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The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Committee Announces Its 2019 Shortlist

We are announcing The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems at a perilous moment as we face the uncertainly of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Haiku Foundation and panel members hope for the safety and health of the entire haiku community as well as everyone beyond.

We have had a tremendous number of submissions to the Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems for 2019. The Touchstone Awards recognize excellence and innovation in English-language haiku and senryu published in juried public venues during each calendar year. Twenty-seven editors nominated 573 haiku to accompany 225 individual haiku nominations. Haiku were nominated from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, United States and Viet Nam. We thank all the editors and individual haiku poets who have nominated poems.

After much deliberation, the panel has selected a Shortlist of poems that will move to the final round. The six panelists compile the Shortlist by first selecting ten favorite haiku from the total pool of 800 plus nominations, or 60 haiku each; in this first round, only four haiku overlapped on the lists of two or more panelists. In the second round, in another round of voting, the panelists winnowed the nominated 56 haiku to the Shortlist. As it turns out, the Shortlist includes at least the top three haiku chosen by each panelist.

Reflecting the various haiku sensibilities of the panel, the Shortlist includes a range of traditional to experimental haiku, and this year there were ten monoku. Twenty Shortlist haiku were nominated by editors of journals, and ten were nominated by individual haiku poets.

Many thanks to our distinguished panelists — Chuck Brickley, Susan Constable, Anna Maris, Chris Patchel, Wally Swist and Michelle Tennison — who have been so reflective about their choices and generous with their time and effort over the past few months, especially in the last few weeks, in light of the pandemic.

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems recipients will be selected from the following list. Final results will be announced on April 17, as part of the Haiku Foundation’s celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day.

Bruce H. Feingold
Chairman, Touchstone Awards

country road the long ride through the scent of cattle gone ahead — Adjei Agyei-Baah, Wales Haiku Journal Spring 2019 living alone . . . both ends of the wishbone — Francine Banwarth, The Heron’s Nest XXI:3 light rain the karst of everyday mind — Sondra J. Byrnes, Sonic Boom 15 lichen in a stone angel's palm advancing rain — Paul Chambers, Presence 67 hardening the tractor ruts blackthorn wind — Simon Chard, Presence 64 rain — earwigs spill from fennel stalks — Sarah-Jane Crowson, Wales Haiku Journal Autumn 2019 dust of a moth all that i’ve been belongs to the moon — Lucia Fontana, Failed Haiku 46 moonlight what’s left of the river — Lorin Ford, The Heron’s Nest XXI:3 mom’s grave — the breeze parts my hair just so — Warren Gossett, Acorn 42 oak leaf frozen to the sidewalk a celibate life — Lee Gurga, Mariposa 40 strawberry season acres and acres of bent backs — Gregory Longenecker, The Heron’s Nest XXI:2 field of poppies the war somewhere — Elmedin Kadric, Presence 64 three tiny bones in my inner ear meadow lark — Marietta McGregor, The Heron’s Nest XXI:4 power cut we reach Mordor by candlelight — John McManus, hedgerow 129 summer the heat of his punch — Lori A Minor, THF Troutswirl, Haiku Dialogue: Poet’s Choice backyard weeds everyone has a name — Ben Moeller-Gaa, hedgerow 129 wind song between boulders — ochre handprints — Leanne Mumford, Echidna Tracks 2 dappled light the voice a crow has for its young — Polona Oblak, The Heron’s Nest XXI:4 be still wind and know rain that I am tree — Renée Owen, Modern Haiku 50.2 night bus the emptiness well lit — Bryan Rickert, The Heron’s Nest XXI:2 both tent flaps tied open morning solitude — Chad Lee Robinson, Acorn 43 maple keys tomorrow a sermon on doors — Dan Schwerin, Modern Haiku 50:3 Woodstock forever stamps summer’s end — Charlie Shiotani, The Heron’s Nest XXI:4 carving the snow ulu moon — Robin Anna Smith, Seventh Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, Third Place bioluminescence I skip a pebble across the universe — Debbie Strange, Seashores 2 ghost apple this emptiness inside — Debbie Strange, Shamrock Haiku Journal 42 weathered oars we fold our worries into the river — Debbie Strange, Acorn 42 day moon the only witness remains silent — Julie Warther, Acorn 42 immigrant seeds sewn into her dress — Mary Weiler, Frogpond 42.2 late-life affair the weathered stone wall wild with foxgloves — Lucy Whitehead, Modern Haiku 50.3

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. A thousand thanks to the esteemed panelists for their generosity, and to the poets who continue to amaze and inspire me with their words and insights. I hope you are all keeping safe and well as we write our way through these dark days. Thank you for sharing your light, and good luck to all!

  2. Surprised and thrilled to see that a ku of mine made it to the shortlist… and congratulations to everyone else with a ku in the shortlist.
    The issue number of THN given for mine, though, is incorrect. It should be:
    moonlight what’s left of the river
    — Lorin Ford, The Heron’s Nest XXI:3
    Last ku on page 8:

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