The Touchstone Individual Poems Award recognize excellence and innovation in English-language haiku and senryu published in juried public venues during each calendar year. The committee received an overwhelming response to its call for submission for poems published in 2017, with over 730 nominated haiku from twenty-one journals (over fifty haiku journals were invited to submit) and from approximately 150 individual poets. To the many editors and individual haiku poets who answered the call this year, a sincere thank you.
The Shortlist includes 19 haiku nominated by editors of the journals and 12 haiku nominated by individual haiku authors. Interestingly, there were six haiku nominated by individuals which made the Shortlist that were not nominated by editors of their respective journals.
After much deliberation, the panel has selected a shortlist of poems that will move on to the final round. The six panelist select the Shortlist by first selecting ten favorite haiku from the total pool of 700 plus nominations, or 60 haiku; in this first round, only three haiku were nominated by two of the panelists. In the second round, in another round of voting, the panelists winnow their nominated 57 haiku down to the Shortlist. Typically, the Shortlist includes the top three or four of 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 seven monoku (one-line haiku).
Thanks, too, to the distinguished panelists who have been so generous with their time and effort over the past few months: Gary Hotham, Ron C Moss, Renée Owen, Michele Root-Bernstein, Dietmar Tauchner, and Diane Wakoski.
Touchstone Award 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 (IHPD). Authors are presented in alphabetical order.
crematorium the sound of someone unwrapping flowers — frances angela, Acorn 38 the last of mother’s things packed the snow globe settles — frances angela, Modern Haiku 48.2 empty notebooks the poems I keep unwritten — Debbi Antebi, Presence 58 cut flowers the short life of compliments — Debbi Antebi, tinywords 17.2 mellow sunset notes of the wide bore clarinet — Bill Cooper, The Heron’s Nest XIX:4 nightfall — moths the color of the dying pine — Cherie Hunter Day, Robert Spiess Contest 2017 (Modern Haiku 48.2) carousel she asks to ride the winged horse home — Robert Epstein, The Heron’s Nest XIX:2 black ice — a memory that isn’t mine — Seren Fargo, Frogpond 40.2 certain that nothing is mine clear skies — Lucia Fontana, Chrysanthemum 22 prairie sky the depth of a sigh — Rajandeep Garg, Modern Haiku 48.3 their ancient hum to sunrise honeybees — Michele L. Harvey, The Heron’s Nest XIX:3 dwarfed by the trees I planted summer night — Ruth Holzer, Frogpond 40.1 winter sunrise butter finds its own path across grandma’s skillet — Frank Hooven, The Heron’s Nest XIX:1 daybreak a black swan takes the night under its wing — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, Kokako 26 burning for all my sins incense stick — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, Modern Haiku 48.2 dementia I lose the lily petal by petal — Lori A Minor, H. Gene Murtha Senryu Contest (Prune Juice 22) music box somewhere inside yesterday — Gregory Longenecker, Sonic Boom 8 starving refugee a hand approaches her mouth with a microphone — Indra Neil Mekala, 22nd International Kusamakura Haiku Competition when a white bear roamed the unheard of — Peter Newton, Bones 12 sweltering night a hole in the backyard bleeds scorpions — Anthony Itopa Obaro, The Heron’s Nest XIX:2 poppies as if they know they won’t last — Sharon Pretti, Frogpond 40.2 eggs in a shirt to be here so lightly — Dan Schwerin, Frogpond 40.1 its gentle push on the curtains . . . summer night — John Shiffer, Acorn 38 endless closed doors along the hotel hallway winter solstice — Olivier Schopfer, Modern Haiku 48.1 the way we left our dining room chairs — John Stevenson, Modern Haiku 48.1 letting go of letting go . . . apple blossoms — Michael Stinson, Stardust Haiku 3 silence for some includes birdsong — Hilary Tann, The Heron’s Nest XIX:4 as if nothing an empty seashore had happened — Ernest Wit, Bones 12 depth of winter the ukulele just right in my arms — Karina M. Young, Mariposa 36 last breath . . . someone opens the window to the soul — Romano Zeraschi, Chrysanthemum 22 memorial day each name soaked in rain — David He Zhuanglang, Stardust Haiku 5
Chair, Touchstone Awards