Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for 2002

Haiku Society of America

Merit Book Awards for 2002

Stanford M. Forrester and Bruce Kennedy, judges

Twenty-four books published in 2001 were submitted for the competition. We have enjoyed considering all these books and congratulate all those who submitted. This year's judges particularly recommend the following haiku books as the best of 2001. The Haiku Society of America encourages you to support the winning authors and publishers by buying and reading these books.

Stanford M. Forrester and Bruce Kennedy were the judges for this year's contest. Here are their comments and selections.


First Place

Vincent Tripi. Monk & I. Richland, WI: Hummingbird Press, 2001.

This is an exceptional collection of haiku, senryu, and small poems. Tripi's voice is original, alive and authentic even as he draws his themes from Buddhism and American transcendentalism. His masterful use of silence, space, and repetition, as well as carefully thought-out line breaks, elevate these poems to another level. David Kopitzke's judicious use of small, naturalistic line drawings perfectly compliment the well laid-out text and letterpress printing. From start to finish, this is a work of art.


Second Place

Jeffrey Winke. What's Not There: Selected Haiku of Jeffrey Winke. Evanston, IL: Deep North Press, 2001.

This contemporary selection of poetry is clearly American. Winke's haiku and senryu is always fresh and creative, no matter what the topic may be. He displays these traits best in his erotic or humorous poems where the reader is enticed by one thing and then is cleverly and/or unexpectedly lead elsewhere by the poet's device. Yet throughout all his work, there is a profound feeling of insightfulness.


Award for Best Translation (tie)

Akito Arima. Einstein's Century: Akito Arima's Haiku. Translated by Emiko Miyashita and Lee Gurga. Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 2001.

Yoshiko Yoshino. Tsuru by Yoshiko Yoshino. Translated by Lee Gurga and Emiko Miyashita. Evanston, IL: Deep North Press, 2001.

The translation team of Emiko Miyashita and Lee Gurga have done the English-language haiku community a wonderful service by introducing us to two contemporary Japanese haiku masters. Dr. Akito Arima is a professor, scientist and politician whose haiku, as Gary Snyder notes on the back cover, have a "traditional elegance" and "maintain the depth and lightness of true haiku." (Many haiku contain Christian themes and subject matter not frequently found in Western haiku.) Yoshiko Yoshino's haiku are deeply moving and are stunningly memorable. Both translators are highly accomplished haiku poets in their own rights, and the translations are beautifully rendered in English.


Award for Best Criticism

Lee Gurga and Michael Dylan Welch, Editors. The Nick of Time: Essays on Haiku Aesthetics by Paul O. Williams. . Foster City, CA: Press Here, 2001.

This wonderfully provocative collection of 16 essays addresses many key topics in haiku and its writing. Williams puts his arguments out on the table and holds his own. Also included in the book is a strong and even collection of 40 haiku and senryu by the author. A very important book for English-language haiku theory and practice.


Award for Best Anthology

Jim Kacian & Dee Evetts, Editors. A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku . Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2001.

New Resonance 2 is evidence of the fecundity of contemporary haiku. Following upon the heels of its critically-acclaimed predecessor, this volume presents 17 leading haiku poets through a representative sampling of 15 of each of their best haiku. This is a must-buy for all haiku poets. It supplements—and deserves a place on the bookshelf next to—The Haiku Anthology by Cor van den Heuvel.


Honorable Mentions for Anthologies

Jim Kacian, Editor. a glimpse of red: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2001. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2001.

The annual Red Moon anthology is always eagerly anticipated, and this year is no exception. This installment contains work by 120 poets, authors, and scholars from two dozen countries. Strong haiku, great haibun, wonderful linked forms and most of all a number of indispensable essays by leading scholar's and poets in the haiku world.

Carlos Colón, Editor. Voices and Echoes. Shreveport, LA, 2001.

This is a solid anthology that rises above the risks inherent to member anthologies that promise to include all members. 222 of HSA's 800+ members chose to be represented here. Each has a single haiku, over half of which are previously published. Editor Carlos Colón's sound editorial approach and work with contributors makes Voices and Echoes an enjoyable read.




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.