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Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards (2013– )

The annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards were inaugurated in 2013 under the aegis of The Heron’s Nest haiku journal in memory of Peggy Willis Lyles (1939–2010), leading American haiku poet and associate editor of The Heron’s Nest from 2002 through 2010. The Lyles Awards were immediately established as one of the most popular and competitive contests for English-language haiku, attracting 1,500–2,000 entries a year; the number jumped over 2,200 in 2020 and over 3,000 in 2021. Regulations for submissions and reports of contest winners as well as the judges’ comments are archived on The Heron’s Nest website.

9th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2021

JudgeFerris Gilli
Number of entries3,115 by 739 poets
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceRon C. Moss,
Tasmania, Australia
tangerine sunset
a small boy gallops
his stick-pony home
Second PlaceCarolyn Hall,
San Francisco, California
we don’t prepare for
wild iris
Third PlaceMarietta McGregor,
Canberra, Australia
a basket of shells
other tides wetting 
other children
Honorable Mention (5)Joe McKeon,
Strongsville, Ohio
candlelight dinner
a whispered question
teases the flame
Bruce H. Feingold,
Berkeley, California
fenced garden
a deer nudges against 
the rusted latch
Michael Dylan Welch,
Sammamish, Washington
winter squall—
my daughter tells me
her doll won’t sleep
Dan Hardison,
Wilmington, North Carolina
lost in the crowd …
mockingbird song
Niki Curatti,
Chicago, Illinois
yard flamingo
its left leg

8th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2020

JudgeSusan Antolin
Number of entries2,214
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceHelen Davison,
New South Wales, Australia
police siren—
a swarm of moths
flat on the wall
Second PlaceMary Stevens,
Hurley, New York
a turn of stars
the girl with the hula hoop
keeps it going
Third PlaceLynn Edge,
Tivoli, Texas
ash buds
my first spring
without him
Honorable Mention (5)Michele Root-Bernstein,
East Lansing, Michigan
stone cistern
the song fills
with wren
Joanne van Helvoort,
Beerta, The Netherlands
first contractions
the heave of the sea
before breaking

Edward Cody Huddleston,
Baxley, Georgia
wildflowers in a vase
she tells me about
her twenties
Anna Race Vosburgh,
Columbia, Tennessee
I clutch the frail hand
that once clutched mine—
winter dusk
Terri L. French,
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
growth spurt—
measuring himself
against the hollyhocks

7th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2019

JudgeCherie Hunter Day
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entries1,738
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceMatthew Markworth,
Mason, Ohio

lily …
a word
Second PlaceJenny Fraser,
Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

abbey ruins
the wintering over  
of stars 
Third PlaceRobin Anna Smith,
Wilmington, Delaware

the snow 
ulu moon
Honorable Mention (3)John Barlow,
Ormskirk, England

deep autumn … 
the peregrine folded 
into slate-grey rain
Joe McKeon,
Strongsville, Ohio

butterfly exhibit 
an innocent man 
is released
John Barlow,
Ormskirk, England

wind-rippled tarn 
a raven’s croak 
echoes through stone

6th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2018

JudgeGary Hotham
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entriesMore than 1,800
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceAlan S. Bridges,
Littleton, Massachusetts

vernal equinox
the bend of an elbow
out a car window
Second PlaceMary Weiler,
Austin, Texas
her Persian carpet
before mourners
disrupt the pattern
Third Place
Hélène Duc,
Bichancourt, France
a scent of light
on snow
Honorable Mention (10)Brad Bennett,
Arlington, Massachusetts
you don’t know
until it’s past
last frost
Tom Clausen,
Ithaca, New York
on the horizon
just enough cloud
to hold some sunset
Steve Dolphy,
Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K.
late autumn sun
every single object
tied to its shadow
Steve Dolphy,
Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K.
the steam
that never left the kettle
water again
Rick Jackofsky,
Rocky Point, New York
shadows casting darkness through an open door
Tomislav Maretić,
Zagreb, Croatia
shallow brook—
first snow settles on a stone
above the water
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
flight path of the geese
soon forgotten by all
but the geese
Tim Murphy,
Madrid, Spain
for company
the snow crunch underfoot
winter solstice
Peter Newton,
Winchendon, Massachusetts
losing hold
of where home is
gift shop seahorses
Olivier Schopfer,
Geneva, Switzerland
digging up
the memory of earth

