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2022 Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun – Awarded

The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce the very first Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun, honoring haibun published in 2022. More than 200 haibun were nominated by poets, readers, and editors around the world. After much deliberation, the three panelists narrowed the field to a Long List of 15 haibun, then a Short List of seven. This third and final round recognizes three haibun with the highest honor of Awarded.

For this first year of Awards for haibun, the panelists and I were very impressed with not only the number of haibun, but also with the overall quality and range of the nominees. These Awarded works represent the very best of the English-language haibun that were published last year. Thank you so much to the haibun panelists—Keith Polette, Renee Owen, and Marietta McGregor—for their time, efforts, and expertise in making these selections and writing the commentaries, setting a high standard for future selections.

The panelists’ commentaries for these Awardees will be shared in the near future, along with those of the Awarded Individual Haiku/Senryu and Books.

Please join us in congratulating the awarded poets!

Kristen Lindquist,
Coordinator, Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun



After Long Absence


the wrinkles on your face have as many different patterns as a snowflake. a snowflake falls between us signaling a change in the temperature like an avalanche brewing in the teapot. in the teapot you gave me so many Christmases ago I save the letters you wrote when you loved me. when you loved me the weather didn’t matter because every day was a rainbow made of angel wings. angel wings on the snow-covered ground form a pattern made by children. children we always meant to have.

dna chart
a part of me
still missing


—Roberta Beary, Contemporary Haibun Online 18.3



gaudy spring


The man who keeps each season in a box is spring cleaning. He polishes the silver box that winter is kept in. It is cold to the touch. Autumn’s box is fashioned of driftwood. If you shake it you can hear dryness rustle. He gives it a little dust. You have to be careful with summer; it’s hot to the touch now. Hold it too long and you’ll burn your fingers. He leaves it alone on the high shelf. Ah, but Spring is his favourite box. Open its cloisonné lid and the buttercups will make your chin glow yellow. There are too many shades of green to count. Ask him politely and he’ll point out Crested Dog’s tail and cowslips and Yorkshire fog. Look closely: there, inside the box. Can you see the young boy with the basin cut? The one who is holding his dad’s hand? They are walking through the wildflower meadow in Muker. Soon they will reach the river with its banks of celandines and oxeye daisies.

faded as a haircut
in a barbershop window
pressed bluebells


 —Alan Peat, 2022 Samurai Haibun Contest



Spatial Concept: Waiting


The first time  I saw it  was at  the Tate  and I was
with you for the first time you wer    so young and
beautiful and your skin was perfec   then when you
asked me to go with you I bough  ome books from
the salvation army the kind wit    ots of photos so I
didn’t come across as a some   nd of dick or stupid
even recognized a few p    tings before reading the
label each time I said      tist’s name you’d turn and
smile even if I got        wrong made me sometimes
wish I’d stitched      mouth shut And then suddenly
there it was ha    g alone on a white wall the beige
canvas slash     I could  almost  hear  the right arm
stabbing th    dragging the blade  down and across
though lat     things  moved on  to multiple wounds
and differ   t tools—bare hands, nails, chisels, even
screwdriv   s  by then I’d lost track of you  after the
first scars appeared your way of cutting off an older
deeper    p in you said  I’m here  lost  lost  you lost

old prison cell
the final tally-mark
the deepest

* Spatial Concept: Waiting (1960), one of a set of paintings by Lucio
Fontana (1899–1968) in which the canvas is sliced.


—Lew Watts, Frogpond 45.1

(NB: Online formatting deviates slightly from that of the original publication.)

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the authors and panel. Quite a challenge, I suggest, choosing one of these three to top the list, let alone all the other haibun under consideration.

  2. What a joy it has been to read the long, then short, and now winner’s list. All three of these are awe-inspiring, but Roberta Beary’s moved me to tears (more than once).

  3. Huge congratulations to Lew and Roberta. Many thanks also to the judges and organisers for all of their time and effort. It’s both a delight and an honour to find my own haibun here too
    Many thanks
    Al 🙂🙏

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