Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for 2003

Haiku Society of America

Merit Book Awards for 2003

Michael Ketchek and Tom Painting, judges

This year was our turn to select from among twenty-three books presented for the Merit Book Award. We carefully read and reread each selection. Our discussions were lengthy, as well as satisfying. Happily, we were able to agree on which books we thought deserved special recognition. Without exception, we offer our praise, and thank the authors for their dedication and hard work.


First Place

Paul Miller [paul m.]. Finding the Way. Sammamish, WA: Press Here, 2002.

finding the way is a collection of 55 haiku that invite the reader on journey of the author’s observations and musings. paul m’s haiku resound long after the initial reading, and make a return visit to his poems most rewarding. The subtle play of images and juxtaposition makes the haiku in this collection a pleasure to ponder. The beauty of this book extends beyond the poetry. Its modest size, beautiful cover art and eloquently written narrative between sections contribute to a unified whole, sure to please.


Second Pace

Rebecca Lilly. Shadwell Hills. Delhi, NY: Birch Brooks Press, 2002.

Rebecca Lilly presents one hundred haiku, firmly rooted in the tradition of seasons and nature. This is a very satisfying collection that becomes more enjoyable with each read. Several wood engravings by Frank C. Eckmair enhance this lovely book. Still Here is a collection that encompasses a wide range of subjects. With wit and wisdom these haiku and senryu explore not only nature, but also the heart and mind of the author. Nicely illustrated by David Kopitzke.


Third Palce

Peggy Lyles. To Hear the Rain: Selected Haiku of Peggy Lyles. Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 2002.

To Hear the Rain is a stunning book featuring poems in a wide range and breadth from one of our most highly regarded English-language haiku poets.


Honorable Mention

William M. Ramsey. This Wine. Evanston, Ill.: Deep North Press, 2002.

This Wine is a collection of haiku that have the ability to draw the reader into contemplating the author’s compelling world view.


Award for Best Anthology

Jim Kacian, editor. The Loose Thread: The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2001. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2002.

The annual Red Moon Anthology continues to present the best of English language haiku, haibun, linked forms and essays. This attractive volume features the work of a diverse group of writers, consistent with the Red Moon editorial philosophy to present choice haiku in a wide range of style and form. Those familiar with the Red Moon anthology format will appreciate the continued high standard set by Jim Kacian and his editorial staff. Those for whom this book will be their first in the series will be glad they ventured in.


Highly Commended Anthologies

Cyril Childs and Joanna Preston, Edtiors. listening to the rain: an anthology of Christchurch haiku and haibun. Christchurch, NZ: The Small White Teapot Haiku Group, 2002.

This collection of outstanding haiku and haibun is spiced with regional flavor on universal themes. listening to the rain offers the reader an opportunity to become more familiar with a group of poets who have and will continue to receive critical acclaim.

David Cobb, Editor. The British Museum Haiku. London, UK: British Museum Press, 2002.

This book is a splendid collection of haiku by the Japanese Masters. The haiku are presented not only in translation, but also in Japanese. Text is accompanied by high quality reproductions of Japanese art from the British Museum collection. This appealing book will be treasured, whether one is a haiku enthusiast or not.


Award for Best Book of Haibun

Linda Jeannette Ward. A Delicate Dance of Wings. Coinjock, NC: Clinging Vine Press, 2002.

A Delicate Dance of Wings is a wonderful book that features consistently good haibun. Ms. Ward employs a straightforward style of prose, complimented by solid haiku. The haibun in this collection are accessible and poignant. Prints by Pamela A. Babusci and J.W. Stansell add another delightful aspect to this publication.



The purpose of the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Awards is to recognize the best haiku and related books published in a given year in the English language. Every year sees a fresh crop of fine individual collections, anthologies, translations, critical studies and innovative forms.

In the past, the HSA Merit Book awards were partially supported by a memorial gift. Leroy Kanterman, cofounder of the Haiku Society of America, made a gift to support the first place award in memory of his wife Mildred Kanterman. See the archives of Merit Book Awards.

The Merit Book Awards competition is open to the public. Books must have been published in the previous year and must clearly contain a printed previous year copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). HSA will also consider collections that have only appeared in an e-book/digital book format. Two print copies of the digital book may be sent by the publisher. Books published by HSA officers are eligible for this award. Books published by the national HSA organization, however, are not eligible.

Winners by Year (with judges' comments):

2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1985 | 1983 | 1981 | 1978 | 1975 |

See the contest rules for entering the next Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards competition.