5th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2017

JudgeSandra Simpson
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entries1,624 from 359 poets
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceGlenn G. Coats,
Prospect, Virginia
swallows at dusk
the way her hands
propel the story
Second PlaceAnn Magyar,
Boston, Massachusetts
the things she carried
in her apron
autumn dusk
Third PlaceJay Friedenberg,
New York, New York
smooth cemetery stone
I run my fingers
across her lifetime
1st Honorable MentionMichael Dylan Welch,
Sammamish, Washington
dappled sun—
the carousel stops
on a high note
2nd Honorable MentionMartha Magenta,
Bristol, England
new ice …
the pattern of
small grudges
Third Honorable MentionHolli Rainwater,
Fresno, Ohio
childhood summers
the weight of a
Fourth Honorable MentionMichele L. Harvey,
Hamilton, New York
her apron strings
now tied around my waist …
Mother’s day
Fifth Honorable MentionEarl R. Keener,
Bethany, West Virginia
the opossum grins
with fifty teeth

4th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2016

JudgeFrancine Banwarth
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entries1,930 from 425 poets
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceMilan Dragović,
Belgrade, Serbia
autumn rain—
nothing left of the gull
but its voice
Second PlaceMeik Blöttenberger,
Hanover, Pennsylvania
winter birds
all my hopeful
Third PlaceCarole MacRury,
Point Roberts, Washington
old memories—
a bellflower folds
around a bee
Honorable Mention (5)Peter Newton,
Winchendon, Massachusetts
pond light on birch bark
    the dream leaves
the way it arrives
Carl Seguiban,
Burnaby, British Columbia
thin harvest— 
I salt the bitterness
out of the gourd
Yesha Shah,
Surat, Gujarat, India
cheshire moon— 
the arc of 
a wall calendar’s rod
Matt Morden,
Newcastle Emlyn, Wales
nowhere to be
the sharpness of sorrel
on my tongue
Dru Philippou,
Taos, New Mexico
last day of school
the new boy offers to take
the turtle home

3rd Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2015

JudgeRoberta Beary
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entries1,868 from 441 poets
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceAdelaide B. Shaw, Millbrook, New Yorkspring equinox
a change in the melody
of melting ice
Second PlaceBeth McFarland,
Karlsruhe, Germany
wren song—
the width
of now
Third PlaceSonam Chhoki,
Thimphu, Bhutan
ultrasound scan
I rearrange
my dreams
Honorable Mention (5)Francine Banwarth,
Dubuque, Iowa
dandelion down to the bare necessities
James Chessing,
San Ramon, California
winter solitude
my chess move marked
return to sender
Dan Curtis,
Victoria, British Columbia
picking through
my boyhood
Charles Doebler,
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
spring harvest
fresh rocks from
the potato field
LeRoy Gorman,
Napanee, Ontario
ocean wind
for the busker’s cup

2nd Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2014

JudgeJim Kacian
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entriesNot stated
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PrizeCarolyn Hall,
San Francisco, California
a password
to access my passwords
the hummingbird’s tongue
Second PrizeFrancine Banwarth,
Dubuque, Iowa
shortest day
spare parts
in a box
Third PrizeAnn K. Schwader,
Westminster, Colorado
this world’s
long shadow
blood moon
Honorable Mention (3)Glenn G. Coats,
Prospect, Virginia
not knowing
when I’ll want it back
winter wind
Carolyn Hall,
San Francisco, California
above all the finch’s song
John Barlow,
Ormskirk, England
gathering clouds
the clack of a clam
on an otter’s stone

1st Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2013

JudgeChristopher Herold
Contest coordinatorJohn Stevenson
Number of entries1,518 by 341 poets
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
First PlaceGarry Gay,
Santa Rosa, California
end of the world
I blow apart
a dandelion
Second PlaceCarole MacRury,
Point Roberts, Washington
spring fever—
the turtle’s neck
at full stretch
Third PlaceChristopher Patchel, Mettawa, Illinoisnevertheless fall colors
First Honorable MentionKirsty Karkow,
Waldoboro, Maine
the housemaid
shakes her mop outside …
cherry blossoms
Second Honorable MentionJim Kacian,
Winchester, Virginia
one step farther
than I wanted to go
spring wind
Third Honorable MentionJoey Russell-Bridgens, Omaha, Nebraskaspring thaw …
what I meant
to tell her
Fourth Honorable MentionTom Painting,
Atlanta, Georgia
cicada shell
our ten-year-old says
he’ll never leave home

The Heron’s Nest

The Heron’s Nest Readers’ Choice Awards

Peggy Willis Lyles

Adapted from “The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards,” The Herons Nest website

Updated on December 14, 2023