Golden Haiku Poetry Contest


Originating in Japan, haiku is the shortest form of poetry in the world. In a short descriptive verse, it captures a moment in the poet’s life or simply expresses the beauty of nature.

Since 2014, the Golden Triangle BID has hosted the Golden Haiku poetry contest to bring pops of warmth, color, and inspiration to the streets of downtown DC during the late winter months. We invited the public to write and submit original, contemporary haiku for this temporary community art project. In 2021, we introduced a youth category, inviting students to explore haiku and perhaps become published poets. The contest is open to all ages, worldwide.

Submissions are reviewed by an expert panel of judges; winning poets receive prizes, and winning haiku are displayed on colorful street signs in the tree boxes lining the streets of the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

The contest’s popularity has grown each year; it is internationally recognized and beloved by locals and visitors alike. In 2022, we received entries from 71 countries, 49 states, and the District of Columbia. See winning haiku from 2023 here.

2023 Theme – Notes to Nature


Golden Haiku follows the Haiku Society of America’s guidelines for modern haiku, which does not require the traditional 5-7-5 structure. Removing the strict structural requirements for syllables frees the author to use evocative language to capture a moment or expression of beauty in a short, descriptive verse. Learn more about how to write a contemporary haiku here.

All entries are reviewed and judged by a distinguished panel of published haiku experts (see below) who select first, second, and third place winners, a regional favorite, and Youth Category winners.

Authors of the winning haiku received:

First Place – $500
Second Place – $200
Third Place – $100
Regional/DC Winner – $200
Youth Category Winners:
High School Winner – $150
Elementary/Middle School Winner – $75

Winning haiku—along with a selection of judges’ choices—are displayed in hundreds of tree boxes along some of Washington DC’s most iconic streets from March through early May. The colorful haiku signs brighten the winter landscape for all passersby to enjoy, reminding them during those late winter months that spring is just around the corner.

Contest Dates

Submission period opened January 9 through February 5, 2023.

Each participant may enter only once, submitting a maximum of two original, self-authored haiku via the submission form. Previously published, self-authored haiku are eligible. Winners will be notified by email in early March, and publicly announced in mid-March.

About the Judges

Abigail Friedman is an award-winning author of numerous works on haiku, including The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan (Stone Bridge Press), I Wait for the Moon: 100 Haiku of Momoko Kuroda (Stone Bridge Press), and Street Chatter Fading (Larkspur Press). She is a former diplomat and is on the Board of Trustees of the Japan-America Society of Washington, D.C.

Lenard Moore has been authoring haiku for more than 40 years. He was the first African American president elected of the Haiku Society of America. His published poetry has been translated into multiple languages and includes Poems of Love & Understanding (Carlton Press), The Open Eye (NC Haiku Society Press), and Desert Storm: A Brief History (Los Hombres Press).

Kit Pancoast Nagamura has been a columnist for The Japan Times for over a decade and appeared as a regular on NHK World‘s Haiku Masters and Journeys in Japan programs. She has won one of Japan’s prestigious Ito-en Oi Cha Haiku Contest prizes and is a member of the Haiku International Association. Her book, Grit, Grace, and Gold, was published in 2020. She will be judging from Japan.

John Stevenson is managing editor of The Heron’s Nest. A former President of the Haiku Society of America, he has served as editor of Frogpond. He is the author of books such as Quiet Enough, Some of the Silence, Live Again, (d)ark, and Emoji Moon.


If you have any additional questions, please contact

Golden Haiku 2023: Submissions from Around the Globe