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The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Committee Announces Its Shortlist for 2018

We had a tremendous number of submissions to the Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems. The Awards recognize excellence and innovation in English-language haiku and senryu published in juried public venues during each calendar year. Twenty-six editors nominated about 500 haiku, and there were about 300 individual haiku nominations. Haiku were nominated from around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Africa, Japan, Israel and the Philippines. We would like to thanks all the editors and individual haiku poets who nominated poems published during 2018.

After much deliberation, the panel has selected a Shortlist of poems that will move on to the final round. The six panelists select the Shortlist by first selecting ten favorite haiku from the total pool of 800 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 winnowed the nominated 57 haiku down to the Shortlist. The Shortlist includes at least the top three or four 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 three single line haiku. Twenty-one haiku on the Shortlist haiku were nominated by editors, and eleven were nominated by individual haiku poets (there are 31 haiku on the Shortlist due to a tie).

Many thanks to the distinguished panelists — Terry Ann Carter, Gary Hotham, Renee Owen, Michele Root-Bernstein, Dietmar Taucher and Wally Swist — who have been so generous with their time and effort over the past few months.

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.

Bruce Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards

housewarming . . . a swarm of honey bees in the crawl space — Barnabas I. Adeleke, The Heron’s Nest XX:4 summer's end the fence splinters into meadowlarks — Elizabeth Alford, Stardust Haiku 20 learning to eat around bruises winter apples — Debbi Antebi, The Heron’s Nest XX:1 lilac on her dress for a moment I'm in the fields — Faten Anwar, The Mamba 6 Russian nesting dolls — where’s the room to be oneself — Betty Arnold, Yuki Teikei Haiku Society 2018 Members’ Anthology blood moon he doesn’t take no for an answer — Susan Burch, Marlene Mountain Memorial Haiku Contest 2018 pre-dawn stars plumes of breath from a cattle truck — Paul Chambers, Acorn 41 spring wind a young sheepdog skedaddles the lambs — Claire Everett, The Heron’s Nest XX:1 morning frost how brightly shines the barbed wire — Florin C. Florian, Johnny Baranski Memorial Haiku Contest 2018 signs of spring at the bottom of one pot shards of another — Robert Gilliland, Mariposa 38 your absence in my hands snowdrop — Eufemia Griffo, Modern Haiku 49.2 the mountains Santōka never saw again — closed saké shop — Engin Gülez, Iris Little Haiku Contest 2017 (published 2018) silent as a mouse the trap — John Hawkhead, The Heron’s Nest XX:1 crow . . . the dark crackle of river ice — Elinor Pihl Huggett, Geppo 43:3 keepsache — David J. Kelly, Frogpond 41:1 crown of thorns things we make with our hands — Jessica Malone Latham, Mariposa 39 petroglyphs the short drive to Los Alamos — paul m., Acorn 40 the blade after the whetstone — summer rain — Tanya McDonald, Mariposa 38 family gathering sliced warm beetroot stains what it touches — Ron C. Moss, Acorn 40 stepping stones . . . someone else years ago — Guy Nesom, Mayfly 64 all soul’s day something startles a field of doves — Polona Oblak, Presence 60 another year the weight of my shadow on new snow — Joseph Robello, Mariposa 39 rain one steeple at a time — Bryan Rickert, Modern Haiku 49.1 deep night sky the dashboard lights too bright for this loneliness — Chad Lee Robinson, Frogpond 41:3 the heartbeat of a painted pony winter prairie — Chad Lee Robinson, Mariposa 38 skinny-dipping in the outback river paperbark trees — Maureen Sexton, Creatrix 43 summer visit mother fits into a smaller hug — Sushma A. Singh, The Heron’s Nest XX:4 more automatic words about weapons — John Stevenson, Frogpond 41:2 fallow fields a light dusting of snow geese — Debbie Strange, Mariposa 39 peat bog the spreading fire of cloudberries — Debbie Strange, Shamrock 40 the thin whistling of the wind in the bottle has faded away — Max Verhart, Chrysanthemum 24

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. I especially enjoyed the poems by Barnabas Adeleke, Elizabeth Alford, Debi Antebi, Chad Lee Robinson, Jessica Malone Latham, and Sushma A. Singh. Jessica Malone Latham’s ” crown of thorns” is like a prism.

  2. Delighted that three people who have been on our online courses are shortlisted! Also, Karen and myself got to meet Max Verhart in person when we travelled to The Netherlands, and spent the day with him and Marlène Buitelaar.
    .
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for everyone of course, but posthumously, it would be lovely for Max, and though poignant, for Marlène, it would be a fitting tribute for someone who did far more than we will ever know behind the scenes, to make haiku a living and beating reality for us.

  3. Congratulations to all!

    I’ve not selected this as the winner, though it has it’s chance
    I thought the connection between the poem and Johnny Baranski worthy of a mention.
    On first reading I thought this may have been one of Johnny’s prison haiku.

    Hats of to Florin C. Florian

    morning frost
    how brightly shines
    the barbed wire
    — Florin C. Florian, Johnny Baranski Memorial Haiku Contest 2018

    1. “Great minds think alike.”//
      First of all, thank you to the jury for selecting my work. All the shortlisted writers are important names in this genre of poetry and their poems deserve our consideration.
      Dear Robert K. , thank you for your kind words regarding my ku. When I won a honourable mention with this poem I did not have any idee about Johnny Baranski’s work. I am glad that Johnny’s ku and mine are / were on the same wavelength. After I had read ”The Tattooist of Auschwitz”, I had in my mind some images which were haunting me… and so I wrote my ku and I sent it to the contest. Anyway, the judges will have a tough mission. Congratulations to all!

  4. Congratulations to all the poets who made the shortlist !! Thank-you to all the judges for their efforts.

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