Haiku Hike

Haiku Hike

UPDATE 9/9/2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to shift our priorities and resources to the health and safety of the downtown community. This includes the many small businesses, residents, employees and patrons who need our full attention during this rapidly evolving situation. As of now, the Haiku Hike is postponed until further notice.

We plan on announcing the winners of this year’s Haiku Hike as soon as we can. We still plan on displaying the 20 winning haiku this year (2020) for the public to enjoy. We will continue to post updates to this page.

We want to thank Tucson’s Poet Laureate, TC Tolbert, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center for their partnership.

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus and minimize the long-term disruption of downtown activities, Downtown Tucson Partnership encourages members of the community to follow the guidance of health and government officials. Please visit our website for COVID-19 Resources.


The Downtown Tucson Partnership together with the University of Arizona Poetry Center are proud to announce the 2nd annual Haiku Hike literary competition. Twenty winning haiku poems will be printed on acrylic signage and displayed in downtown planters located on Congress Street and Stone Avenue in Downtown Tucson. These signs will provide visual and cultural interest throughout the spring season, beginning April 3.


What is a Haiku…

… a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables in three lines of five, seven and five.


All haiku entries will be judged by Tucson’s Poet Laureate, TC Tolbert.

This year’s theme will be “Living in the Present Moment.” Learn more about how to write a haiku here.

Only one entry per person, with a maximum of three haiku allowed. Submissions will be accepted through March 10. Winners will be announced on Downtown Tucson Partnership’s website, social media and by email to all entrants. All winners will receive public recognition and have their work featured on public signage, online and in the media.

A few general rules:

  1. One entry per person, with a maximum of three haiku allowed.
  2. Once your haiku are submitted, you aren’t able to edit them. So be sure to look them over before you submit.


Last year’s theme was “Life in the City.” 977 haiku were submitted; 825 came from Tucson and the remaining hailed from 12 different states and five countries.

View the slide show of the first ever Haiku Hike, held on March 21, 2019:

2019 winning haiku:

El Presidio
Layers of time not of past
Sun warmed adobe
– Philip Brown

A shock of green grows
Pushing through the cracked sidewalk
Monsoon graffiti
– Eric Carr

Past the market place,
near Tohono O’odham graves,
the Rillito flows.
– Gerry Connolly

Post-baseball we buy
raspados and sit under
Palo Verdes’ shade.
– Micaila DeClouette

dry riverbeds flow
rainbow crosswalk marks my path
Tucson, meet yourself
– Mark English

Bicycle at eve,
‘Neath the Old Pueblo’s bridges,
Stop – behold the bats.
– Isaac Flater

Community is
The spines of the prickly pear
Not harming the bird.
– Rachel Haimowitz

Mi barrio lindo,
Con tus caras morenas,
Siento alivio
– Robert Hernandez

Pueblo viejo,
Land of mananas para
Todos los gustos
– Wayne Heuple

Noche y día
madreselva del jardín
me trae recuerdos.
– Clara Luna

late night dance party
confetti spills down Congress
monsoon washes clean
– Lisa Periale Martin

Waiting for the buzz
Of late-summer cicadas
Yellow flowers fall.
– Alanna Mejia

Now the day goes still
Letting Tucson catch its breath
While the sky burns red
– Judi Molina

Palo verde dance
A lively Tucson tango
To the streetcar’s hum
– Kevin Orduno

Night unfurls downtown
caress and whoosh of streetcar
train whistles and owls
– Elizabeth Salper

Monastery doors
Open wide for the stranger
All us honored guests
– Joel Smith

Oil spatters. Heated
air wavers. Grandmother twirls
the perfect frybread.
– Monique Soria

orange desert sunrise
the streetcar mirrors blue iris
in cafe window
– Jill Sweeney

Saguaros in bloom
Cultures meeting culturas
Sahuaros en flor
– William Y. Velez

Downtown Tucson walk –
My family ghosts abound here.
Ether presence now.
– Geri Hooper Wharam