moments where this poem just seems to understand us, “in some ways you remind yourself of the people around you / in many ways you try not to.” The same could be said about another poem called ‘Prelude’, which seems to be written by the same author, they have such a clearly identifiable voice, and which delivers us the line, “there is something carnivorous about growing up.” That’s a line I wish I wrote. It was a close contender for one of the top spots. I was only allowed to choose 13.

The Secondary Runner-up is a great example of lyric poetry and was one of the pieces among my top favourites where I couldn’t find anything to edit. ‘The Apple of Eden was Antibacterial Soap’ gives us a familiar mythology with a unique, personal twist that surprises yet at the same time makes perfect sense and carries recognisable kernels of truth: “I understand why Eve wanted to leave the garden. It is hard to be alone when there are two of you.” There is rhythm, flow, structure, tension, and layers of meaning. Every word is there for a purpose.

What I love about the Primary/Intermediate Runner-up, ‘Audrey’ is how it’s so concise yet still complete, and the way it uses simple evocative images to tell a story and show the passage of time: “She knits socks, they get longer. She braids her hair, it gets longer.” I find it quite remarkable that this poem is written by someone 12 years old or younger.

The Highly Commended list holds four poems that each grabbed me in their own ways and wouldn’t let go. They are clean, fluid, creative, moving, and honest. ‘But My Son’ condenses the perspectives of a whole community into a prose poem on a topic that is dear to my heart as a poet who also happens to be a psychologist. There is wisdom between the lines of this poem that I think all adults involved in the lives of young people need to read. ‘The Pigeons’ is a poem that delights me for its creative use of language. At first I thought, oh a typo, but no this is Pigeon English of a new variety and I love it. There is a certain kind of music to it, an almost pecking rhythm that is aptly pigeon-like. Again, I found myself surprised by a new perspective. There’s a certain kind of bliss in finding a poem that can surprise like that. There are many surprises in the poems on the Highly Commended list. We find whales inside us. I love that idea from ‘Choppy Waters Run Deep Too’. The
imagery in this poem sings inside me, as does the imagery in the last poem to mention from this list, the bitter-sweet and surreal narrative poem, ‘Bird’: “The hill outside our school is a barrow for a bird. No one quite remembers when he was buried there. […] and sometimes when the moon opens its pale yellow eyes it thinks it hears him singing.

I want to congratulate all of the poets who received honourable mentions. Many thanks to all who sent their work for consideration. I hope you keep writing and editing and writing and sending your poems out into the world. I have learned so much from reading your words.


Arohanui,
Miriam Barr

 

 

HAIKU SECTION
Judge: Gregory Piko


1st Place/Jeanette Stace Memorial Award:
‘thyme for stew’
by Jac Jenkins, Kohukohu.

2nd Place:
‘from the night’ by Katherine Raine, Milton.

3rd Place:
‘new year’s morning’ by Vanessa Proctor, New South Wales, Australia.

4th Place:
hot night by Sandra Simpson, Tauranga.

5th Place:
‘garden lounge’ by Laurel Astle, New South Wales, Australia.

Highly Commended:
‘spring wind’ and ‘love in the afternoon’ by Katherine Raine, Milton.
‘artists’ retreats’ by Vanessa Proctor, New South Wales, Australia.
‘camping under the stars’ by Scott Mason, New York, USA.
‘coastquake’, ‘inner city’, and ‘boot-bogged’ by Nola Borrell, Lower Hutt.
‘galvanised nails’ and ‘house sale’ by Barabara Strang, Christchurch.
‘prairie thunder’ and ‘rosy dawn’ by Debbie Strange, Manitoba, Canada

Commended:
‘backstroke’ by Laurel Astle, NSW, Australia.
‘crosshatching . . . by Margaret Beverland, Katikati.
‘trickling’ by Keith Nunes, Pahiatua.
‘mountain path’ by Jenny Fraser, Mt Maunganui.
‘twigs’ and ‘string of sparrows’ by Marion Moxham, Palmerston North.
‘brushing past…’ and  ‘young calves’ by Elaine Riddell, Hamilton.
‘pearl barleyby Patsy Turner, Akaroa.
‘honeybee’ by Catherine Bullock, Waihi.
‘they’re no longer’ by Barbara Strang, Christchurch.

 

*

Thank you to everyone who submitted their haiku for this year’s competition. One of the joys of judging is the way you get to spend more time with each poem than might otherwise be the case.

Reading a poem this way and that, changing the emphasis in your mind, having a ‘light bulb’ moment of insight or discovering a haiku that leads your thoughts in an unexpected direction. Collectively, reading your haiku was a delightful experience in all of these respects. For the most part, I think the poems demonstrated a strong familiarity with what you might call the tangible aspects of writing a haiku. You know the elements of a haiku: strong images, expressed in the present tense, comprising a phrase and fragment, the use of juxtaposition, usually a reference to nature or a season, and so on. And while most poems were written in three lines, a significant number did experiment with form. Indeed, among the awarded and commended haiku are examples written in one, two, three and four lines.

