Another week and more wonderful tips and insights from one of our 2021 NZPS International Poetry Competition judges!! Simon Hanson, who is judging the Haiku adults category, shares with us some of his favourite haiku and highlights the beauty of each one.

Thinking of entering our competition? Entries are open until May 31st, 2021. Go here for full details.

Now let’s hear from Simon!

Simon Hanson

There are so many memorable haiku and I can only mention a few of them. You will have your own list of favourites.

down below
singing to the darkness,
great whales

Buachallán Buí

(translated from the Irish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky) 

Immersed for a moment in a world of others, other beings inhabiting other mental spaces (of which we can barely begin to fathom). The first and second lines are so rich in suggestion, leading the reader into wonderings of their own…  singing to the darkness is a line I shall never forget…

Night shades disappear

and within each dew begins

a play of hues . . .

J W Hackett

Such a delicate observation, a revelation of profound beauty, animated by slow motion and deep silence; the details of the imagery here are left to unfold in the reader’s mind…

fairy penguins
break the surface . . .
winter light

Ron C. Moss

A simple observation from nature full of implication and enriched by further readings. You might like to read a more extended commentary of this one here.

night river –

trains ripple over

the floating city

Lorin Ford

A superb image saturated with darkness and light inspired by an actual observation in the heart of Melbourne city. There is a wonderful sense of motion here as the trains ripple over the river, one can see the tremor of lights in water. The first line; night river – and the third floating city, are richly evocative—surely this must be a magical city, floating as it does on the night river, an ethereal city made of light… 

from what unknowable universe

            beyond Hubble –

                        the cat’s green stare

Gabriel Rosenstock

Ah, the universe within and the universe without, filled with the suggestion of depths. And how original, something way out of the square…

off the stone

drop by drop the sea returns

to the sea

Djurdja Vukelic-Rozic

A drop in the ocean—such an ordinary happening, made extraordinary, capturing something of the spirit of the sea, the eternal return, the cosmic embrace of parts by the whole—I just love it

in the garden
of the moon . . .
a sparrow’s bones

Mark E. Brager

the garden of the moon is an enchanted garden to be sure, filled with shadows that we see without their being mentioned. And as for the sparrow, I wonder how its bones came to be here, brightened as they would be by the moonlight—leading me into wonderings of life and death… all very delightful

And one of mine:

that dream again

luminous squid

rise from the deep

Simon Hanson

A simple recount of an actual dream, rich in allusion and symbol I like to think, which (importantly for haiku) have not been introduced as poetic devises but rather are naturally present, something I discovered in the dreaming and in the writing, appearing as they did without conscious intent…

And one from a master (a translation of course)

This dewdrop world

Is but a dewdrop world

And yet –


And yet—

It doesn’t get any more open-ended than that—drawing us into spaces beyond our comprehension, a window into mystery…  

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