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