Nevertheless, I would suggest it benefits us all to go back from time to time and re-read old texts or pick up some of the newer how-to-write-haiku books. Revisiting this material can refresh our ideas on the form and structure of haiku and help ensure we don’t fall into bad writing habits.

But how to master the intangibles of writing a good haiku? A good haiku makes you feel something. Makes you want to spend more time with the image. Makes you want to memorise the words and carry them around in your head. Achieving this is the difficult part.

As a haiku offers only a brief reference to an image, the poem’s depth of feeling generally flows from what is not said.

Stephen Addiss, in his book The Art of Haiku (Shambhala, 2012), puts it this way:

“haiku suggest rather than define their meanings, leaving much of the process up to the reader or listener. In effect, the audience joins the writer in completing the poem.”

Many other writers have expressed similar sentiments in attempting to explain the magic of haiku. The great challenge is to achieve a poem that has lightness of touch and depth of feeling at the same time. While we write in English, the feelings experienced on reading a haiku often reflect those of a Japanese aesthetic, including serenity, natural beauty, impermanence, loneliness, imperfection, simplicity and melancholy.

Good haiku don’t spell out what the reader should feel; they trust the reader to complete the poem for themselves. In large measure, this is what distinguishes the best haiku from the others. Many haiku depict the beauty, humour or pathos of an image but don’t necessarily leave space for the reader to experience the poem in their own way. The best writers are willing to let go of their poem when it is only half done, trusting they have enough on paper to spark an emotional engagement with the reader.

Once again, thank you to everyone who submitted work to this year’s competition. But thank you, in particular, to those prize-winning writers who were willing to let me, and you, complete their poems.

First Prize, and Jeanette Stace Memorial Award: ‘thyme for stew’ evokes a domestic serenity while also engaging the sense of smell, sense of touch and encouraging the reader to consider both the character of the man preparing the stew and his relationship with the writer. Can you smell the thyme? Can you smell the stew? Can you feel the roughness of each stalk as his fingers tear the tiny leaves of thyme away, enabling them to fall into the pot? These few words offer the reader a sensory richness. What do we know of this man? Perhaps he tends a herb garden and has grown the thyme for use in his stews. Perhaps he works with rough, weathered hands. Quite possibly his hands are creative, artistic. This may very well be a man of music whose hands are naturally rhythmic in everything they do. There does appear to be a simple comfort between the writer and the man. Perhaps they are a couple and the writer is contemplating the rhythm of his loving fingers as he makes the stew. Alternatively, he may be a parent who has made stews all his adult life and the writer is considering how much longer they will be witness to this ritual. This haiku is about a man making stew. However, the way you complete the poem is likely to be influenced by your own experience of men who cook. We are fortunate the writer has left us so much freedom to engage with the subject matter. Plenty of food for thought here. Well done.

The Second Prize: ‘from the night’ reminds me of Matsuo Basho’s advice that his followers should “go to the pine to learn of the pine”. That is to say, if a writer really wants to depict the nature or character of a pine tree, then he or she must study the pine tree closely. Hopefully, identifying something that can trigger for the reader a way of understanding the object more deeply. In this case, the writer emphasises the owl’s ability to navigate confidently through the darkness. Inviting us to consider how the bird spends the night. Hunting in a circumstance where humans are likely to be ineffective. Using skills we do not possess to provide food for a nestful of chicks. The other key elements of this poem, of course, is its presentation in a single line which reinforces the certainty of the owl’s movement within a dark environment.

The Third Prize went to: ‘new year’s morning’ and in my mind, the date is being penciled on a fertile egg which will hopefully hatch in 21 days’ time. How simple is a hen’s egg? How beautiful it is. How filled with potential. We can marvel at a warm egg and all it holds. We can contemplate the life that might emerge. In this context, the poem portrays the fragile nature of new life amid the hope we hold for the future, all reinforced by the fact the image occurs at the start of a new year.

The Fourth Prize: ‘hot night’ asked: What is happening to this rat in the heat of the night? Perhaps this is a rat we wanted dead. Perhaps we feel sorrow for the rat. Either way, this is a strong haiku that highlights the impermanence of life and makes us think about how lives end. Indeed, it can make us think about how our own life might end.

The Fifth Prize went to ‘garden lounge’ and fairy lights are often strung in the garden for a party. Now, it might be that the party is over and the writer is able to contrast the activity of the revellers with the isolation one feels when staring at the stars. This haiku seems not to be about loneliness but, rather, about the feeling of being alone in the cosmos.

