SONGBIRDS ONLINE

 

Submissions for the United Haiku and Tanka Society’s Premier Edition of Songbirds Online annual anthology are open from 1 November 2022 until 1 December 2022. (midnight) GMT.                                                                                                                        Submission Guidelines…become a “songbird”

1. Please send your work in the body of an email only, with no attachments, and include your country, name, and email address. 

2. Works that have never been previously published will be considered “first”, and works posted online, in print, on social media sites, blogs, or websites, will then be considered, but please list where they appeared).

3. Works submitted elsewhere simultaneously will not be considered.

4. Please submit either haiku or tanka, or a combination of both. No set theme or season, and no limit to the number of submissions. 

5. Works must be submitted in English, no special syllable or word count   is required, however a “songlike” short, long, short rhythm for haiku, and an s,l,s,l, long for tanka is preferable. 

6. Poets should be open to discussing constructive suggestions.

7. Works that will not be considered:

  • Mainstream short-form poems

  • Sequences 

  • Linked verse

  • Rhymed poetry         

  • Haibun

  • Senryu

  • Haiga

  • Tanka Art

  • Tanka prose

Response Time: Within a week of submitting, and if you don’t hear by then, please resend.   Submit your work with the subject heading of SONGBIRDS SUBMISSIONS to an’ya by sending to:  theunitedhaikuandtankasociety at gmail dot com

Copyright Policy:

All rights revert back to authors upon publication, although credits for having been first published in Songbirds Online, are required.


SAMURAI HAIBUN CONTEST RESULTS 2022

 As the Samurai Haibun contest convenor, I wish to thank all entrants for trusting me with their haibun. I was delighted to receive a diverse collection of entries from across the globe, including the following countries, American Samoa, Australia, Austria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Poland, Myanmar, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the USA. A special thank you to our friends on social media who distributed our competition flyer via Facebook pages and posted our competition details on their personal Web pages. It has been a pleasure to work with an’ya and both of the contest judges. 

                                                                                                        Marilyn Humbert   

As the Samurai Haibun contest judges, we welcomed the challenge of judging haibun, a form that, itself, is challenging because it requires prose and haiku that are each worthy and also pair well. We read the submissions independently, each of us choosing our ten top haibun. Comparing the two lists, there were seven overlapping haibun that we recited to get a sense of sound. We then narrowed our list down to four haibun, which we ranked to make these awards. 

                                                                                          Elaine and Neal Whitman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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WINNING HAIBUN


Judge’s Commentary:

William Blake calls us to see the world in a grain of sand and Walt Whitman to find the stars in a leaf of grass. In a flight of imagination, this poet invokes each season of the year to circumnavigate the world. Ahead of its haiku, itself superbly crafted as a crystalline moment in time, the prose, in the form of a prose-poem, transports us without leaving home. To stay put and journey without leaving home … entrancing! The strength and power of Nature is evident in this haibun. From the first line of the prescript prose to the last line of the postscript haiku, we fell into the evocative mood of wanderlust … a desire to travel in our imagination, finding pleasure and delight. The creativity of this haibun is an antidote to lethargy in this time of Covid and the languishing that many of us are experiencing. We bow in gratitude.


FIRST PLACE


Stationary

Andrea Eldridge, USA


A season can be a city unto itself. 

Without movement, a destination 

of months over miles. So distinctly 

May as Chiang Mai is not. No need 

to fly, Gullfoss flows in my meadow.

A grand bazaar of summer berries.

Seasons stroll the streets of September.

Ancient Kyoto temples illuminated

like precious metals on my mountain. 

Through branches in fading light

I see the stained glass of Sacre Coeur. 

A snow silent forest, my cathedral.


alpine glade

the floating world

In a raindrop

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Judge's Commentary:

Incomplete sentences and phrases are used here in an effective way to move the story along with tension that was ultimately broken in a good way. Good haibun make good teachers. In this case, we have a master teacher showing us how to use a personal experience to tell a universal story. As a bonus, we tip our sun hats to the poet for capturing the “gullness” of gulls. The image of the stolen sandwich tumbling into the water is a splash of humor that brought smiles as we read this haibun out loud.



SECOND PLACE


Thief

Pris Campbell, USA


Lunch on the beachside bench. Fried fish in a bun. Chips on the side. We watch a sailboat drift close to shore, red spinnaker puffed out ahead. My husband asks about how my latest book is selling.  It concerns a man in my life before him, something we rarely discuss but now already a hundred readers know what he doesn’t. I don’t mention the poems I write about him, secretly published in journals.  We disagree over something meaningless then begin to argue in earnest, my sandwich hand gesturing wildly. A gull swoops down and grabs my sandwich, heads out over the ocean. Other gulls follow, fighting for a bite of treasure. In a flurry of wings, my sandwich tumbles, a dozen gulls diving after it. Perhaps inspired by the gulls, in a gesture of reconciliation, my husband splits his sandwich with me. We watch waves break on the shore beneath us. At high tide, an elaborate sand castle merges into the shimmering beach.


sunset

lurking shadows fade

into dark

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Judge’s Commentary:

A good title captures your attention, but its aptness cannot be evaluated until you come to the end and see how well-suited it was. For us, this came home with the post-script haiku and the asterisked citation. In a like manner, one cannot speak too highly of the first sentence of any work of prose. In this haibun, the prose pulled us right into the narration. This poet uses details that heightened our sensations. There is a magical quality that brought us into a world of make-believe that we believed in! Fantastic!


THIRD PLACE


 gaudy spring*

Alan Peat, UK


The man who keeps each season in a box is spring cleaning. He polishes the silver box that winter is kept in. It is cold to the touch. Autumn’s box is fashioned of driftwood. If you shake it you can hear dryness rustle. He gives it a little dust. You have to be careful with summer; it’s hot to the touch now. Hold it too long and you’ll burn your fingers. He leaves it alone on the high shelf. Ah, but Spring is his favourite box. Open its cloisonné lid and the buttercups will make your chin glow yellow. There are too many shades of green to count. Ask him politely and he’ll point out Crested Dog’s tail and cowslips and Yorkshire fog. Look closely: there, inside the box. Can you see the young boy with the basin cut? The one who is holding his dad’s hand? They are walking through the wildflower meadow in Muker. Soon they will reach the river with its banks of celandines and oxeye daisies.

 

faded as a haircut

in a barbershop window

pressed bluebells

 

*from Shakespeare Sonnet 1

…Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament 

And only herald to the gaudy spring…

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Judge’s Commentary:

It is said that haiku poets are masters of the art of concision. This haibun proves this to be so; with a few well-chosen words, we “got” a full story. We take it as a given that haibun poets know how to write good haiku, but a haiku in combination with prose is an added challenge. In this case, the prose and haiku are partners that form a good relationship. The post-script haiku added a murmur to the prose story; it prompted us to reflect, “Oh, I see!” It is not easy to use dark humor, but in this case, it was used to good effect.


HONORABLE MENTION


Nursing Home Residents

Susan Burch, USA


We're not supposed to have favorites but we do. And my favorite resident just died, after turning 80 the week before. It was unexpected and unfortunate too - because now he'll miss the party his wife was throwing for him and instead the food will be used for his funeral. 


misty morning

nobody takes

the cake


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Thank you to everyone who entered this contest! and to the coordinator and judges. an’ya