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As contest coordinator for the 2023 Annual Hortensia Anderson Haiku Awards (aha), I was delighted to receive a diverse collection of 1094 entries from across the globe, ie: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Venezuela.

A special thank you to 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 as well to work with an’ya and the contest judge peterB.–Marilyn Humbert, Australia


As a judge, it was a distinct honor for me to read all the entries for this 2023 Annual Hortensia Haiku Awards. Submitting your work to any contest sets you up for disappointment or glee, all at the hands of some (usually) unknown judge(s) “opinion” of what is a “good haiku.”

A world-class award-winning haiku can be rejected numerous times due to the particular judge's tastes, whims, or “idea” of form, etc. In reading through these 1094 submissions from 36 countries, my first shortlist sort was about my ability to quickly understand/visualize the “content”, and immediately grasp the “aha” moment without having to stop and ponder, or analyze what the writer intended.

My second review was for raw “form” (per this contest's guidelines). There were many very good content haiku entered that simply were out of the aha contest guidelines that may have been chosen (per a different contest’s guidelines).

The final selection was the hard part and not a quick process. At this juncture, I reread and mulled over each one again for a few weeks and then culled them to the following six final winners. Congratulations to these winners, and thank you to all who entered–peterB Judge, USA 



midnight storm

closer with each boom                         

my old dog

Sasha A. Palmer


Congratulations to this first-place winner. Storms always seem worse at night and although we are unable actually to see a storm, we can however “watch the “lightning” and in this case, “hear the thunder”. Just like humans, some animals are afraid, and try to take cover. In Sasha’s haiku this act of cuddling gives comfort and eases both human and canine. So many of the entries were “telling” rather than “showing”. In Sasha’s haiku, the pivot is strong and it’s a “show” rather than “tell” moment since the word “thunder” isn’t even mentioned, only the sound… “boom”. 



winter silence– 

under the tea towel                                                           

dough is rising  

Daniela Misso


Thank you to this author for sharing her haiku with us. This ritual has been experienced for 9,000 years. Long before the sun comes up and the day’s commotion begins, the baker in the family is already preparing. A floured kitchen work table, and a covered bowl leading to a winter-time holiday treat or bread. I think we’ve all enjoyed whatever it magically led to. So simple. Rising snow levels create a “winter silence” which juxtaposes with the silence of the “rising dough”.



drought season

geese gather around

the last puddle

Wendy Toth-Notarnicola


For third place, I’ve chosen this haiku that perhaps I have a little different take on  having raised geese myself. I remember that without a pond or lake nearby, during a drought we used watering troughs. However, if you are a goose, nothing equals that last muddy brown puddle, nasty with feathers, too small and too shallow, yet geese will gather around, making it a noisy social event and special meeting place. ______


non-stop rain—

in the swollen river

debris of huts

Milan Rajkumar


If you live near an estuary in a monsoon climate like Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa, South/Central America, India, or the US Pacific Northwest, you know about swollen rivers and the debris coming down river… you have seen logs, boats, carcasses, trees, broken docks, and sadly the parts of someone's home, roofs, and pieces of huts, shelters, and such. All the “s” sounds enhance this haiku.




the paddy fields erupt  

with white cranes

Suraja Roychowdhury


I’m sure there must be a “thunder-meter” of some sort to show how loud a thunderclap can be. I heard this haiku and then saw the fields in a different way when all at once hundreds of cranes erupted into the air… when I read this haiku, it seemed like a video. Technically speaking, the haiku is rhythmically strong which is refreshing given some of the oddly structured lines in contemporary haiku today.           


stormy night

i shelter inside the covers                            

of a book

Jay Friedenberg


A warm cozy setting by the fire, snuggling with your favorite blanket and wearing wool socks is an image that hit me in this haiku. To enjoy the rain with not a care in the world as you got “lost” in a book. Or inside “the covers” of a book in this case, as if hiding out from the storm… now primarily only a memorable event of the past in our laptop, TV, and video era of today.


the 1st AHA

The 1st “aha” (Annual Hortensia Anderson) Haiku Contest held in 2013 was created to honor the memory of a well-known and respected New York-based haiku poet, Hortensia Anderson, Rest in Peace Hortensia.

Deadline: open 1 January 2024 to 31 January 2024. 

Sponsor: the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Coordinator: Marilyn Humbert, Australia. 

Blind Adjudication: peterB, USA. 

Eligibility: Open to everyone worldwide.

Awards: This contest is FREE for unlimited entries, with no set theme all rights remain with the haiku poets. Printable Certificates will be emailed to winners for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place, and one HM. (see picture below)

Submissions: Entries must be the original work of the author, be unpublished and never posted publicly anywhere, and not under consideration elsewhere for the entire time period it takes to complete the judging. This contest is un-themed and open to all age groups worldwide, any season is acceptable, and there is no specific syllable requirement with the exception of a short, long, short (or close to) rhythm written in 3 lines of vertical (down) text. Entries that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered, read carefully.

Entry Fee: None, it’s FREE!

Guidelines: Use the subject heading (aha entry), and type each individual haiku only, (no senryu) in the body of your email. Include your name, country, and email contact. Please type in this email: 

mhumbert1953 at Gmail dot com (no political or inappropriate material will be considered by the staff).

From Marilyn: “all entrants will be advised that I have received their entry, but if you haven’t heard from me within 7 days, please re-send.”

Notification: ONLY the winners will be notified and ONLY via email, (and if you have no email address available, (please provide a proxy email address.) If you don’t hear anything back by 1 March 2023, your entries are automatically free to submit elsewhere.

Publication: Winners will be posted in March 2024 on the UHTS website with the Judge’s commentary. 

Thank you for your participation to honor the memory of a wonderful person who contributed so much of herself to the haiku community over the years.