Gregory Piko

 

 

HAIKU JUNIOR SECTION
Judge: Anne Curran

Primary/Intermediate Prizewinners:

1st Place:

‘orange zinnia’ by Nikita Ballard, Te Huruhi School, Waiheke Island.

2nd Place:
‘late afternoon‘ by Ameer Livne, Ilam School, Christchurch.

3rd Place:
‘late at night‘ by Susanne Rajapaksha, Ilam School,
Christchurch.

Secondary Prizewinners:

1st place/ Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize:
‘first blossom’ by Evie Johnson, St. Margaret’s College,
Christchurch.

2nd Place:
‘early morning’ by Finnian Bierwirth, St Andrew’s College,
Christchurch.

3rd Place:
‘a deer sleeps‘ by Katie Zhang, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.

Highly Commended:
‘hedge’ and ‘autumn morning’ by Nikita Ballard, Te Huruhi School, Waiheke Island.
‘under his bed’ by Evie Johnson, St. Margaret’s College, Christchurch.
‘his empty chair’ by Oliver Graves, St Andrew’s College in Christchurch.

Commended:
‘behind the pine’ by Evie Johnson, St. Margaret’s College, Christchurch.
‘waves swirl’ by Lily Ellis, St Andrew’s Preparatory School, Christchurch.
‘stormy Antarctica’ by Saskia Fitzgerald, St Andrew’s Preparatory School, Christchurch.
‘dawn,’ by Mickey Zhao, Ilam School, Christchurch.
‘sunny afternoon’ by Emma Geddes, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.
‘Christmas’ by Sophie Baynes, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.
‘at the festival’ by Alice Murphy, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.
’empty playground’ by Zoe Sullivan, Heaton Intermediate School, Christchurch.
‘on the road’ by Samantha Lascelles, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.
‘lonely carousel’ by Emma Prince, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.
‘silenceby Lily Champion-Smith,  St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.

*

I feel privileged to be called to this task of judging haiku written by our world’s young people, New Zealanders and international entrants. First of all I would like to offer my congratulations and sincere thanks to all contestants for taking this chance to pen and share their haiku poetry. I enjoyed reading all of your poems to make my selections, although it was difficult to whittle these down to place winners and just fifteen commendations. I hope that all contestants might continue to read and write haiku in future NZPS competitions.

My reading of your poems was driven by that same sense of enjoyment and passion that has inspired my writing of haiku verses over recent years. I have learned through my own haiku journey that writing good haiku does take time, effort, practice, patience, perseverance, and perhaps even a little confidence and risk-taking. I know that I have much more to learn. But there is some satisfaction in knowing that you can continue to improve your writing of haiku at your own pace, and that with each passing year there will be a wealth of new experience to observe in your writing, whatever its nature. You might also take encouragement, inspiration and guidance from the writing skill of your peers and mentors. I believe that what other writers can do with language, challenges you to find your own voice.

There were 175 entries in the Primary/Intermediate group and 39 entries in the Secondary group. These young poets in the Primary/Intermediate section wrote on a variety of topics. Many of them chose to write about an emotional experience, feelings including depression, confusion, frustration, sadness, persistence, fear, anxiety, boredom, rage, and triumph. The language these young poets used to communicate these intense emotions was sometimes florid and expressive, other times blunt and raw. They poured themselves into these poems.

However, I think that an outpouring of emotions can be weighty material to craft into a haiku verse. In the haiku they write, these young poets take their readers into a variety of settings, somewhere as close as the school playground, or somewhere as far away as the jungle, and even a crystal temple. When reading through this volume of haiku poetry I focus my search on some mastery of haiku form. Skilful use of punctuation appropriate to haiku form and tradition can elevate or spoil reading of your haiku. I sometimes found myself asking the question, “What does that poet’s use of a comma add to the flow of the haiku?” or “Is that poet’s use of a capital letter necessary?” Where possible, take the chance to read up on this aspect, to critique and learn from how other writers approach it.

In the Secondary section, poets wrote on many interesting topics: hospital, New Year, underwater sea life, suicide, nature and natural elements including the ocean, sunrise, a seasonal breeze, a fox. These contestants have shown a willingness to be innovative and to experiment with haiku form. They produced one line, two line, three line and even four line haiku poems for me to consider. Some of these poems demonstrate a lovely sense of humour, ranging from cheeky to wry to unique.

The Primary/Intermediate Prizewinner, ‘orange zinnia’ has a first line that is vibrant and exciting and creates an interest of contrasts for the reader what follows in line 2. I understand that ‘zinnia’ is quite a stiff, enduring plant, and in the lines of this poem it has attracted the attentions of a delicate blue butterfly. So while one natural element may outlast the other, it seems that here opposites attract and draw sustenance from each other. I enjoyed a cleverness of composition and an economy of words in this haiku. It really does capture a ‘moment in time’, a moment of beauty, and leads me to follow the butterfly with my heart and eyes.

