Library Literary Contests

Haiku Contest

The University of North Florida's Thomas G. Carpenter Library hosts an annual Haiku Contest in celebration of National Poetry Month (April) and National Haiku Poetry Day (April 17). All UNF students, faculty, and staff are welcome to participate, and submissions must be submitted online. Haiku submissions may be about any topic or subject, but must be original and adhere to the 5+7+5 rule.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a haiku (/ˈhīˌko͞o/) is defined as:

noun: haiku; plural noun: haikus; plural noun: haiku

  1. a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

    • a poem in English written in the form of a haiku.

Click here to visit for a more detailed explanation of haiku and some famous examples.


Contest Rules:

  1. Participants must be a current UNF affiliate (student, faculty, or staff)

  2. Entries must be submitted by the deadline

  3. Submissions will be judged by a blind review panel composed of UNF Library faculty and staff 

  4. Participants may submit multiple entries, but can only win one prize

  5. Haikus that are not original or do not follow the 5+7+5 rule will be disqualified

  6. Submissions that violate privacy, promote illegal activity, or incite violence will be disqualified

2020 Contest

The library's inaugural Haiku Contest took place in April 2020. We received 152 entries from students, faculty and staff, of which all were judged by a panel of library volunteers. Our chosen winners were as follows:

First place:

Small, winged musicians/  perched on branches pierce silence/  with beacons of hope.

Anjeanette Alexander-Smith – Faculty Member, English

Second place:

My nights are consumed  By thoughts of distant places  Under the same moon.

Jenna Swiney – Undergraduate Student, Health Science

Third place:

Bad idea this was  |coming home to quarantine  |send help, moms a pest.

Qhamora Kimbrough – Staff Member, Admissions

2021 Contest

Our second annual Haiku Contest received 75 entries from students, faculty and staff. The winners were as follows:

First place:

Black has been defined By some random guy with pride Why can’t black decide

Cadrian Kennedy – Undergraduate Student, Behavioral Neuroscience

Second place:

Open bag of chips— Librarian glares at me, Mask stays on, hungry.

Bryce Abell – Undergraduate Student, English

Third place:

I try to walk fast Pero el mundo corre Estoy cansada

Gabriella Senior – Graduate Student, Exercise Science and Chronic Disease

Runner-Up Haikus

Ospreys, listen here: When you feel you’ve gotten lost, Return to your nest – Carter Montgomery, Graduate Student, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Bottles cant contain All the sugar I would need To get through this day  – David Enicks, Undergraduate Student, CCEC

You're a warm blanket / when I'm shivering from cold / you are my comfort – Hope Rendell, Graduate Student, Social Work

I tried to get up But my leg was still asleep Welp no class for me – Aaliyah Murray, Undergraduate Student, Elementary Education

Running from geese, fear What did I do? Scary honk Please save me from them – Kathryn Fox, Undergraduate Student, Communication

2022 Contest

Haiku Contest grpahic

Our third annual Haiku Contest received 85 entries from students, faculty and staff. The winners were as follows:

First place:

It was wild and free The place where ospreys rested Fifty years ago

Ashley Helmick – Staff Member, Alumni Services

Second place:

I'm blind but I see, Others often show pity, Never once asked for

Christopher Hughart – Undergraduate Student, Information Technology

Third place:

Go!  Leave. Me. Alone. / My leg is not your dinner. / One slap.  Red splat.  Ew.

Euboea Brown – Staff Member, Enrollment Services Processing

Runner-Up Haikus

Watch, wait, wriggle... fire! /Brazen teeth. Eyes in the dark. /Fluffy hunts her prey. – Nicolas Michaud, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary

oh to be a cat basking in the warm sun's rays on a windowsill – Marshall Smith, Undergraduate Student, Electrical Engineering

Days seem shorter, no?  Much to do, so little time. So I will just nap. – Kirsten Victorian, Undergraduate Student, Behavioral Neuroscience

Magnificent waves,  Rising up and crashing down,  Why am I the same? – Rhetta Moore, Graduate Student, Business Analytics

(Title: A Kitten's Warmth)  The loveliest friend A warm and furry soulmate  Curls up beside me – Allison Bradish, Undergraduate Student, Communication

Wan light warms headstone / Fallen leaves shroud the worn path / My heart knows the way – Elisa Martin, Staff Member, Student Affairs

Longing for you now, but you are gone with the tide, and I have no boat. – Michael Samoyedny, Undergraduate Student, Finance

2023 Contest

Our fourth annual Haiku Contest received 124 entries from students, faculty and staff. The winners were as follows:

First place:

Blank page, white as snow Thoughts like ice, refuse to flow— Writer's block, oh woe

Holly Coleman – Graduate Student, English

Second place:

Laptop's gentle hum, Library books piled up high, Classmates' chatter near. 

Kimberly Laynes – Graduate Student, Computer Science

Third place:

Harvest moon shines bright What does she reap from your field? That what you planted?

John Pullin – Undergraduate Student, Journalism

Runner-Up Haikus

A bright beautiful and shimmering world, so vast but is it for me? – Mark Palompo, Undergraduate Student, Biology

Ozzie, Oh Ozzie  | Your piercing stare, quite intense  | Nowhere to escape – Valeria Montes Melendez, Undergraduate Student, Biology

I just want to be Top three of haiku contest  So I can buy food – Chayada Songsakul, Undergraduate Student, Public Health

A chill raises hair / along my flesh. Cover me / with blankets of down. – Rhen Garlitz, Undergraduate Student, Early Childhood Education

Books line the shelves still  Silent pages wait for us  Library's embrace – Hailey Jacobsen, Undergraduate Student, Political Science

Life is a highway. I failed my drivers test twice. Drove on the sidewalk. – Simone Siefker, Undergraduate Student, Exploratory

Stars above so bright. Creatures awake in the night. My future in sight. – Kiela Jefferson, Undergraduate Student, English

Star-flowered fragrance   Aggressively smothers tree    When the jasmine blooms – Amanda Moore, Staff Member, FL Institute of Education

On the stage, I am /  a different person. I am / a better person. – Amanda Bubb, Undergraduate Student, Health Administration

Piled up assignments, Netflix calls, but grades are due, Procrastination. – Kimberley Laynes, Graduate Student, Computer Science