Filoli Haiku Competition

A sanctuary for healing and building connections for all people, Filoli boasts “654 acres of beauty nestled along the slopes of California’s coastal range… which includes a nature preserve with 5 distinct ecosystems.” In acknowledging Filoli’s role in ecology and conservation and as an arts and cultural hub, it is important to also highlight how the staff addresses climate change and sustainability while retaining historic viewsheds. Filoli’s Kara Newport outlines the process and challenges of adapting a timeless garden in this article in the Forum Journal, vol. 32 no. 3, 2018, p. 61-69. Project MUSE.

In 2020, Filoli launched an annual haiku competition in collaboration with San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto to encourage an appreciation of nature and a love of poetry. It included a special category for poets below 18, and in the last couple of years, close to a thousand poems by students as young as 6, have been crafted about Filoli’s winter garden. Below are Best Under 18 winning poems:

2021 Best Under 18

The soft hum of wings
darting among the flowers
seeking winter blooms
–Lydia Becker
2020 Best Under 18

short and dense hedges 
faded red, perfectly trimmed
run around the path
–Eli Schlanger

In 2022, along with the Annual Haiku Competition, the Filoli Ecopoetry Award was launched to encourage submissions that engage not only the beauty of nature but also the impacts of climate change.