JUDGE’S REPORT: February 2017 Poetry Competition

JUDGE’S REPORT: February Competition : HAIKU Poetry
In the City at Sunset
Judged by

The Haiku format goes back to the 9th century and first appeared in Japan. “Your Dictionary” (on Google) described this format as “More than a type of poem; it is a way of looking at the physical world and seeing something deeper, like the very nature of existence.
A Haiku, in English, is a very short poem following, to a greater or lesser extent, the form and style of a Japanese Haiku. A Typical Haiku is a three-line observation about a fleeting moment involving nature. (Ref. Wikipedia)
For this competition, I stuck to the three-line poem with seventeen syllables written as five/seven/five. Some of the entries did not adhere to this format, although they did get the concept to some extent. There were entries that could not decide whether they were writing a poem or a haiku, which is why the syllable count got lost. In fairness, this was not an easy competition as it called for a specific scenario and as such, did not leave much room for deviation or subject matter. It made my job, as judge, quite difficult as there were many similar references and I had to look deeper for something different. I found this in the winner’s haiku, who not only wrote a perfect set but changed the location of the city. Each of his/her haikus can stand alone but make a perfect image when added together. I particularly liked the final haiku “Jumeira beachfront/White dash-dash,black abaya/Black coffee, white latte.”
Second place grabbed me with the first haiku, “Dusty streets slumber/orange tendrils clasp the sky/paper flying free.” This perfect set was full of dark images of incoming nightlife, each haiku able to invoke an image yet still managing to form a solid story.
Third place, another perfect set of superb images culminating in the last haiku of sadness “The most exquisite/sunset a city’s soul made/No one stops to see.”
I did enjoy reading all the entries and being asked to judge this competition, made me feel very special. After all, I was entrusted with your “babies” and I hope that I have been fair and that the individual critiques will help you on the road to success.
As I have already mentioned, this was not an easy competition to judge but I commend every entrant for taking the challenge and working with it. For those who did not win this time, please read my critiques and keep trying. Without competitions there can be no growth so please don’t feel disheartened, there is always another competition around the corner.
Irene Emanuel (Aarons)