The First Vladimir Devide Haiku Award was announced on the evening of May 28, 2011 by His Excellency Dr. Drago Stambuk (pictured left), founder and judge, and the Grand Prize went to Jim Kacian of the United States of America.
The award was named in memory of Vladimir Devide, who died last year, as a tribute to the distinguished Croatian japanologist, poet, and tireless promoter of haiku, by his spiritual successor, Drago Stambuk, renowned poet, and former Croatian ambassador to Japan from 2005-2010.
The award received 166 entries from twenty-nine countries, and from this number Dr Stambuk selected ten haiku to be commended, eight as runners up, and one to be awarded the Grand Prize. Each of the haiku were read twice by the Ambassador, apart from the Grand Prize entry, which was read thrice.
The Award was organized by the International Academic Forum as part of the inaugural Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship 2011 (LibrAsia), and will be an annual event. The entries were judged on their literary merit, regardless of whether they were traditional or modern, and the award, in the true spirit of the unifying figure of Vladimir Devide, transcends haiku divisions.
The organization would like to thank the many poets and other lovers of haiku who supported the event, including Akito Arima, President of the Haiku International Association, Hana Fujimoto, the organization's Secretary, Shokan Kondo, President of the Japan Renku Association, and Ban'yan Natsuishi, President of the World Haiku Association, as well as Her Excellency Mira Martinec, new Croatian Ambassador to Japan, Hiroshi Ojima, Honorary Croatian Consul in Osaka, and many others.
The announcement of the award was followed by a poetry reading. Dr Stambuk read a moving selection of his poetry in English and Croatian, including extracts from Black Wave, and from his most recent haiku collection. Scots-Indian poet Bashabi Fraser then read a selection of poems that treated East Meets West themes in a very personal way, underlining both enrichment and loss. The evening ended in an idiosyncratic reading by the Grande Dame of Japanese Literature, Kazuko Shiraishi.
IAFOR has every confidence that the LibrAsia event will grow, and is grateful for the support already given by the Japanese literary community towards the conference, and the haiku prize. Next year will see the widening of the scope of literary events and readings.
A call for entries for the Second Vladimir Devide Haiku Award will be launched in the fall on the IAFOR site, and in collaboration with Haiku Associations throughout the world.
To download the complete list of winners, please click here.