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The Touchstone Awards for Individual Haibun are bestowed annually on haibun that represent noteworthy additions to English-language haibun in the estimation of a distinguished panel. The Awards are open to any English-language haibun first published in the current calendar year.

What Is The Haiku Foundation Touchstone Award for Individual Haibun?

In 2022, as part of its mission to expand possibilities for English-language haiku, The Haiku Foundation added The Touchstone Award for Individual Haibun to the two other awards in its Touchstone Award Series: the Touchstone Award for Individual Poems and the Touchstone Distinguished Books Award. Collections of or including haibun have always been eligible for a Distinguished Book Award; this new Award allows for the recognition of individual pieces.

All awards seek to reward excellence and innovation each calendar year. Results are determined through a year-long nomination and selection process and are released the following year on April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day. Award recipients are selected by independent panels comprised of authorities in the field.

How Are Panel Members Chosen?

The panel consists of three members who are chosen by the Touchstone Awards Committee. The Committee chooses panel members who have demonstrated expertise in the haibun genre.

What Haibun Are Eligible for Nomination?

The Coordinator for the Touchstone Award for Individual Haibun solicits nominations during the award year from editors whose journals publish haibun. In addition, any individual may nominate two haibun, one of which may be their own. For the purposes of this award, publication is constituted by, but not limited to, first appearance in a juried or edited public venue such as a book, journal, online site, or contest. The Awards Committee reserves the right to determine whether a poem meets this criterion.

Nominations for the current year will open shortly after the previous year’s awards have been announced. Haibun written by the Individual Haibun Award coordinator and panelists are not eligible for nomination.

How Are the Winning Haibun Selected?

In the first round, the panel’s three members consider the entire anonymous roster of poems and nominate their highest-ranking haibun. These comprise the Long List. The panel then discusses the merits of the long-listed poems and votes for the poems to make up the Short List. In the final round, the panel votes to determine which of these will be recognized with Touchstone Awards. Once they have determined the awarded haibun, panel members write commentaries for each of them. Authors and citations for winning poems are revealed to the judges only after they have selected the winning poems.

How to Submit Nominations

The opening of nominations for the latest Touchstone Award for Individual Haibun is announced on our blog. The deadline to submit is December 31. See Touchstone Awards.

You may nominate no more than two poems, only one of which may be (but does not have to be) your own work. Nominated poems must be submitted with our entry form.

Entry Form: Touchstone Award for Individual Haibun

The Panel for Award Year 2023

Marietta McGregor is a retired botanist and journalist. She has enjoyed a mix of careers including palynologist, garden designer, journal editor, university tutor, technology marketer, and grants developer. Her haiku, haibun and haiga appear in international online and print literary journals, and in annual Red Moon Press anthology collections (2018, 2021). Her haibun have gained a number of honors, including first and runner-up in the 2019 British Haibun Awards, winner, Rattle March 2018 Ekphrastic Poetry Challenge, An (Cottage) prizes in Genjuan International Haibun Contests (2018, 2021), honorable mention in the HSA Haibun Awards (2021) and awards in UHTS Samurai Haibun Contests (second, 2015, first and honorable mention, 2018, second and third, 2021). One of her haibun was nominated in 2017 for a Pushcart Prize. A fourth-generation Tasmanian who has raised her family in Australia’s ‘Bush Capital’ Canberra, Marietta is a keen street and nature photographer who travels as often as she can with her husband and far too many cameras.

Renée Owen’s newest book of haiku, This One Life, won a Backbone Press book award and was a finalist in the 2020 THF Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards. Her full-length collection of haiku and haibun, Alone on a Wild Coast, received a Snapshot Press book award and an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards. She edited Scent of the Past . . . Imperfect (Two Autumns Press), which received an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s 2017 Merit Book Awards. Renée has judged numerous haibun, haiku and rengay contests and widely publishes her award-winning poetry internationally, in print and online journals. Her haibun and visual art appeared in the April 2022 issue of Contemporary Haibun Onlineas Featured Writer. Her poetry has been collected in numerous anthologies, including A New Resonance 7, and the annual Red Moon Press and Contemporary Haibun ‘best of’ anthologies. A psychotherapist and an exhibiting visual artist, she enjoys performing her poetry with her musician husband and hiking the wilds near their Northern California home.

Keith Polette has published numerous haibun in both print and online journals. He was a judge for the first San Francisco International Haibun Contest, was a Featured Author for Contemporary Haibun Online, and has been a guest editor for Drifting Sands Haibun Journal. His book of haibun, Pilgrimage, received the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2020, and his book of haiku, The New World, was on the shortlist for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Distinguished Books Award in 2017.

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