Viewing Stone Association of North America

First Haiku Poetry Contest 2020


Theme: Write a haiku inspired by this outstanding Japanese viewing stone. Please use the submission entry form provided on February 3rd, 2020 at the website.

Eligibility: Open to the public worldwide, no entry fee.  


Criteria: The haiku* needs to be original, not posted online or in print. Each one should be three lines (in English) with no specific syllable count, just a song-like haiku rhythm a short, long, short, or close to it. The haiku must relate directly or indirectly to what the viewer sees/feels in this stone. 






(Furuya stone from Wakayama, Japan (24 cm wide, 9 cm high, 8 cm deep)

Submissions: February 3 through March 31 only. Each person can submit up to three haiku using the official online entry form. The submission form will be available online at beginning February 3, 2020.  

Results: Only the winners will be notified by email shortly after the deadline. The winning haiku will be published on the VSANA website approximately one month after the close of the contest. All rights revert back to the authors after the posting on the VSANA website. If reprinted later, first-credit should be given to VSANA.   

Places and Prizes: First, second, third prizes and two honorable mentions. First Prize receives $100 plus a viewing stone book, second Prize receives $50 plus a book, and the third prize receives $25 plus a book.  All prize winners and honorable mentions will receive a certificate. 

Judging: This contest will be blind judged; that is, the judge will not know the names of the people submitting entries. The judge’s name and comments will be revealed when the winning haiku are published at the VSANA website.


*haiku is a succinct non-rhyming non-titled poem arranged in three lines of fewer than seventeen syllables. In Japanese a typical haiku has seventeen "sounds" (on) arranged five, seven, five. However, translators of Japanese poetry have noted that about twelve syllables in English approximate the duration of seventeen Japanese (on). Traditional Japanese haiku include a "season word" (kigo), a word or phrase that helps identify the season of the experience recorded in the haiku, and a "cutting word" (kireji), a sort of spoken punctuation that marks a pause or gives emphasis to one part of the haiku. In English, season words are sometimes omitted, but the original focus on a seasonal experience captured in clear images continues. The most common technique is juxtaposing two images or ideas (Japanese rensô). Punctuation, or a grammatical break may substitute for the cutting word. 


Examples: (these poets can also enter)

in pine shade                                                                                                                                                                                                         for a while I forget                                                                                                                                                                                                  this life will end

Robert Epstein                                                                                                                                                                                                   San Francisco, USA

transience . . .                                                                                                                                                                                                   petal by petal                                                                                                                                                                                                        we let go                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Debbie Strange                                                                                                                                                                                                       Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada 



leafless tree                                                                                                                                                                                                      lifting a cup of nest                                                                                                                                                                                                  to the sky 

Adjei Agyei-Baah                                                                                                                                                                                          Ghana, West Africa