First Annual H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest

First Annual H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest

Gene Murtha, has left us, too soon, but his humor, tenderness, and a superb gift of imagination remains in his many poems, most of which you can find by searching ‘The Heron’s Nest‘. Gene touched on subjects and emotions that ran the gamut of a life that is fully lived. He loved nature, family, and his fellow poets. Any flaws that he had, and he would admit to many, were overshadowed by his ability to express the most complex emotions simply and directly. A few of his poems may provide you inspiration:

spring mist –
a mallard paddles
through our stillborn’s ashes

where my brother stood –
twilight chill

Berlin Wall
a smooth stone
in my pocket

Contest Rules

1. Only TWO submissions per poet.
2. Previously published work is fine, as are poems that have been workshopped or appeared on social media, with the exception of work that has previously appeared in either of Prunejuice or Failed Haiku.
3. Short submission time of 10 days. Submissions begin on May 15th beginning at 12:01 AM EDT, and must be in our email box by midnight EDT on May 25. Any emails received either before or after will NOT be judged.
4. All email submissions MUST be sent to:, with CONTEST in the Subject field.
5. Winners will be notified by June 15th, and their poems will be published in BOTH Prunejuice and Failed Haiku in the July 1 issues, with a write up by either Steve Hodge and Michael Rehling.
6. PRIZES: 1st Place: $50.00, 2nd Place: $25.00, 3rd Place: $25.00. All three of the winners will also receive a book of poetry by one of the following senryu poets: Alexis Rotella, Roberta Beary, or Alan Pizzarelli.
7. Judges for this contest are the editors of Prunejuice and Failed Haiku: Steve Hodge and Michael Rehling respectively.
STEVE HODGE                                          MIKE REHLING
Editor: Prunejuice                                      Editor: Failed Haiku

9 thoughts on “First Annual H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest

  1. Amy

    I’ll immediately grasp your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription link
    or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognise so that I may just subscribe.


  2. Melinda

    I have officially confused myself, so thought I’d clarify here. In a post on Facebook, I could have sworn that the entries could include stand-alone senryu or be part of a haiga or haibun. Now, I do not find anything on this page that says either way. Perhaps I’m confusing two different FB posts. So, to be sure, does the H Gene Murtha contest accept stand-alone poems only? Thanks.


    1. mikerehling Post author

      Melinda, the ‘Contest’ is just for senryu. Failed Haiku, and Prunjuice Journal both include any ‘senryu based’ creations. For the contest please only submit stand alone senryu, not haibun, or haiga. Thanks!


  3. haikutec

    Terrific contest and I hope all the entries do justice to Gene’s quality of writing.

    One question I’ve been asked by a group of writers, is there a fee to enter (no problem) or is it free to enter?

    warm regards,

    Alan, With Words


    1. mikerehling Post author

      There is NO fee whatsoever. We want good senryu, and the prizes are paid for by Prunjuice and Failed Haiku. I don’t care for entry fees myself, so I will never charge them where Failed Haiku is involved. Thanks for asking.




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