Kat Lehmann is the recipient of a Touchstone Individual Poem Award for 2020 for her poem
after the river is gone
this empty bed
Commentary from the Panel:
“A haiku that simply and effectively presents natural imagery with a strong, human undercurrent. The ambiguity implied in the third line creates two versions of the poem, a disjunction (of a kind) that inspires one to read the poem over and over, each time marveling at its power. We know this lover. Alone, now, contemplating the emptiness stretching out ahead.”
“This poem is set to be a haiku classic. A concrete nature poem that carries all of the sorrow of a broken down relationship, but it could also be the grief over a real river bed, in the throws of climate change. As with all excellent haiku, the possibilities for interpretation are endless.”
“This haiku so vividly illustrates the emptiness we feel when something strong, something powerful is removed from our field of vision, leaving us nothing to grasp onto for support.”
See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.