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Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards 2012: Final Results

The Touchstone Awards reward excellence and innovation in the haiku genre.

92 books were nominated for Distinguished Book Awards in 2012. After months of deliberation, this year’s terrific book awards panel has recognized four books with Awards, and four books with Honorable Mentions. The results are posted, along with more information including comments from the panel, to a new 2012 Touchstone Archive page.

Award Recipients:


The Art of Haiku: Its History Through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Masters

by Stephen Addiss, published by Shambhala



Everything I Touch

by Robert Boldman, published by Red Moon Press



Haiku 21: An Anthology of Contemporary English-language Haiku

by Lee Gurga and Scott Metz, published by Modern Haiku Press



Selected Haiku: Parts 1 & 2

by Kaneko Tohta, trans. the Kon Nichi Translation Group, published by Red Moon Press



Honorable Mentions:


The Doors All Unlocked

by Carolyn Hall, published by Red Moon Press



Skeleton Key

by John Martone, published by Samuddo/Ocean



Lakes & Now Wolves

by Scott Metz, published by Modern Haiku Press



Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku

by Nick Virgilio, edited by de Gruttola, published by Turtle Light Press



[for the first couple of years in the life of the Touchstones, award years ended in September. Why? Because it takes a long time to read the books. That was confusing, though, so for the 2012 Awards we switched to an award year coinciding with the calendar year. Therefore, a few of the above titles were released in the last quarter of 2011. From now on, award years will coincide with each calendar year.]

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi Eve,
    As a woman with at least *some* intellectual capacity (or so I believe) and as one who has lived in an urban environment for most of my adult life, I can see why “urban ennui ” or “effete intellectualism” might touch a sore spot for someone who had a sore spot to be touched. But I don’t think when we read qualified statements such as these that we should jump to the conclusion that equations are being made. Should it be assumed that what’s meant is a damning of intellect or urban life? Qualifiers have their purpose: if I say ‘dangerous reptile’ I am not damning the placid and certainly not dangerous blue-tongue lizard. If I say that I can’t stand narcissistic men I don’t mean I can’t stand all men, nor that all men are narcissists.

    I’m the culprit who wrote those lines, I admit. 😉 Perhaps I might’ve been able to phrase it better had I had more time at my disposal, but such is life. I’ll say right now that as well as ‘effete intellectualism’ there is vital, vibrant intellect and that although, in my experience, there *is* such a thing as ‘urban ennui’ (and ‘rural ennui’, too, for that matter) there are also stimulating aspects of urban life.

    “Sorry you have had such a limited experience of the intellectual and the urban.”- Eve

    You needn’t be sorry, because I haven’t had *that* limited an experience of either. Living in Melbourne, though, I haven’t had *your* experience in your world area and quite possibly my English expression doesn’t conform to the American norm (if there is such a thing)

    Anyway, whether or not I have a fading intellect 😉 happy Spring from a placid, sunny, Melbourne Autumn morning. 😉

    – Lorin

  2. An inspiring selection here. Thank You.

    just have to say that this line in the comments about Kaneko Tohta reveal quite a bit about some unexamined assumptions that circulate rather presumptuously in our circles:

    ” a ‘country boy’ who never has forgotten his roots or succumbed to urban ennui or effete intellectualism….”

    why is intellectualism equated with effete?
    (is this a man speaking??)

    why is urban equated with ennui?

    Sorry you have had such a limited experience of the intellectual and the urban.

    I personally have experienced much vibrancy and vitality in both these spheres, and, despite Tohta’s roots and connection with the country, my reading of his work seems to indicate that he has as well!

  3. Robert, you have your own forum where you can review and blast these books all you like, and no one would have a right to complain. There’s no reason why the winners and finalists, and their parents, children, and friends should be required to share their moment with you, notwithstanding your own considerable achievements and contributions.



  4. Virgilio’s: A Life in Haiku should be the winner. The poetry within reflects the true spirit of Basho and other past masters prior to Shiki. Nick was a brilliant poet. Haiku 21 omits many well known poets, has many abysmal poems, and helps to further discredit haiku. The Art of Haiku is an excellent introduction to haiku for beginning college students and honors English high school students. Martone’s book exemplifies why haiku is not taken seriously.

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