VI PIHC 2016 – results


David McMurray’s Profile:
David McMurray’s Judging Approach:
David McMurray’s Haiku Website

While tree leaves quietly changed colors from October 25 to November 30, a virtual flurry of haiku entries fell into the capable hands of the VI Polish International Haiku Contest coordinator Krzysztof Kokot. Robert Kania cleared a path through this forest of entries. When the first cold winds started to blow through the bare trees on my university campus, I hibernated in my laboratory to savor the warmth and wit of the words penned by the prize-winning and commended haikuists. Notice how almost all of these haikuists were inspired by a tree growing in one of the four seasons. During the upcoming seasonal festivities, I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did.

(gifts and diplomas)


bitter cold
a woodpecker knocks
for breakfast

Andy Burkhart
Cincinnati, USA

David McMurray’s judging comment:  But for the shrill sound of the woodpecker tapping on a stone cold tree, the haikuist’s early morning kitchen may very well have been silent. The bird is searching for sap or a tree grub in the same manner as we might hunt for maple syrup or a bun in the fridge. The humor in thinking the sound might creatively be a neighbor or perhaps a house guest rapping at our door immediately warmed me to this haiku. Pithily penned, its perfect 3-5-3 syllable format helped to highlight its simplicity and freshness. This sublime haiku is also deserving of first prize for its recognition that the forests of the winner’s country offer safe refuge to a diverse range of woodpeckers.


harvest festival
my shadow on the wall
still a young woman

Anna Maris
Hässleholm, Sweden

David McMurray’s judging comment: Harvests, country fairs, and obon festivals are human affairs conducted during the autumn months. The haikuist has likely enjoyed many of these traditional fall season events, yet each time she feels as young and attractive as in her youth. Festivals held in the evening are lit by glowing lights and fires that cast long shadows. Similar in effect to a slimming mirror, autumn lighting is softer and more subdued than the harsh glare of summer that reveals all of our faults. Folk dances are often held at this time of year, and the shadows of the singers and dancers on stage or on the walls in a dance hall become part of the show.


paddy field –
the farmer plows
through a sea of clouds

Indra Neil Mekala 
Rajahmundry, India

David McMurray’s judging comment: This haiku is deserving of a prize for its aha moment when readers see the reflections of clouds on top of the water-filled rice plantation. According to dictionaries of season words or kigo used by haiku poets, the plowing of fields is classified as a human affairs topic in the spring season. The sea of clouds could be spring mist blowing over a lowland coastal area. The expression “sea of clouds” that refers to clouds that flow through highland areas is classified in haiku almanacs as a summer season word in the sky category along with other kigo such as billowing clouds and ocean fog.

10 COMMENDATIONS – diplomas
(listed in seasonal order from spring to summer, autumn and winter)

falling blossoms . . .
I can say nothing
that’s not been said before

Michael Dylan Welch
Sammamish, Washington, USA


May fragrances –
the old man takes a selfie
with a dry plum tree

Lavana Kray
Iasi, Romania


wildflower seeds
carried by the wind
the words I didn’t say

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland


Felled tree.
Its green leaves suspect

Gordana Vlašić
Oroslavje, Croatia


summer holiday
greeted with hugs my old friend

Andrius Luneckas,
Vilnius, Lithuania


painting a forest
another of the red leaves
caught on an easel

Alan Summers
Chippenham, England


autumn rains…
the dampness settles
deep inside me

Elena Naskova
Seattle, USA


end of the alley
from an old man’s shoulders
falling leaves

Magdalena Banaszkiewicz
Zielona Góra, Poland


sweeping leaves –
always one step
behind the silence

Eduard Tara
Iasi, Romania


blazing sunset
how warm are the tones
of the fresh snow

Maria Tomczak
Opole, Poland


               Congratulations go to everyone who entered and supported the VI Polish International Haiku Contest 2016. A record-breaking number of 396 authors from 57 countries submitted a virtual pile of haiku in all shapes and sizes to Krzysztof Kokot. Participation in previous contests has ranged upwards from 304 authors. Compared to last year, when entries were submitted from 41 countries, for this year’s contest 16 additional countries were represented.

               Robert Kania gently sifted through each of these anonymous haiku, flexibly measuring them for originality, freshness, imagery, simplicity, and its aha moment. He was resolute however, in only handing over a few dozen brilliant haiku for final judging by David McMurray which had not been previously published, were composed in English on 3-lines, and contained a season word.

Participants: Australia (14), Austria (1), Azerbaijan (1), Bangladesh (3), Belarus (1), Belgium (2), Bosnia and Herzegovina (3), Brazil (3), Bulgaria (12), Canada (14), China (3), Colombia (1), Croatia (61), Denmark (1), Finland (1), France (4), Germany (14), Ghana (3), Hungary (3), India (24), Indonesia (2), Iran (1), Ireland (2), Israel (1), Italy (11), Japan (30), Lithuania (8), Macedonia (2), Malaysia (2),  Malta (1), Mongolia (1), Montenegro (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (7),  Nigeria (9), Norway (2), Nepal (1), Pakistan (1), Philippines (5), Poland (15), Portugal (1), Romania (18), Russia (6), Serbia (8), Singapore (1), Slovenia (5), Spain (1), Sri Lanka (1), Switzerland (4), Sweden (1), Taiwan (1), Trinidad and Tobago (1), Turkey (1), United Kingdom (11), United States (50), Ukraine (2), Vietnam (1).

David McMurray, Final Judge (Editor of the Asahi Haikuist Network, Professor of intercultural studies at The International University of Kagoshima)
Robert Kania, Pre-Selector (President of the Polish Haiku Association, Co-editor of the European Quarterly Kukai)
Krzysztof Kokot, Originator (Co-editor of the European Quarterly Kukai)