Second Place went to ‘late afternoon’ and this haiku addresses the topic of death in a way that feels tender, gentle and subtle. I like Line 1 “late afternoon” as that is when dusk starts to fall and changes take place inside and outside in preparation for night-time. There might be a flurry of activity as householders draw their blinds, children come inside from the garden to prepare for dinner, and animals take shelter for the night. In this haiku poem a sparrow, a likely frail and exhausted sparrow ‘turns to dust’ and is therefore swallowed into the darkness of night. I think that most young people might relate to this haiku moment at some level.

Third Place went to ‘late at night’ and I enjoyed this haiku for its scope of imagination. In this poem the poet may be sitting in meditation as darkness falls. There might be something holding them in contemplation of an ongoing moment whether it be a sorrow, a relationship, a decision to be made. Alternatively I experience this haiku as a beautiful imagination of the natural elements in synchronicity such that ‘a bird becomes a moon’.
In fable a moon is symbolic and mysterious, known to present many shades of meaning, to take on many shapes and forms.

The Secondary Prizewinners First Place; Jeanette Stace Memorial Award went to ‘first blossom’. This haiku starts with two words ‘first blossom’ that take the reader to spring-time, possibly at a nest or waterway somewhere. That ‘first blossom’ can look, smell, and hang from whatever tree we might choose to imagine, or it might even be a floating blossom. But in this poem it symbolises new life at the waterway. The second phrase leaves the reader to speculate what might be on the tongue. Is it an insect, or perhaps even a plant tip? If a gosling is feeding perhaps the mother is in the picture somewhere, perhaps siblings are crowding in to fight for their share of the rations, or perhaps a protective father is in the background somewhere preening himself. So this haiku creates a world of movement in a reader’s mind. But the principal image is a charming one of a gosling that is trying to make itself known to the world.

Second Place – ‘early morning’ grabs my attention from the start. I love the composition and its economy of language. It presents a scene all too familiar to our young people this century. Line 2 is spare and direct. Line 3 is poetic and speaks volumes about the problem our people face in their natural environment. When reading this poem you can visualise the litter of plastic bags through a river’s arms and feel the pain of its consequence as these arms are rendered useless. The river’s life-force is deprived. Lane 1 ‘early morning’ causes me to reminisce on roaming days down by New Zealand waterways, a simple pleasure that future generations may not realise.

Third Place – ‘a deer sleeps’. The haiku that I choose for third place casts a spell so magical it almost sends the reader herself into a deep sleep in that same forest.

Highly Commended:
I would like to give special mention to ‘silence’, a haiku that uses juxtaposition to effectively capture the complexities of human emotion. A further Highly Commended haiku, ‘his empty chair’ is a verse written in one line form that expresses strong sentiment of grief. Finally I would like to compliment the haiku ‘under his bed’ a haiku that captures the interesting relationship, dangerous or otherwise, of a boy in connection with his viola.

‘autumn morning’ – A sense of desolation pervades the poem. It exposes the reader to the mutuality of two natural elements ‘an autumn breeze’ and ‘a circle of light’ as they connect on an autumn morning. A ‘circle of light’ can, of course fire any reader’s imagination whether it be a streetlamp fading in the early hours, daylight finding its feet in the waking hours, or sunlight trying to break through the ice of an autumn breeze. The phrase is an abstraction that lends itself to many visual plays in a reader’s mind. But, ‘a sweeping breeze’ suggests that changes will almost certainly take effect.

‘late at night’ – I enjoyed this haiku for its scope of imagination. In this poem the poet may be sitting in meditation as darkness falls. There might be something holding them in contemplation of an ongoing moment whether it be a sorrow, a relationship, a decision to be made. Alternatively I experience this haiku as a beautiful imagination of the natural elements in synchronicity such that ‘a bird becomes a moon’. In fable a moon is symbolic and mysterious, known to present many shades of meaning, to take on many shapes and forms.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate all those thirteen young writers in total who receive acknowledgement of a Highly Commended or Commended title. I am sorry that I have not commented on all of your poems in the report, but please feel encouraged by this recognition.

I feel privileged to share the haiku experience with you all this year. Thank you. And once again I wish you the very best of luck for next year.

Anne Curran

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  1. […] The New Zealand Poetry Society are pleased to announce the results of the 2019 International Poetry Competition. With over 1,400 entries, the four judges were delighted at the amount of talented writing that was entered from around the world. OPEN SECTION Judge: Kiri Piahana-Wong1st Place: ‘Alumni Magazine’ by Margaret Moores from Cockle Bay, Auckland. 2nd… — Read on poetrysociety.org.nz/2019/08/29/2019-international-poetry-competition/ […]

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  2. […] can read my report on the results of the haiku competition here. The New Zealand Poetry Society is putting together an anthology of the best writing from all […]

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