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Update on the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards

The following update on the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards is provided by Mark Harris, chair of the Haiku Foundation Awards committee. Nominations for the book awards closed October 15.


The Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards received 83 nominations for its inaugural Awards. Recipients of the Awards will be chosen by a panel comprised of Lorin Ford, Philip Rowland, Charles Trumbull, Barbara Louise Ungar, and Ruth Yarrow.

Who are the panelists? An Australian poet and editor who came to haiku via ‘long poetry’; a scholar, poet and editor transplanted from London to Japan; a man who discovered haiku in midlife in Illinois and became an influential editor and essayist; a much-awarded ‘mainstream’ poet who teaches in New York State and never lost her early love for haiku; a poet and naturalist who helped shape the course of English-language haiku, now agitating for peace and justice in her adopted Washington State.

A question, part of a larger question, here narrowed by context: Who are we? A diverse group of poets, scholars, and interested readers who hail from different walks of life. The growing number of posts and comments on troutswirl reveal much about us. We’re passionate about haiku, curious about the genre’s history, eager to explore its English-language potential. That, and more, we can agree on. On many issues we disagree–if we meet in a spirit of cooperation and exploration, then we all stand to gain.

Which brings us back to the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards panelists. Many of you know their names and contributions. Please peruse their bios, posted on the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards page.

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