Ron C Moss is the recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Honorable Mention for 2019 for his volume Broken Starfish (Leslie Vale, Tasmania: Walleah Press, 2019).
Commentary from the Panel:
One of the hallmarks of our best haiku poets is that the experience they share in their poems is immediately recognizable by the reader. Not necessarily is the moment the reader remembers identical to that of the poet but the words are so empathetically written that we can make out something of ourselves from the poem.
In Broken Starfish, by Ron Moss, we have just such a volume of poems that we can make our own. Ron lives in a rural area of Tasmania off the coast of Australia. He often takes the reader with him on his walks through this beautiful landscape. This is just one example.
close to the waterfall the sound I become lost in
Almost everyone has experienced this moment when nature overwhelms us so totally. Here the poet and the reader share that moment, standing together at the waterfall, but on a printed page. This deeply personal moment resonates differently with every reading.
There are also moments that are emblematic of an instant in time, and yet they are expertly and pleasantly presented to us. Here are two fine expressions of observational events.
a sliver of moon
the old bluesman
breaks a string
mother’s pin cushion
sparkles in the light
Both of these poems provide us with a picture that is deeply personal to the poet, he knows the characters contained in them, but as readers, we find our way into a similar scene from our own lives with ease. These elegant presentations in just a few syllables create a kinship with the poet and this kinship with the reader represents the ‘standard’ of excellence that shines throughout this book.
Oh, and not to overlook them, although examples of them cannot be included in this short review, this book is filled with wonderful ink paintings by Ron himself. The cover of this book alone is worthy of a frame, but the Sumi-e and Zenga paintings the reader receives as a sweet ‘bonus’ are worth the price of the book by themselves. You will find yourself caught unable to turn the page well after you have read the poems. Each brushstroke is so clearly rendered in this printing that you almost feel they are the original.
Ron C. Moss has given us a part of himself and expertly invited us into his world for our own enjoyment.
See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.