Robert Spiess Memorial Award
Haiku Competition

 

As a memorial to Editor Bob Spiess, who died on March 13, 2002, Modern Haiku sponsors The Robert Spiess Memorial Award Haiku Competition. To learn more about Robert Spiess and his haiku, see the essay published in issue 42.2.

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Speculation theme for 2014: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following Speculation (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

After the awareness of a haiku moment, the poet must select and arrange the words of the haiku in such a manner that when the haiku is read or heard, the words arouse or evoke in the reader/hearer those immediate feelings that the poet had. The art of haiku is that of the haiku poet’s feel for words, the selection of the absolutely appropriate words and the exact positioning of them.

see the 2014 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2013: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following Speculation (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

Another of the marvelous paradoxes of haiku is that the better they express the suchness of entities the better they intimate the essential mystery of these things.

see the 2013 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2012: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following Speculation (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

"Haiku have three forms or manifestations: the written, which enters the eye; the spoken, which enters the ear; and the essential . . . which enters the heart." [Prompted in part by a passage by Sa'in al-Din ibn Turkah.]

see the 2012 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2011: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

"Haiku help to make our senses more alive to sounds, and colors, to  textures and odors."

see the 2011 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2010: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

Many haiku of quality combine unexpectedness with inevitability
—that “shock of mild surprise” (Blyth), followed immediately by
the felt-significance of “Of course, that’s just as it is.”

see the 2010 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2009: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

In haiku the juxtaposition or “confrontation” of entities produces
a tension charged with energy that generates an insight, intuition
or felt-depth of an aspect of reality; it is a movement, a birth, that
leads to a new level of awareness [Prompted in part by a passage
of C.G. Jung’s].

see the 2009 Spiess Contest Awards

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Speculation theme for 2008: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

A haiku is a profound testimony that a most humble object of nature when put into the simplest of aesthetic forms can become a revelation.

see the 2008 Spiess Contest Awards

Speculation theme for 2007: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

If a haiku is to have life it must have rhythm or flow— for whatever life is, there is rhythm. Needless to say, this rhythm will seldom be a regular meter, but will be a rhythm or flow that is natural to the entities of the haiku and their particular relation. When the rhythm is proper to the haiku it simply will be felt in an aesthetic mode of "rightness."

see the 2007 Spiess Contest Awards

Speculation theme for 2006: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following “Speculation” (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

Juxtaposition of entities in haiku cannot be simply the throwing together of just anything; the poet must have the intuition that certain things, albeit of “opposite” characteristics, nonetheless have a resonance with each other that will evoke a revelation when they are juxtaposed in accordance with the time-tested canons and aesthetics of haiku.

see the 2006 Spiess Contest Awards

Speculation Theme for 2005: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

It is [the] subjective aspect that accounts for very much of the difference between a haiku that is merely descriptive per se and one that engenders intuitional feeling—and this is the deciding factor between a haiku in which the poet simply records stimuli and one in which the poet is in accord with the haiku moment.

see the 2005 Spiess Contest Awards

Speculation Theme for 2004: Haiku were written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku (1995):(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."

see the 2004 Spiess Contest Awards

Speculation Theme for 2003: Haiku written in the spirit of the following "Speculation" (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku (1995):

Most haiku of excellence are serenely vibrant. Although they seldom are concerned with grand or marvelous events, or employ highly charged language, or possess startling qualities, they nonetheless are intensely alive in their quiet and deep evocation of aspects of life and the world, aspects that can easily be overlooked. In and through these haiku we are able to live more fully and with a non-exclusiveness that lets us participate in and appreciate multitudinous event-experiences.

see the 2003 Spiess Contest Awards

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