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Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems 2020

The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems for haiku published in 2020. Over 1300 poems were nominated this year by poets, readers and editors around the world. The panel considered every poem as a group as well as individually. A first winnowing by the Individual Poems Panel resulted in the Long List, some 56 poems from twenty-five journals and two haiku contests, and a second round of voting and discussion led to the Short List (29 poems). The third and final round recognizes five haiku with the highest honor of Awarded Haiku.
 
This year’s Touchstone Long List, chosen by our esteemed panel, represents a wide range of haiku creativity expressive of diverse subject matters and themes. The Long List includes traditional nature haiku, senryu, monoku, concrete haiku and innovative, experimental haiku with complex blends of nature, language and sound. The topics on the Long List encompass our place in the natural world, love, family, aging, grief, culture, gender, and of course, Covid-19. The themes of suffering, struggle and meeting the challenges of being human are beautifully expressed in these haiku.
 
I speak for the entire panel when I say the quality of poems this year was exceptional. The Awarded Haiku represent the panel’s assessment of the very best of what English-language haiku has to offer. I wish to thank its members — Chuck Brickley, Anna Maris, Pravat Kumar Padhy, Christopher Patchel, Michelle Tennison and Angela Terry — for their diligence, expertise and effort.

 

Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winners for 2020
what remains
after the river is gone
this empty bed
     — Kat Lehmann (Mayfly 68)

long before language the S of the river
     — Annette Makino (Francine Porad Haiku Award 2020)

pasture fence
where the paint ran out
a bluebird’s song
     — Rick Tarquinio (The Heron’s Nest XX:1)

rain-soaked earth
a robin tugs one end
of the universe
     — Julie Schwerin (Frogpond 43:3)
The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems 2020 Shortlist
through the cracked window
                      a chirp
                                of sunlight
     — Kelly Sauvage Angel (Wales Haiku Journal, Summer 2020)

within the song
of a winter wren
another begins
     — Joanna Ashwell (Shamrock 43)

viewing the tree
three generations
of crossed arms
     — Roberta Beary (Modern Haiku 51.1)

co-
v.
id
     — Helen Buckingham (Bones 20)

midnight blue 
a grandma-shaped crater 
on the moon 
     — Hemapriya Chellappan (Blo͞o Outlier Journal 1)

returning time a poppy seed drops the sun
     — Beate Conrad (Sonic Boom 18)

 in the space 
our light makes
    moths
Gary Hotham (Gratitude in the Time of Covid-19: The Haiku Hecameron (Girasole Press, 2020))

washing our hands — 
each soap bubble holds

all the colors       
     — Christine Horner (GEPPO XLV:3)

moving van . . .       
everything but the growth marks
on the closet door
     — Elinor Pihl Huggett (GEPPO XLV:3)

steady rain
might as well
keep walking
     — Bill Kenney (The Heron’s Nest XXII:1)

fall starts measuring time in butterflies
     — Craig Kittner (Bones 21)

what remains
after the river is gone
this empty bed
     — Kat Lehmann (Mayfly 68)

long before language the S of the river 
     — Annette Makino (Francine Porad Haiku Award 2020)

switching to
    a lower case i
autumn stars
     — Matthew Markworth (Modern Haiku 51.3)

pre-dawn stars
the rattle of glass bottles 
from a passing milk truck 
     — John McManus (hedgerow 13)

dusk between the fragments of a prehistoric bird I recognize my mother’s beak
     — Reka Nyitrai (NOON: journal of the short poem 16)

her eulogy —
the sound of the ocean
in a small shell
     — Carol Ann Palomba (Mayfly 68)

an orchid

trapped in a paperweight 
child bride
     — Vandana Parasha (The Heron’s Nest XX11:4)

horse pasture
the prairie wind moves
with muscle
     — Chad Lee Robinson (The Heron’s Nest XXII:4)

adult coloring book 
I still can’t stay
within the lines
     — Adelaide B. Shaw (Failed Haiku 51)

in the space
left by twilight
crickets
     — Ann Schwader (tiny words 13august2020)

rain-soaked earth
a robin tugs one end
of the universe
     — Julie Schwerin (Frogpond 43:3)   

before we were human the sparrow’s call
     — Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (Heliosparrow Poetry Journal 10january2020)

pasture fence
where the paint ran out
a bluebird’s song
     — Rick Tarquinio (The Heron’s Nest XXII:1)

our car never nearer the shimmer of black water on the desert road 
     — Richard Tice (The haiku pea podcast Series 3 Episode 24)

blackbird singing light into the womb
     — Stephen Toft (is/let 2020)

what pines!
what lady’s slippers!
when i take tomorrow’s walk
     — Vincent Tripi (Modern Haiku 51.3)

moss-grown stone 
a daughter’s age 
in days
     — Mike White (Frogpond 43.3)

Bruce H. Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards Committee
The Haiku Foundation

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Of the poems shown here, including all in the short
    list, the one that stands out for me is this one.

    within the song
    of a winter wren
    another begins
    — Joanna Ashwell

    A criterion I use with a haiku is whether or not it can be gotten.
    The getting is the exhaustion of it. In some sense this means
    that the haiku progresses along a discernibly logical, graspable
    path. It has a linearity, and may even be traceable as cause and effect.

    I don’t *ge* Aswell’s haiku. I receive it, and the receiving keeps landing
    in different places. And moving on. Moving in. Reading it, one could
    stop with the image of one wren’s song arriving in the middle of another
    wren’s, then co-occuring with it. Each a little different. That is quite lovely
    in itself, but the “another” brings in something mysterious, no so easily identified.

    It presents a kind of ambiguity that is organic to the experience.
    “Another” could be something that wells up within the one listening,
    an unexpected human response that may be its own kind of song.

    “Another” could be *an other* sense of oneself, brought to life in the
    midst of winter by listening to a bird singing. Or it could be some palpable,
    audible sense of the strangeness of life, its otherness making itself known within the familiar,
    and for a while, at least, changing everything.

    1. ☛Should be: I don’t *get* Ashwell’s haiku.

      Apologies for misspelling her name, though perhaps I was thinking
      that sonically, the poem was written as well as it could be.

  2. Congratulations to Annette Makino.
    .
    long before language the S of the river
    — Annette Makino (Francine Porad Haiku Award 2020)
    .
    I love her poem. She has a quality business at Makino studios where she, among other things, creates haiga with hand-painted and torn washi papers. I have an original of this poem—it’s beautiful—hanging on my living room wall!

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