The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems for haiku published in 2021. Over 1500 poems were nominated this year by poets, readers and editors around the world. The Individual Poems Panel considered the poems as a group as well as individually. A first winnowing resulted in the Long List, some 57 poems from a wide range of journals and contests , and a second round of voting and discussion led to the Short List (30 poems). Our third and final round recognizes six haiku with the highest honor of Awarded Haiku.
This year’s Touchstone Short List represents a wide range of haiku creativity expressive of diverse subject matters and themes. The Short List includes traditional nature haiku, senryu, monoku, and innovative, experimental haiku with complex blends of nature, language and sound.
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 — Roberta Beary, Chuck Brickley, Anna Maris, Pravat Kumar Padhy, Christopher Patchel, and Angela Terry — for their diligence, expertise and effort.
Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winners for 2021
before they were my daughters . . . wildflowers — Meredith Ackroyd (Frogpond 44.3) late-night train the mother's lullaby for everyone — Hifsa Ashraf (kontinuum: kortárs haiku/contemporary haiku 1.1) middle age I build the snowman a son — Peter Newton (The Heron’s Nest 23.2) beneath the blossoms she counts her years on one hand — Sasha A. Palmer (Japan Fair Haiku Contest 2021) not every color has a name... midnight jazz — Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (Stardust Haiku 50) below the missing dog a missing woman — Joan Torres (#FemkuMag 31)
The Touchstone Award for Individual Poems 2021 Shortlist
sanitized for the children my twenties — Susan Antolin (Mariposa 44) before they were my daughters . . . wildflowers — Meredith Ackroyd (Frogpond 44:3) capitol steps a riot of cherry blossoms — Marilyn Ashbaugh (GEPPO XLVI:3) late-night train the mother's lullaby for everyone — Hifsa Ashraf (kontinuum: kortárs haiku/contemporary haiku 1.1) as the crow flies fentanyl — Aaron Barry (Prune Juice 35) the river in every room brown trout — Bisshie (The Heron's Nest 23.1) gone to seed . . . wind and light sweep the field — Tom Clausen (Upstate Dim Sum 2021/I) incoming tide sand unzips the soles of my feet — Robert Davey (Acorn 46) ancient syllables the forest alive in birdsong — Pat Davis (Cold Moon, October 7, 2021) the minor notes in a half scale slow rising moon — Terri L. French (tsuri-dōrō: a small journal of haiku and senryū 5) not just blowing smoke climate change — Terri French (tinywords 21.2) refuse refuge refugee refuse — Lee Gurga (Modern Haiku 52.1) not as long as it used to be summer day — Jennifer Hambrick (Wales Haiku Journal, Autumn 2021) years of being who we are my shirt letting the rain soak in — Gary Hotham (tsuri-dōrō: a small journal of haiku and senryū 4) tearing the filter off his cigarette — war stories — PMF Johnson (bottle rockets 44) reawakening to what is not mine the passing clouds — Lakshmi Iyer (The Haiku Foundation Monthly Kukai, April 2021) spring sun still some winter in the turtle — Laurie D. Morrissey (First Frost 1.1) middle age I build the snowman a son — Peter Newton (The Heron’s Nest 23.2) ancient wisdom — naming negative space in the night sky — Helen Ogden (Cold Moon, October 22, 2021) beneath the blossoms she counts her years on one hand — Sasha A. Palmer (Japan Fair Haiku Contest 2021) bottled water does the river know its many names? — Minal Sarosh (Akitsu Quarterly, Fall 2021) scenting the night with somewhere else train whistle — Ann K. Schwader (The Heron’s Nest 23.1) not every color has a name . . . midnight jazz — Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (Stardust Haiku 50) childhood memories . . . I open and close the wrought iron gate — Neena Singh (The Haiku Foundation Haiku Dialogue, October 6, 2021) the blue swallows the blue swallows — our thomas (Whiptail 1) below the missing dog a missing woman — Joan Torres (#FemkuMag 31) conger eel thrashing in the creel this hunger — Lew Watts (Wales Haiku Journal, Winter 2021) starry night – a lighthouse – a lighthouse — James Young (The Poetry Pea Journal of haiku and senryu: Spring 2021) acres of cotton his son asks if they'll be slaves again — J. Zimmerman (Presence 71) bobolink in flight his song for her the length of a hay field — J. Zimmerman (Modern Haiku 52.3) global warming the delicate oars of this lifeboat — J. Zimmerman, (tinywords, October 14, 2021)
Bruce H. Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards Committee
The Haiku Foundation