Saturday, February 02, 2019

San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu and Tanka, 2018

a star tortoise
carries the universe
on its back . . .
are we slowly moving
away from each other

2nd Place Tanka

Judge Kenneth Slaughter's comments:

Tortoises and turtles are survivors. The star tortoise, however, is an endangered species because of its beautiful shell. Humans like to collect them. It's an earthbound creature that carries the symbolic weight of the universe on its back. There are many ways to go in lines 4 and 5, and the ellipses give us a moment to ponder the possibilities.

Scientists know the universe is expanding, and everything is moving away from everything else. The poet reminds of this and wonders if, on a human level, we are also drifting apart. The "we" could be a married couple. Or it could be all of us, as we struggle with alienation, loneliness, and a growing distance from one another. This is a very topical poem, suggesting a whole lot in just five lines.

small embers
of rose hips in snow . . .
the look
in mother's vacant eyes
so hard to define

3rd Place Tanka

labyrinth i walk into and out of myself

3rd Place Senryu

Judge Christopher Herald's comments:

Yes! Both! Love it!

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