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2022 Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems — Awarded

The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems for haiku and senryu published in 2022. Just under 1300 poems were nominated this year by poets, readers, and editors around the world. The Individual Poems Panel considered the poems as a group as well as individually. A first winnowing resulted in the Long List of 53 poems from a wide range of journals, books, and contests, and a second round of voting and discussion led to the Short List of 31 poems. Our third and final round recognizes five poems with the highest honor of Awarded.

I speak for the entire panel when I say the quality of poems this year was exceptional. The Awarded poems represent the panel’s assessment of the very best of what English-language haiku and senryu have to offer. I wish to thank its members — Roberta Beary, Gregory Longenecker, Pravat Kumar Padhy, Marianne Paul, Agnes Eva Savich, and Angela Terry — for their diligence, expertise, and effort.

We will soon be sharing the panelists’ commentaries for these poems in future posts.

Join us in congratulating the winning poets!


Robin Anna Smith,
Coordinator, Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems



coming out . . .
my father’s love
with an *

— Peg Cherrin-Myers, Kingfisher #6, October 2022


once more around the dance floor IV pole

— Lorraine A Padden, Blōō Outlier Journal, Senryu Special, New Year’s Eve/Winter 2022


shifting clouds my child’s pronouns

— Bryan Rickert, Prune Juice Journal, Issue 38


a bookmark
where my son
grew too old

— Chad Lee Robinson, Prune Juice Journal, Issue 37


silent after
the shooting

— Joshua Eric Williams, Rattle, Poets Respond, July 2022

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Congratulations to all! All the work is inspirational. I appreciate the human focus in most of the selections, especially as the Covid-19 years have been introspective and soul-searching times. It makes me want to read the past Touchstone winners to reflect on history and changing times.

  2. An amazing crop of poems. Seems there’s a tiny bit of criticism about the topical nature of this year’s batch of winners, but in my view, haiku is less about the topics that are being addressed than about the very act of deep observation of what’s around us. These haiku are great examples of the small moments in each of the haijin’s lives that they’ve deftly distilled into poignant statements. Congratulations to everyone, it is well deserved!

  3. I don’t know what to say. I’m just so happy! I still can’t believe that’s my poem up there hanging out with Lorraine, Bryan, Chad Lee & Joshua Eric’s poems. Thank you, Roberta Beary, Pravat Kumar Padhy, Agnes Eva Savich, Marianne Paul, Angela Terry, & Gregory Longenecker, for including mine. And thank you, Robin Smith, and the coordinators, for all the behind-the-scenes work involved.

    I also want to give a big shout-out & thank you to editor Tanya McDonald for making it happen!

    What a great day!

  4. BIG Congratulations to all winners! Striking and unique haiku selected by the panel of judges. Kudos also to the journal editors who published these award-winning poems.

  5. My favourites of the winners are Chad Lee Robinson’s ‘a bookmark’ (I felt certain that this haiku would be a winner) and Joshua Eric Williams’s ‘silent’ : the more I read this one the more it stands out from the others.

    It’s interesting that Dimitri Parseff notes that Robinson’s is the one of the five that is ” the least topical”, because my first thought, too, was that it seemed as if all of the chosen haiku were responses to a thematic prompt: ” focus on people and make it a bit edgy ” . (I know there wasn’t supposed to be such a theme)

    1. “coming out”, 2. “IV pole”, 3. “my child”, 4. “my son”. All clearly human-focused, human-centred. Nothing of the world beyond the human in sight! (Does this make them all senryu? Or do we save the word ‘senryu’ for humorous verses? I have the question but don’t know the answer)

    5. Joshua Eric Williams’ haiku is the only one of the five that implies ‘people’: the “I” or “we” in L1 are silent, grammatically as well as literally. We are silent after yet another news report about shooting in this gun-happy world…ah but no, that’s a misdirection, no-one’s been shot: it’s “shooting stars”, a truly awesome sight! . . .
    or is it? Could it be the gun-happy shooting that “stars” (verb) yet again, in the news reports and headlines? I admire the craft of this haiku, that surely leaves readers in the realm of uncertainty, uneasiness.

    Congratulations to the winners, and I look forward to reading the comments from each of the judges.

  6. I am very honored to be acknowledged alongside such wonderful poets. My congratulations to all and my deepest appreciation to the Touchstone judges.

  7. Absolutely stunned to receive this tremendous honor! Heartfelt congratulations to the other poets and much gratitude to the judges, award coordinators and THF community!

  8. I am thrilled with these choices especially since three of my favorites from the long list made it all the way here.

    Congratulations to all and major respect to the judges for their impossible task.

  9. Excellent selection. Wonderful poems. So simple yet so profound. Congratulations to all the winners.

  10. I am honored to have a poem among the winners. Congrats to the other winners, especially for writing so well about difficult topics. And to the panel of judges, for your hard work, dedication and talent, my deepest thanks. As a past judge for the Touchstone Book Awards, I know that judging these awards is no easy feat. And I don’t want to forget the contest coordinators. My thanks to all.

  11. Wow, two of these could have been part of the LGBTQ+ haiku that I selected for April! (Not to worry, I chose other haiku from winners Peg Cherrin-Myers and Bryan Rickert, ones a little less recent–and there are 13 more days to look forward to.) Huge congratulations to all these winning poets and the spectacular judges.

  12. There is strong work here, especially “once more” and “silent after”, in my opinion. “a bookmark” as well, which of these five is the least topical.

    And the selections *are* more topical than in recent years. This might have something to do with the panel this year. I do not doubt their sincerity— but I find it interesting.

    It is difficult (I find it so) to write haiku about such things as coming out, as gender fluidity and gun violence without it coming across as a statement, or taking a position. To have a feeling tone. Poets here are to be congratulated for managing
    this. Other poets managed different things equally well, but this was not their year.

  13. Wow, congrats to CoTP poets, and congrats to Blo͞o Outlier Journal!
    And congrats to everyone!

    warm regards,
    editor/founder, Blo͞o Outlier Journal

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