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How Are the Touchstone Awards Decided?

The Touchstone Awards are the premier awards in the field of haiku. Ever wonder how they are chosen? Here’s everything you want to know!

 

What Are The Haiku Foundation Touchstone Awards?

 

The Haiku Foundation, as part of its mission to expand possibilities for English-language haiku, created the Touchstone Awards Series in 2010 for both individual haiku / senryu (The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems) and books (The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award). Both awards seek to reward excellence and innovation in haiku practice each calendar year. Results are determined through a year-long nomination and selection process and are released in April of the following year on International Haiku Poetry Day. Award-recipients are selected by independent panels comprised of authorities in the field.

The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award

 

The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award, the pre-eminent award in the genre, is bestowed annually on published collections of poems, or works of scholarship, that represent noteworthy contributions to English-language haiku in the estimation of a distinguished panel of poets, editors and scholars. The process to determine winners of the Distinguished Books Award requires a Short List comprising up to fifteen volumes of haiku or related work as chosen by the panel, followed by a list of up to ten award-winners.
How Are Panel Members Chosen?

 

The Distinguished Books Award panel consists of five members  chosen by the Touchstone Awards Committee. The Committee is charged to invite panel members from around the world who have demonstrated long-standing expertise in the haiku genre as poet, scholar or publisher.
How Are Books Nominated?

 

Books may be nominated in two ways:

For Print Books:

For a book to be considered for a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award, six copies must be submitted to

The Haiku Foundation
Touchstone Distinguished Books Award
PO Box 2461
Winchester VA
22604-1661 USA

The postmark deadline is December 31 of the current calendar year. Once received, a copy is sent to each of the five panel members; the other is entered into The Haiku Foundation’s permanent hard copy library. There is no reading fee. Each submitter is recognized as a donor to the Foundation and cited on the Donation Page of the website. Award-Recipients and Honorable Mentions will be cited on The Haiku Foundation’s website.

 

 

For Electronic Books:
For an e-book to be considered for a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award, first use this form to nominate your book; then email us a PDF of your e-book. The postmark deadline is December 31 of the current calendar year. Your submitted book will be copied and sent to each of the five panel members. There is no reading fee. Each submitter will be recognized as a donor to the Foundation and cited on the Donation Page of the website. Award-Recipients and Honorable Mentions will be cited on The Haiku Foundation’s website.

 

Enquiries may be directed to our Contact page.

 

Administrators of the Touchstone Awards, as well as Individual panelists, are not eligible.

The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems

 

The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems, the pre-eminent recognition in the genre, is awarded annually to individual haiku or senryu that represent moments of highest realization and/or innovation in the genre of English-language haiku as determined by a distinguished panel of poets, editors and scholars. The process to determine winners of the Award for Individual Poems requires a Long List comprising up to sixty poems chosen by the panel, followed by a Short List of up to thirty poems, and, finally, up to ten award-winners.
How Are Panel Members Chosen?

 

The Award for Individual Poems panel consists of six members who are chosen by the Touchstone Awards Committee. The Committee is charged to invite panel members from around the world who have demonstrated long-standing expertise in the haiku genre as poet, scholar or publisher.
How Are Haiku Nominated?

 

Haiku may be nominated in two ways:
Editors of current journals that feature haiku and/or senryu are invited to submit work from each issue published during the award year. Journals that publish 2 to 4 times per year may nominate up to ten poems per issue; journals published daily or monthly may nominate up to thirty poems per year.

 

and

 

Individuals may nominate two haiku (or senryu), one of their own and one by a fellow poet, published during the award year that have appeared in an edited or juried venue, such as a paper or online journal, or in the results of a haiku contest. Nominations are made using our dedicated entry form.
Award-Recipients and Honorable Mentions are cited on The Haiku Foundation’s website.
How Are Haiku Selected?
In the first round, each of the six panel members considers the entire anonymous roster of poems and nominates their ten highest-ranking choices. Gathered together, these six lists comprise the Long List of up to sixty poems (occasionally members’ choices overlap so the Long List may be shorter). The panel then collectively discusses the merits of the Long List, after which they vote again to create the Short List (up to thirty poems). In the final round, the panel considers only the work on the Short List, then votes to determine which to recognize as Touchstone Award-winners, and jointly write commentaries for them. Authors and citations for winning poems are revealed to the judges only after final votes have been submitted and winning poems have been selected.

 

Enquiries may be directed to our Contact page.
Administrators of the Touchstone Awards, as well as Individual panelists, are not eligible.

We hope this helps you understand how we go about this important and pleasurable task. Let us know if you have any questions!

 

Bruce H. Feingold
Touchstone Coordinator

 

Robin Anna Smith
Associate Coordinator

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Thank you for explaining the selection process. It’s certainly enlightening, and sure to build on the trust and prestige that submitters have for the Awards.

  2. So the address for the book award is identical to the address for Red Moon Press.

    Jim Kacian runs both The Haiku Foundation AND Red Moon Press.

    The idea that the books couldn’t be manipulated in someway reads as questionable, if not downright suspicious, especially considering how many RMP books get selected for the list EVERY YEAR.

    The math on the Touchstone seems questionable, too, especially considering that this years long list is not even 30 poems, half of the proposed “Long List” and less, theoretically, than the short list posted. Again, this reads as questionable and suspicious, and possibly more independence on the part of THF to separate it from RMP might come across as more genuine and honest, as well as more transparency on the part of the judges or, probably more accurate, the Foundation itself.

  3. Thank you for this, think it’s good for everyone to understand how it all works. Our haiku community is so vibrant and diverse, producing many great new books every year and SO many wonderful poems, that being a judge must be a very challenging role. Thank you to those who undertake this big effort!

  4. What if a book is available as both—print as well as electronic version? Which version should be submitted for consideration for the award?

    1. Hi Vandana,

      If a book is published in both print AND ebook format, the nominator may choose either format to submit.

      Thanks for bringing that up!

      Robin

      1. Thanks, Robin.
        I agree with Kristen. It must indeed be challenging for the judges. Hats off to the judges and the coordinators.

  5. Writers receiving the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award have reason to feel proud, but I wonder if The Haiku Society of America,
    which confers the Merit Awards, would agree that the former is the “pre-eminent award in the genre”.

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