Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards 2007
The Haiku Society of America sponsors this annual award for excellence in published haiku, translation, and criticism.
Return to archive of Merit Book Awards archive.
For full details about the contest rules, see Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards.
Merit Book Awards for 2007 (for books published in 2006)
How to pick the ripest apples from a bin of ripe apples? This was the task we faced as we reviewed the 31 books entered in the 2007 Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards. After careful review and consideration, we independently compiled lists of the ten best presentations. Our lists were remarkably similar. At this point the judging became considerably more difficult, as the degree of separation in terms of artistry and craft diminished. We then discussed the merits of each book based on originality, creativity and a continuum of consistency. Another question we factored into our decision making process was, which of these books best presented haiku and the haiki arts to the general public.
Congratulations are due all of the authors who participated in this year's contest. The 31 entries form a composite mirror that reflects a small portion of the vast amount of talent contained within the international haiku community.We are pleased to present the following awards and special category honorable mentions.
Ed Markowski & Yvonne Cabalona, Judges
Reeds: Contemporary Haiga edited by Jeanne Emrich
In her introduction to Reeds, Jeanne Emrich writes, "and it is the hope of this editor that the haiga within these pages will be a source of inspiration to present and future poet-painters." Beautifully arranged, this collection of haiga from 35 contributing poets and painters delivers inspiration, surprise and delight from cover to cover. As one traverses the pages of Reeds, they are greeted with one eye-popping moment after another. Graphics are presented in a variety of media including, sumi-e, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, collage and computer imagery.
In addition to the individual and collaborative works, Reeds features an outstanding essay on Yomeiride by Stephen Addiss, and an interview with Ion Codrescu in which Mr. Codrescu provides valuable insights on both the present and future of haiga. In the interview Mr. Codrescu asks, "Why don't TV channels include a haiga moment in their broadcasts? A TV haiga? Why not? Thirty seconds of paintaing, calligraphy and haiku would be very good for people." We heartily agree, but until that actually happens, we'll have to be content with outstanding productions like Reeds.
Water Lines by Carolyn Hall (edited by John Barlow)
This poem by Carolyn Hall which illuminates page 38 is typical of the excellence that shines throughout the author's first collection, Water Lines. Experiencing Carolyn's poetry is akin to sailing on a clear day with a perfect tail wind. From first poem to last, one is taken on a smooth journey marked by ordinary scenery that becomes extraordinary by virtue of the poet's keen and guiding eye.
The poet addresses aging and the passage of time with humor...
and an enlightening sense of seriousness...
When one considers how difficult it is to write a "good" haiku it's staggering to note that all of the poems in Water Lines were written between 2000 and 2005. We may never know the true color of Carolyn Hall's hair, but we're certain that it's luminous.
called home by paul m.
This poem, the first in called home, immediately evoked images from John Steinbeck's masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath and serves as a bellwether for this fine collection by paul m.
The poet then takes us on a cross country journey from the saw-tooth peaks of a California mountain range to the woods of New England. Along the way, paul m. provides us with directional signs and maps that indicate connections to place, and the perils and uncertainties of relocation.
Paul m.'s poems are simple and expertly crafted. One can literally slip into the author's emotional longings and expectations as they travel down the highway of called home...
paperweight for nothing by vincent tripi
In paperweight for nothing, vincent tripi challenges both the reader and the boundaries of English language haiku. Tripi's poems cover a broad spectrum of style, from the traditional...
to the experimental...
to the whimsical...
Ultimately, this is a book that addresses questions of spirit and the renewal of spirit from the standpoint of mankind's inseparability from nature. vincent tripi's sensitivity and avoidance of cliche in embracing these issues elevates many of the poems above "genre." This finely hewn, thought provoking collection can well serve as a signpost for both beginning and established haiku poets.
Special Category Honorable Mention For Haibun
Business in Eden by David Cobb
David Cobb's Business in Eden begins with a long haibun titled, A Spring Journey To The Saxon Shore and ends with another long haibun titled, A Day In Twilight. In between, Mr. Cobb takes us on shorter journeys to a school Christmas show, a cemetery, and a "priest hole." Methods of travel include bicycles, taxis and a Danish freighter. Each and every trip is well worth the rigors of travel. The author's prose is clear and clean. His haiku and senryu are well placed and serve to sharpen his expertly rendered tales.
Special Category Honorable Mention for Anthology
fish in love edited by Roberta Beary and Ellen Compton
If fish in love is indicative of the current wealth of talent within The Haiku Society of America, then one can reasonably conclude that the state of this union is prosperous indeed. Roberta Beary and Ellen Compton did an excellent job of editing. Those HSA members who contributed to this celebration of haiku and senryu should feel equally proud. fish in love is an anthology to return to time and again.
Special Category Honorable Mention for Best International Collaboration
Presents of Mind by Jim Kacian.
From the first moment one opens Presents of Mind, they may feel as though they have been transported into Japanese culture. The translation of Jim Kacian's haiku are from English into Japanese. This book is formatted as books are formatted in Japan, and thus the English speaking reader is provided with an approximate sense of "reading Japanese." Jim Kacian's poems are solid throughout. They are presented in English, Kanji and Romanji. Presents of Mind is a unique and fascinating presentation.