The Heron's Nest

Awards by Year

Contests & Awards — 2018


The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards for 2018

Judge's Comments—Gary Hotham

Over 1800 haiku were submitted. I did read all the haiku entered since I wanted to get an understanding of the whole state of the contest entries. I didn't read them all at once but like how I read any collection of poetry—in bits and pieces, fits and starts, back and forth.

I am not going to comment on each haiku I chose. No special pleading from my heart—you probably won't agree with me anyway. I'll let you deal with the haiku with your own bare hands. You don't need the leather gloves of my prose. My fear is that my comments will be a disservice to the author—confusing the reader with thoughts and interpretations contrary to the writer's intent. Ask my wife. But right up front I'm going to list some thoughts as to what I was looking for in the entries. And things I don't desire to see as I read through them. Then you can read the haiku I selected and enjoy them in their own space. I don't want to cut in on your dance with the haiku. Or weave my own clothes for the haiku.

Now I'm sure there are things I am looking for in a haiku that I am not fully conscious or aware of—or would even be able to begin to clearly express so that others could understand. But that might be the thing that makes a haiku resonate for any of us. This or that haiku fills a need we had never noticed before. And because it happened once we continue to read and re-read and write haiku.

Now for my top three and some almost top three. May one of them resonate as well with you.

First place

vernal equinox
the bend of an elbow
out a car window

Alan S. Bridges
Littleton, Massachusetts

Second place

her Persian carpet
before mourners
disrupt the pattern

Mary Weiler
Austin, Texas

Third place

a scent of light
on snow

Hélène Duc
Bichancourt, France

Honorable Mentions

you don't know
until it's past
last frost

Brad Bennett
Arlington, Massachusetts

on the horizon
just enough cloud
to hold some sunset

Tom Clausen
Ithaca, New York

late autumn sun
every single object
tied to its shadow

Steve Dolphy
Eastleigh, Hampshire
United Kingdom

the steam
that never left the kettle
water again

Steve Dolphy
Eastleigh, Hampshire
United Kingdom

shadows casting darkness through an open door

Rick Jackofsky
Rocky Point, New York

shallow brook—
first snow settles on a stone
above the water

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

flight path of the geese
soon forgotten by all
but the geese

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

for company
the snow crunch underfoot
winter solstice

Tim Murphy
Madrid, Spain

losing hold
of where home is
gift shop seahorses

Peter Newton
Winchendon, Massachusetts

digging up
the memory of earth

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland


The Readers' Choice Awards for 2018

Each year, after the December issue of The Heron's Nest is released, you (the reader) are invited to pick a total of 10 haiku from those that we offered in the March, June, September and December issues of that year as your "Readers' Choices" . . . those that stuck in your mind or were special for you. We hope that you will participate once again in this process. Here's how it works:

  1. Revisit the 2018 issues of The Heron's Nest.
  2. List your ten favorite poems, numbered 1(for most favorite) through 10; with first line, name of poet, issue in which the poem appeared (March, June, September, or December 2017). Example:

    1. first line of poem / Jane Author / September
    2. different first line / John Author / June
    3. a first line / Jo Author / March

    Please do not vote for your own poems.

    Should you feel inspired to write comments about any or all of your selections, we would love to see those too and may include some of them in the annual print edition. We would also welcome any comments about your experience of making your selections.

  3. At any time between December 1, 2018 and January 15, 2019, send your listing to John Stevenson, Managing Editor, at
  4. Check our web pages on February 14, 2019 for a report on the top poems selected by yourself and other readers of The Heron's Nest!