2023 Mukai Farm and Gardens Haikufest Contest

In the spring of 2023 I cojudged the fourth annual Mukai Haiku Contest for Mukai Farm and Gardens on Vashon Island, Washington. My cojudges were Barbara Johns and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma. The submission guidelines for this contest required poems to be 5-7-5 syllables, and poems were divided into six categories, as indicated. We chose winning poems from 570 entries sent from 13 countries. These poems and many other selections were elegantly displayed at the garden in April and May of 2023, starting with the announcement of Haikufest winners on 9 April 2023.



Mom’s 3-by-5 card:

Fold apple pieces gently

into the cake dough

         Ann Spiers





strawberry picking

my young daughter has sunshine

dripping down her chin

         Kelly Sargent





on my windowsill

all the packets of spring seeds

I never planted . . .

         Adele Evershed



Social Justice


caught on a riptide

a suitcase spills its contents

old shirts and new dreams

         Adele Evershed



Young Poet (age 0–12)


Salmonberries bloom

Morning dew settles on their

Delicate petals

             Juno Leonard



Young Person (age 13–18)


Stop war

By shaking hands

With sunflowers





         Yoshiki Nobuhara



In addition to our preceding selections, a popular vote by visitors to the garden and its website chose the following people’s choice winner.


People’s Choice Award


The fish are mere words,

I, the fisher, hold the net,

poetry, and cast

             Ellen Zhang