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Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards 2002

The Haiku Society of America sponsors this annual award for excellence in published haiku, translation, and criticism.

Merit Book Awards judges commets by year: 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

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 2002 (for books published in 2001)


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. Every year sees a fresh crop of fine individual collections, anthologies, translations, critical studies and innovative forms. 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

monk & i by vincent tripi. Preface by Cid Corman. Illustrations by David Kopitzke. Hummingbird Press. (P.O. Box 96, Richland, WI 53581) 64 pages. $12 postpaid.

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

what's not there: selected haiku of Jeffrey Winke by Jeffrey Winke. Deep North Press. (2610 Central Park Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201) 88 pages. Paperback. $12.00.

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)

Einstein's Century: Akito Arima's Haiku by Akito Arima, translated by Emiko Miyashita and Lee Gurga (Brooks Books) 128 pages, paperback. $18.50 ppd.

Tsuru by Yoshiko Yoshino, translated by Lee Gurga and Emiko Miyashita (Deep North Press) 116 pages, hardcover. $20.00 postpaid in North America from Charlie Trumbull, 2021 Harrison Street, Evanston, IL 60201.

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

The Nick of Time: Essays on Haiku Aesthetics by Paul O. Williams. Edited by Lee Gurga and Michael Dylan Welch. Press Here (P.O. Box 4014, Foster City, CA 94404) 112 pages. Paperback. $14.00 ppd.

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

A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku edited by Jim Kacian & Dee Evetts (Red Moon Press) (P.O. Box 2461, Winchester, VA 22504-1661) redmoon@shentel.net 176 pages. Paperback. $14.95 (plus $3.00 postage).

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

a glimpse of red: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku edited by Jim Kacian & the Red Moon Press Editorial Staff. Red Moon Press. (P.O. Box 2461, Winchester, VA 22504-1661) redmoon@shentel.net 168 pages. Paperback. $14.95 (plus $3.00 postage).

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.

Voices and Echoes edited by Carlos Colón. $8.00 U.S. & Canada, $9.00 elsewhere, postpaid from the editor at 185 Lynn Avenue, Shreveport, LA 711105.

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.

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