Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for 2013

Haiku Society of America

Merit Book Awards for 2013

Paul MacNeil and Paul Miller, judges

These awards are for books published in 2012. The First Place award is made possible by LeRoy Kanterman, cofounder of the Haiku Society of America, in memory of his wife Mildred Kanterman. Congratulations to each of the winners, and to many additional poets who published other worthy books. If you might be interested in serving as a judge for future Kanterman Awards, please notify any Haiku Society of America officer.


First Place

Carolyn Hall. The Doors All Unlocked. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2012.

Hall’s latest collection of haiku confirms her appreciation and expression of both her emotional and natural worlds. On page after page we find strong poems mixed with a few just “very good.” This is a high standard. This is art from an English-language haiku master.


Second Place

Rebecca Lilly. Yesterday’s Footprints. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2012.

Landscape is important to Lilly; her relationship to it, equally so. Her poems examine the past and present, and look inwards at how they all connect. The reader will recognize many of her questions as their own.


Third Place

Stella Pierides. In the Garden of Absence. Afterword by Michael Dylan Welch. Neusaess, Germany: Fruit Dove Press, 2012.

A charming collection in which the poet revisits childhood loneliness (although one-liness might be more appropriate), yet “located within adult concerns, uncertainties, anxieties, as well as pleasures.” This intersection of the past and present is within all of us, and Pierides mines it well. A very satisfying read


Honorable Mentions

Victor Ortiz. Into Borrego Valley. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2012.

Bruce Ross. Spring Clouds. Bangor, ME: Tancho Press, 2012.

Michael Henry Lee. Against the Grain. Saint Augustine, FL: Eleventh Hour Press, 2012.


Best Anthology

Robert Epstein, ed. The Temple Bell Stops: Contemporary Poems of Grief, Loss and Change. Baltimore, MD: Modern English Tanka Press, 2012.

Epstein’s interest in the multiple sides of loss isn’t an interest in masochism; rather, he is interested in the courageous ways people confront a part of life that is completely natural. There are many kinds of loss, from simple goodbyes to the death of a loved one, and everything in between, and this volume contains them all. Life-affirming rather than morbid.


Honorable Mentions for Best Anthology

Jim Kacian, et al., eds. Carving Darkness: 2012 Red Moon Anthology. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2012.

Patricia J. Machmiller, ed. Bending Reeds: 2012 Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Members Anthology. San Jose, CA: Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 2012.


Best Criticism

Stephen Addiss. The Art of Haiku. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 2012.

An excellent introduction to haiku that takes the reader from its humble beginnings through Shiki and a few contemporaries. Not only does it discuss the path of haiku’s development in Japan, but also how haiku work—and the volume contains numerous examples. The perfect book to give someone with an interest in haiku.


Special Award for Fiction

David G. Lanoue. Frog Poet. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2012.

The capstone to a wonderful quartet. Not only a wonderful way to learn about haiku, but a fun story as well, in which Old Japan appears alongside present-day New Orleans, both full of poets and poetics. And a frog.





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.