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Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards

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 until 2020, when the number jumped over 2,200. Regulations for submissions and reports of contest winners as well as the judges’ comments are archived on The Heron’s Nest website.

8th Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2020

JudgeSusan Antolin
Number of entries2,214
Announcement of results & judge’s commentsThe Heron’s Nest website
1st PlaceHelen Davison,
New South Wales, Australia
police siren—
a swarm of moths
flat on the wall
2nd PlaceMary Stevens,
Hurley, N.Y.
a turn of stars
the girl with the hula hoop
keeps it going
3rd PlaceLynn Edge,
Tivoli, Texas
ash buds
my first spring
without him
Honorable Mention (5)Michele Root-Bernstein,
East Lansing, Mich.
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, Ga.
wildflowers in a vase
she tells me about
her twenties
Anna Race Vosburgh,
Columbia, Tenn.
I clutch the frail hand
that once clutched mine—
winter dusk
Terri L. French,
Sioux Falls, S. D.
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
1st PlaceMatthew Markworth,
Mason, Ohio

lily …
a word
2nd PlaceJenny Fraser,
Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

abbey ruins
the wintering over  
of stars 
3rd PlaceRobin Anna Smith,
Wilmington, Del.

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
1st PlaceAlan S. Bridges,
Littleton, Mass.

vernal equinox
the bend of an elbow
out a car window
2nd PlaceMary Weiler,
Austin, Texas
her Persian carpet
before mourners
disrupt the pattern
3rd Place
Hélène Duc,
Bichancourt, France
a scent of light
on snow
Honorable Mention (10)Brad Bennett,
Arlington, Mass.
you don’t know
until it’s past
last frost
Tom Clausen,
Ithaca, N.Y.
on the horizon
just enough cloud
to hold some sunset
Steve Dolphy,
Eastleigh, Hamps., U.K.
late autumn sun
every single object
tied to its shadow
Steve Dolphy,
Eastleigh, Hamps., U.K.
the steam
that never left the kettle
water again
Rick Jackofsky,
Rocky Point, N.Y.
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, Canada
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, Mass.
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
1st PlaceGlenn G. Coats,
Prospect, Va.
swallows at dusk
the way her hands
propel the story
2nd PlaceAnn Magyar,
Boston, Mass.
the things she carried
in her apron
autumn dusk
3rd PlaceJay Friedenberg,
New York, N.Y.
smooth cemetery stone
I run my fingers
across her lifetime
1st Honorable MentionMichael Dylan Welch,
Sammamish, Wash.
dappled sun—
the carousel stops
on a high note
2nd Honorable MentionMartha Magenta,
Bristol, England
new ice …
the pattern of
small grudges
3rd Honorable MentionHolli Rainwater,
Fresno, Ohio
childhood summers
the weight of a
4th Honorable MentionMichele L. Harvey,
Hamilton, N.Y.
her apron strings
now tied around my waist …
Mother’s day
5th Honorable MentionEarl R. Keener,
Bethany, W.Va.
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
1st PlaceMilan Dragović,
Belgrade, Serbia
autumn rain—
nothing left of the gull
but its voice
2nd PlaceMeik Blöttenberger,
Hanover, Pa.
winter birds
all my hopeful
3rd PlaceCarole MacRury,
Point Roberts, Wash.
old memories—
a bellflower folds
around a bee
Honorable Mention (5)Peter Newton,
Winchendon, Mass.
pond light on birch bark
    the dream leaves
the way it arrives
Carl Seguiban,
Burnaby, B.C., Canada
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, N.M.
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
1st PlaceAdelaide B. Shaw, Millbrook, N.Y.spring equinox
a change in the melody
of melting ice
2nd PlaceBeth McFarland,
Karlsruhe, Germany
wren song—
the width
of now
3rd PlaceSonam Chhoki, Thimphu, Bhutanultrasound scan
I rearrange
my dreams
Honorable Mention (5)Francine Banwarth,
Dubuque, Iowa
dandelion down to the bare necessities
James Chessing,
San Ramon, Calif.
winter solitude
my chess move marked
return to sender
Dan Curtis,
Victoria, B.C., Canada
picking through
my boyhood
Charles Doebler,
Bellefonte, Pa.
spring harvest
fresh rocks from
the potato field
LeRoy Gorman,
Napanee, Ont., Canada
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
1st PrizeCarolyn Hall,
San Francisco, Calif.
a password
to access my passwords
the hummingbird’s tongue
2nd PrizeFrancine Banwarth,
Dubuque, Iowa
shortest day
spare parts
in a box
3rd PrizeAnn K. Schwader,
Westminster, Col.
this world’s
long shadow
blood moon
Honorable Mention (3)Glenn G. Coats,
Prospect, Va.
not knowing
when I’ll want it back
winter wind
Carolyn Hall,
San Francisco, Calif.
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
1st PlaceGarry Gay,
Santa Rosa, Calif.
end of the world
I blow apart
a dandelion
2nd PlaceCarole MacRury,
Point Roberts, Wash.
spring fever—
the turtle’s neck
at full stretch
3rd PlaceChristopher Patchel, Mettawa, Ill.nevertheless fall colors
1st Honorable MentionKirsty Karkow,
Waldoboro, Maine
the housemaid
shakes her mop outside …
cherry blossoms
2nd Honorable MentionJim Kacian,
Winchester, Va.
one step farther
than I wanted to go
spring wind
3rd Honorable MentionJoey Russell-Bridgens, Omaha, Neb.spring thaw …
what I meant
to tell her
4th Honorable MentionTom Painting,
Atlanta, Ga.
cicada shell
our ten-year-old says
he’ll never leave home

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Updated on April 17, 2021