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Volume 35.1
Spring 2004

Robert Spiess Memorial
2004 Haiku Awards

As a memorial to Editor Bob Spiess, who died on March 13, 2002, Modern Haiku sponsors The Robert Spiess Memorial Award Haiku Competition.

Modern Haiku is pleased to announce The Robert Spiess Memorial Award Haiku Competition for 2004. The 2003 competition brought entries from 193 poets in 23 countries.

Theme: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

True haiku poets do not write to demonstrate how different their haiku are from those of other haiku poets. Goethe wrote, "I have reaped the harvest that others have sown. My work is that of a collective being and it bears Goethe’s name."

Deadline: In hand no later than March 13, 2004, the second anniversary of Bob Spiess’s death.

Regulations: The competition is open to everyone but the staff of Modern Haiku, the competition coordinator, and the judges. Each entry must be the original, unpublished work of the author, and should not be under consideration in a contest or for publication elsewhere. Appearance on an Internet Web site is considered publication, but a haiku that has been previously shared on an e-mail haiku list is not considered to be "published" for purposes of this competition—but note—the judges will be instructed to disregard any entries that they have seen before. Of course, entries should not be shared on such a list during the term of the competition. Entries must be in English.

Entry fee: One dollar per haiku in US currency or US dollar check made out to "Modern Haiku."

Submission guidelines: Poets may submit a maximum of two haiku written in the spirit of the above Speculation. Submit the entry fee plus three copies of each haiku on 3" x 5" (75 mm x 125 mm) index cards or similarly-sized slips of paper. Entries should be typed or printed legibly. The haiku should appear on the face of each card (one haiku per card). The poet’s name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if any) should appear on one of the three cards only, in the upper left-hand corner above the haiku; the other two copies should contain only the haiku. Please keep a copy of your submission; entries will not be returned. E-mail submissions are not allowed. Please follow the instructions carefully: entries that are incomplete or that do not comply with the instructions will be discarded.

Send submissions to:

Billie Wilson
1170 Fritz Cove Road
Juneau, AK 99801-8501 USA

Adjudication: Two judges will be selected by Modern Haiku; their names will be announced at the time of the awards. Judging will be double-blind, and the judges will not know the identity of the entrants. Judges’ decisions are final.

Selection criteria: The judges will look for entries that hew to Western norms for haiku as published in Modern Haiku and other leading English-language haiku journals (no rules as to syllable or line count, etc.) and that best capture the spirit of the theme Speculation.

Awards: First Prize: $100 plus a signed and previously-loved copy of Bob’s The Turtle’s Ears (1971, out of print, very slight damage); Second Prize: $50 plus a copy of Bob’s The Shape of Water (1982); Third Prize: $25 plus a copy of Bob’s Some Sticks and Pebbles (2001). Five poets will be awarded Honorable Mentions and each will receive a copy of Bob’s A Year’s Speculations on Haiku (1995).

Notification: Winners will be notified by e-mail or phone before the general announcement. Winning entries will be published in the summer 2004 issue of Modern Haiku and will be posted on the Modern Haiku Web site (https://www.modernhaiku.org/) on July 1, 2004. If you would like a list of the winners, please enclose a stamped, addressed business-sized envelope (SASE) with your entries. Overseas entrants should provide an addressed envelope and one IRC. These will be mailed as soon as the summer issue of Modern Haiku is released.


First Prize:

winter solitude—
the lima beans soaking
in half-moonlight
James Chessing

Second Prize:

first light
dark limbs of the walnut
holding their snow
Ellen Compton

Third Prize:

rumors of war
up into a darkening sky
—a child's newsprint kite
Angelee Deodhar

Honorable Mentions (unranked):

summer meadow
a blade of grass
becomes a whistle
Connie Donleycott


deep night . . .
a moth stirs
the windchime
Maria Steyn


steady snowfall . . .
I make hot chocolate
grandmother's way
Marjorie Buettner


quiet night
the watchman bends
to touch a rose
Marlene J. Egger


gentle rain—
a shimmer of pennies
beneath the koi
Ellen Compton


©2004 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656