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The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Committee Announces Its Shortlist for 2017

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.

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
          — 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)

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

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
          — Michele L. Harvey, The Heron’s Nest XIX:3

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

a black swan takes the night
under its wing
          — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, Kokako 26

for all my sins
incense stick
          — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, Modern Haiku 48.2

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

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

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

Bruce Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. This compilation of the best haiku, a welcome accompaniment to any time of day. Those charged with the selection of a final list: Your task is difficult, but you are qualified beyond question. Many bows from the haiku community.

  2. Congratulations all poets. This is such a wealth. Reminds me all over again why I love this form so much.

    All the best to everyone here.

    – love

  3. What a wonderful collection of beautiful poems. A great gift. Congratulations to all the wonderful poets.

  4. Congratulations to every poet whose work has been selected.
    All lingering poems to return to again and again.

    1. Congratulations to all and good luck to the winner. Some wonderful and original haiku.

  5. Happy to see so many distinguished here. Congratulations.
    And really happy to see Dan Schwerin’s haiku.

  6. .
    What devastating moments captured throughout.
    The bar is high.
    To all within, Best Wishes
    Jan Benson

  7. Congratulations everyone!
    I’m also pleased to see both more British poets appearing, and also that Bones journal (I’m a founding editor) be represented by two poets, thank you! 🙂
    warm regards,

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