International Photo-Haiku Contest

The 11th Setouchi-Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest of Your photo-haiku in English

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  2. The 11th Setouchi-Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest of Your photo-haiku in English

Contest Comments by David McMurray

This contest attracted 4,491 entries, of which 2,365 were photo-haiku composed in English. For the first time entries in English exceeded those composed in the Japanese language. From 630 your photo-haiku submissions, the preliminary judge short-listed extraordinarily beautiful photos and/or well-crafted haiku text. The final judge narrowed the field to those related to the sea and awarded qualifiers a grand-prix, 2 awards for excellence, and 7 honorable mentions. Photo-haiku from Ireland, United States, Japan, Bulgaria, Australia, India, and the Philippines rose to the top of the competition which attracted photo-haikuists living in 31 countries.

Grand Prix

Northern IrelandMarion Clarke

travel ban . . .
so much remains
to be seen

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

Try as we might to look past the fence and cross the water to a greener shore in a pleasing sunlit background our travel dreams are frustrated by the pandemic. The bold horizontal leading lines of the fence, the sea, and the landscape stretch right across this wide-angle image, dovetailing with the sound of despair from the text: though we want to, we cannot go. Similarly, the well-placed ellipsis […] makes us pause and cuts the lines of a debate in two. The haikuist masterfully imbued a photo and a pithy 3-4-3 syllable form with the longing that is on all of our minds.

Award for Excellence

USAJ Hahn Doleman

autumn winds . . .
dad sails around the world
of his wood shop

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

The photo-haikuist reminds us time is fleeting: the retired protagonist in the autumn of his life contentedly turns circles within the confines of a hobby that his adventure-seeking son doesn’t quite understand. The well-placed ellipsis […] gave us time to pause. The alluring second line of thought held by the son pivoted in meaning on the third line to the father’s view. This well-chosen photo straddles both men’s view of the world: when filled with gusto, craftsmanship can also take us where we want to go.

Award for Excellence

JapanYukiko Yamada

autumn waves ―
over the invisible border
to Kunashiri Island

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

The photo-haikuist hints at what we can’t see in this photo. The well-placed hyphen cut the text like a borderline: separating a dreamlike first line from a longer story. She has lived on Hokkaido Island and experienced the sights and heard the stories of displaced Japanese people in the deep autumn of their lives who still hope to return to their former homes on Russian-held Kuril Islands.

Honorable Mentions

  • USAKristyn Blessing

    fishing village
    I learn to share
    the sunrise

  • BulgariaNadejda Kostadinova

    waves rolling over
    the rocky patches
    morning doubts

  • JapanAyana

    Beyond the sea
    Powerful score

  • AustraliaRon C. Moss

    warm laughter
    Mothers gather their dresses
    to wade deeper

  • IndiaVandana Parashar

    laundry day
    she tells her side
    of the story

  • PhilippinesAlvin B. Cruz

    leaving less empty
    than when I came -
    a pocketful of sand

  • USABarbara Kaufmann

    shore birds arrive
    for the last catch of the day
    light on wings