Scott Mason is a recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2017 for his volume The Wonder Code (Chappaqua, NY: Girasole Press, 2017).
Commentary from the Panel:
“In The Wonder Code, author Scott Mason reflects upon the basic elements of haiku and with diligence and intelligence extends ‘[t]he unwavering gaze of haiku poetry’ into contemporary life. The book is not only a substantial introduction to haiku as literature but a jolt (delivered with exuberance and élan) toward life-changing discovery and ‘seeing the world with new eyes.’
“There is not only a lover of poetry at work here but an accomplished and informed life-coach who has discovered in haiku something necessary to encourage and promote purely in the interests of self-realization and personal development.
“While Mason is careful not to cut contemporary haiku free from its historical moorings in Japanese culture, the book does successfully map its affinities and course through dozens of other influences, mostly Western, demonstrating the why and wherefore of its universal (and ever-growing) appeal. The unfolding of the book’s five chapters, each focused on a single theme and accompanied by a gallery of poems from the haiku journal The Heron’s Nest, is refreshing, powerful, and illuminating.
“Here is a random sampling of the kind of poem selected, interspersed in the prose and featured in the galleries:
night of stars all along the precipice goat bells ring — an’ya so suddenly winter baby teeth at the bottom of the button jar — Carolyn Hall evening light a loaf of bread on the cutting board — John Stevenson honeymoon we wade into the current of a great river — Kirsty Karkow
“Additionally, in ‘Solo Exhibition’ at the end of the book, the author has tucked 102 of his own haiku, matching them to the chapter headings.
“For its contribution to appreciating and understanding haiku, we think The Wonder Code is a good bet to stand the test of time and take a special place beside titles by Blyth, Henderson, and Higginson.”
See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.