11th PIHC 2021 – results

Commentary of Iliyana Stoyanova:

I would like to thank the Polish Haiku Association for inviting me to judge such a prestigious haiku competition. The pre-selector Wiesław Karliński had the difficult task to pick the best among all the entries received. Out of his final selection of 89 haiku I had to choose three winning haiku and 10 commendations. I read and reread the haiku several times and every time different haiku caught my attention: their beautiful and sometimes unusual seasonal words, the effective juxtaposition of images allowing me to discover multiple layers, or simply the personal connection with my own feelings and experiences. However among all those haiku there was one which stood out right away:

First Prize:

calm by the sea
a little sand crab
carries moonlight

Nadejda Kostadinova, Bulgaria

This summer haiku manages with such ease to engage all five senses: we can see the beach, we can hear the little crabs as they move about on the sand, we can imagine picking one and touching its shell, we can smell and taste the sea water. We are transposed by the sea and as observers become one with the poet.

Second Prize:

first snow
my child’s surprise

Michael Henry Lee, USA

The haiku in second place is not just a beautiful and emotional winter haiku. Its background and foreground – season, setting, and context – actually turns it into a time-travel haiku. At the present moment, together with the poet, we share the joy of being a parent and the child’s unadulterated first encounter with the snow. We could also associate the haiku with our own experiences as parents and then jump even further back in time and feel the joy of the first snow when we were children ourselves.

Third Prize:

the church carillon
changes its tune

Scott Mason, United States

At first glance, this haiku is about that magical time between seasons when one season is still lingering and the next one is already in the air and change is imminent. The deeper meaning and true message of this haiku is being brought to us by the tune of the church carillon. It is a powerful message of hope and rebirth after almost two years of turmoil, loss and uncertainty. Hope comes in many shapes and forms and we should hold onto it, try to be more compassionate and understanding, and be ready to help each other through the challenging times humanity is facing.

The commendations below are listed in no particular order and I would like to congratulate all the poets for their inspirational work.


autumn end –
the spinster knits a scarf for
the unborn snowman

Mirela Brăilean, Romania


kite taken by the wind –
among the clouds

Mihai Moldoveanu – Mirco, Romania


that scent of lime trees …..
the hour of the pill

Angiola Inglese, Italy


wild cherry
the comings and goings
of bees

Polona Oblak, Slovenia


autumn leaves
the winds are scattering
my loved ones

Stoianka Boianova, Bulgaria


fading memories
dry patches in the car park
after a rainstorm

Jonathan Aylett, United Kingdom


first day of winter
icing sugar melts
on a chocolate muffin

Shanmao, Russian Federation


autumn evening
I still look for my home
in people’s eyes

Nadezhda Stanilova, Bulgaria


winter sun
shining like silver
dust on the piano

Lyudmila Hristova, Bulgaria


barbed wire
on both sides of the border
creaking frost

Janina Kołodziejczyk, Italy


Thanks to all 420 authors from 59 countries who have sent their haiku to the 11th Polish International Haiku Competition (this is a record number of participants in the history of PIHC – thank you all). Haiku was received by Krzysztof Kokot. Then he sent them them anonymously to Wiesław Karliński, who chose haiku and sent them to Iliyana Stoyanova, who made the final verdict.

Participants: Afganistan (1), Australia (11), Austria (1), Azerbajian (1), Bangladesh (1), Belarus (3), Belgium (3), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1), Brazil (2), Bulgaria (20), Canada (27), China (2), Chinese Taipei (1), Colombia (1), Croatia (23), Czech Republic (1), Denmark (4), Finland (1), France (10), Georgia (1), Germany (13), Ghana (1), Greece (1), Hungary (2), India (34), Indonesia (6), Iran (13), Ireland (2), Israel (2), Italy (23), Japan (5), Lithuania (3), Malaysia (2), Montenegro (4), Nepal (2),  Netherlands (5), New Zealand (7), Nigeria (1), North Macedonia (4), Norway (3), Pakistan (3), Philippines (9), Poland (21), Portugal (1), Romania (25), Russia (10), Serbia (5), Singapore (2), Slovenia (2), South Africa (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (3), Trinidad and Tobago (1), Tunisia (1), Turkey (1), Ukraine (4), United Kingdom (23), USA (58), Vietnam (1)

Iliyana Stoyanova (Editor of the Living Haiku Anthology, member of the British Haiku Society) – Final Judge
Wiesław Karliński (Member of the Polish Haiku Association) – Pre-selector
Krzysztof Kokot (Honorary Member of the Polish Haiku Association) – Coordinator

December 21, 2021