Renée Owen is the recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems published in 2019 for her poem
be still wind and know rain that I am tree
published in Modern Haiku 50.2.
Commentary from the Panel:
“A poem with a biblical vertical axis (literally!) and one that illustrates purposeful innovation of form in keeping with the theme. So many varied combinations and connections that all merge into oneness.
How do I let go in times of turmoil? Amid chaos, how do I practice quiet faith? Perhaps one of the shortest routes to spiritual peace is to look within one’s own heart in communion with nature.
This poem speaks (among many things) to the gifts of a haiku practice.”
“This haiku is both novel and compelling. Do we read it from top to bottom or left to right? Does the pronoun refer to God or to the reader? For those of the Christian faith, perhaps the answer is clear. For those who don’t recognize the biblical connection, there are other possibilities — perhaps enough to make our heads spin. “Be still” can feel like advice to oneself and the phrase “and know that I am” prompts the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What is my purpose?’
These ten one-syllable words almost demand that we be still and listen. They suggest that I (the reader) am part of everything, just as everything is part of me. We can read each line on the left and follow it with any of the words on the right. In doing so, we see that everything is interconnected in one way or another. How we and nature act and interact influences everyone and everything else. The haiku is both thoughtful, provocative, and worthy of a Touchstone
See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.