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Julie Warther — Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winner

Julie Warther is the recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems published in 2019 for her poem

day moon
the only witness
remains silent

which was published in Acorn 42.

Commentary from the Panel:

“Few people ever notice the quiet presence of a daymoon. (Someone once questioned me whether there was such a thing.) The daymoon here is indeed observed, and what is more, becomes the observer. And not just a casual observer, but a witness. The only witness. Clearly the poet feels self-conscious about something. Perhaps a moral crossroads. Or a choice already made. Or a heavy heart. Or as I fancy it, a humorous moment of lunacy in the middle of an otherwise ordinary day.”

“If the moon is traditionally associated with enlightenment and/or revelation, this day moon seems quite muted and deferential, offering only a glimpse of what could be. The word “witness” is key. Witness to what? Wrongdoing perhaps, or perhaps it represents another form of witness, that of an insightful truth of some kind. When I read this haiku I feel a sense of loss connected to the act of suppression, as though there is so much more waiting to be said, and something we might urgently need to hear. The understated feminine element in this haiku adds to the power of its message.”

“As one of our two winning ‘moon’ haiku, this one captured our attention right from the beginning of the judging process. There’s a lot said in this more traditional construction of phrase and fragment, and a pleasing musicality is achieved through rhythm and sibilance.
The opening image of a faint moon fading into a clear sky is easy to imagine — easier, perhaps, than noticing it in real life where nothing draws it to our attention — no sound, no bright light, and no shadows cast upon the ground.
Lines 2 & 3 take us indoors and suggest we’re at a legal trial. We are asked to make a connection between a day moon and a witness who observes an event, but never comes forward with any information — useful or otherwise. The implied metaphor makes for a seemingly perfect juxtaposition with the opening image, where both the moon and the witness will fade from sight.”

See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Congratulations, Julie. This is one of my very favorite and the commentary was thoughtful and added even more to reflect upon.

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