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Terry Ann Carter — Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Winner 2017

Terry Ann Carter is a recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2017 for her volume Tokaido (Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2017).

Commentary from the Panel:

“Terry Ann Carter’s Tokaido is a remarkable book of haibun, written and strategically organized as an artist’s journal on a quest or pilgrimage to see and feel what matters most in our lives . . . desire, loss, creativity, love, joy, pain, fear, hope, and especially, art itself. The book is titled Tokaido based on a book by Ichiryusai Hiroshige, a famous woodblock artist who created a series of 53 prints of famous stopping points along the way of the Tokaido road. These Japanese prints are popular because they not only capture the beauty of these stations along the ocean but also the ambitions, work, and life of the people traveling or living in 19th century Japan. Carter has organized and titled each of the 53 haibun in this collection based on the prints in Hiroshige’s book. In the same spirit as Hiroshige her haibun capture a multiplicity of things and feelings happening at once. Within a single haibun she may begin with references to woodblock printing but shift attention to beeping medical technology. Her bittersweet journey is both a creative response to Hiroshige’s art and a more immediate, intuitive response to the life around her. She imaginatively dialogues with Hiroshige as a fellow artist but doesn’t stay stuck in the culture of old Japan. Her haibun provide connections that can leap time, space, art and technology, but end up with a haiku that snaps us back to a moment of “for now” in this instant. Throughout this book, Carter conveys an underlying sense of loss and the artist’s desire to perfect a work of art. This desire is also evident in a wish for our lives as a work of art we seek to perfect. Carter’s insight through this book is that on the artist’s pilgrimage, we have to make do with what we can accomplish and how much love we can nourish into fruitful blessings in our lives. Here are two of her evocative haibun:

Living Close to the Pacific; Or, Music as a Low Grey Rain

Eyes find nothing to see but sea and clouds and a colour without colour. Bashô spoke of this one colour world while birds scissor the water soundlessly. Garry oaks in my neighouring forest and arbutus, bark split like a wasteland. Only the sickle moon, nestled in black branches. Buddhists believe in several selves. Reinvention I think they call it. How many waves carry the taste of salt into sunlit spaces?

Shiki once wrote: remember that large things are large. Small things are large, too, when seen up close.

his doctor
the sky is not falling


Have I Endured Enough?

My brother is dead. I fold him into a book I have made called Requiem. His mathematical mind split open.

He loved music, angles, Chinese ideograms. Walked in parks to discover theorems. His notebooks, undecipherable. There were voices in his head. Hiro, I walk with you and my brother in the forest behind my small home. Where ravens croak their love songs. A paradisal jazz.

deserted road
gilt of sunset
on Queen Anne’s lace

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

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Your book is a treasure Terry Ann. What an insightful write up and I adore the examples shown here. This is a pilgrimage of love. So glad I have this in my possession. I lingered on each station, almost reluctant to move to the next, so good is the writing.

      1. That would be fantastic!
        I was hoping HNA2019 might choose Canada again, as I’ve never visited. But we do have friends over there, but in Ontario mostly. 🙂

        1. maybe one day…HNA in Canada. I already hosted it once (in Ottawa) back in 2009. So it would be a second time for me….but, maybe there are others willing to take it on. A gorgeous conference but quite a bit of work. One needs a super-duper team. Will keep you posted. ta

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