I don’t enter many poetry contests, but I do love to see what entries win or place in contests/competitions I enjoy and admire. There is always so much to learn from other writers, of course, and it is always an inspiration to see what others produce.
One competition I really wanted to enter was the Fourth Annual Jane Reichhold Memorial HaigaCompetition, which is co-hosted by Failed Haiku and Prune Juice, two of the very finest Senryu journals around. It is divided into two groups: the Traditional (i.e., with original drawn art) Category (judged by Ron C. Moss) and the Photographic/Mixed Media Category (judged by Steve Hodge). My two entries were in the second category using photographs I had taken. One was left untouched and the other was embellished by some art programs I enjoy using on my iPad.
Imagine my surprise when I found out one of my entries won First Place in the Photographic/Mixed Media Category and the other one got an Honorable Mention! Yes, I was over the moon. It’s a double honor indeed. All the other entries selected in both categories were wonderful. I really can’t imagine how an editor selects one over another, but they do. My thanks to editor, Steve Hodge for selecting both of my haiga in this competition. I am deeply honored. Thanks also to Mike Rehling and Brent Goodman who edit Failed Haiku and Prune Juice.
I’ve included the comments of the editor because it’s always great to hear someone else’s interpretation and response to a poem.
Prune Juice, A Journal of Senryu, Kyoka, Haibun and Haiga, Issue 26 – November 2018
photography by Mary Kendall Highgate Cemetery, London
Photograph by Mary Kendall, Blackwood Farm, Hillsborough, North Carolina
My deepest thanks to Steve Hodge, editor. This was his last issue as editor of Prune Juice. It has been a joy and a wonderful learning experience working with Steve as an editor.
Cover art by Chase Gagnon (c) 2018
Here is the link to the full issue of this amazing journal. It includes the amazing prize winners of the Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga Competition for 2018 (edited by Steve Hodge and Michael Rehling), pdf: pj-26-rev
Published in Prune Juice, Journal of Senryu, Kyoka, Haibun & Haiga, Issue, 24, Spring 2018
Note on the art work for this haiga:When we lived in London in 2017, I was enjoying the beautiful Christmas windows at Fortnum and Mason. You can see what is obviously a part of a window display in this haiga but superimposed on it is a reflection of the buildings that were on the opposite side of the street. It was pure luck (since I’m not much of a photographer and usually only use my iPhone) that the sun was right and I caught this interesting juxtaposition. Obviously it was perfect for pairing with a verse and this senryu seemed to fit the bill.
Last year I posted a request in a Face Book haiku/tanka writing group asking if anyone had a photo of Lily of the Valley that they were willing to share and allow me to use for a piece of tankart I was working on. A very quick response from the poet/photographer Maya Lyubenova gave me the perfect picture. I never really knew Maya. We’d never met, and we chatted only a few times on FaceBook in poetry groups and on Face Book Messenger. I was certainly a real fan of hers. Bulgarian by birth, Maya could compose gorgeous haiku in English. She could also pair her poems with her equally exquisite photographs to create haiga — visual poetry of the highest quality. I was touched by her generosity in allowing me to use the photo she had sent.
Only recently did I learn that Maya Lyubenova had passed away on December 30, 2016. Like so many, I mourn her loss as a person and as a poet and artist. I wish I had known her better, but I cannot change that. Her work still remains for us to look at, to study, to learn from and to be dazzled by … that will not end.
I’d like to dedicate my piece of tankart to Maya Lyubenova — our single connected piece of art. Thank you, Maya, for bringing so much beauty into this world. May you rest in peace.