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Readers' Choices

•  Peggy Lyles

•  Favorite Haiku

Most Popular Poets

•  an'ya

• Ferris Gilli

•  Popular Poets

Editor's Choice

•  Emily Romano

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Volume III, Valentine Awards: February, 2001.

Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved by the respective authors.  

Overview  •  Readers' Choice  •  Most Popular Poets  •  Editor's Choice

Favorite Haiku  •  Popular Poets

Most Popular Poets

(poets who received the highest number of votes overall)


Double Grand Prize: an'ya and Ferris Gilli

Ferris Gilli

Ferris Gilli was part of the inaugural issue of The Heron's Nest (September 1999). She is with us still, now as an Associate Editor. Eleven of her haiku were published in the 2000 Volume; nearly all of them received votes from her peers. She earned one The Heron's Nest Award and another of her haiku was an Editor's Choice Runner-up.

Ferris's haiku involve all the senses of a keen observer. Her purview is the natural world outside her door. She writes of the touch, sound, look and smell of living things as found in their own environments. She sees the small things often missed, even by other poets. Ferris is a naturalist. Frogs, birds, lizards, insects, flowers, trees, fruit–the Gilli gallery.

In a journal entry written for April 2, 1859, Thoreau (also a naturalist) wrote: “Two hundred thirty-nine pitch-pine cones left [by squirrels] in one heap.” Ferris's journal is not a list of facts but a noting of small truths, relationships in nature. She finds in her garden:

            night rain–
                    the small serrated song
            of a frog

            last night's rain
                   cupped in a banana leaf
                          a small green frog

Her other vote-getting haiku are not dynamic; they do not have active, exciting verbs. As for style, her haiku contain no poetic devices. The words in these haiku aren't sweet; there are no treacly clichés. Yet their effect is so very gentle. Nothing is abandoned, crumbling, alone, gnarled or wrinkled. I sense no angst, no pathos. Instead there is a tone of reverence and joy. The “ahhh”s that sometimes escape my lips when reading Ferris's haiku are slowly formed and slowly expelled. In the end what shows is Ferris's affectionate awareness of the life around her. She is glad to be part of it. Human beings come into her haiku and sometimes she includes herself, but always as parts of the infinitely bigger, natural scene, neither as a foil nor as a comparator. Ferris's craft is subtle. Two haiku below have a pivoting central line, but the pencil of the poet is unseen. Most of her haiku have “le bon mot”: a well-chosen, key word.

            morning sun
            the peach's blush
            deepens near the pit

            red plums
            her steady hand slips
            between the bees

            a curtain billows
            before the rain
            scent of roses

Color, weather, and little critters abound. In one of her most voted for poems “a curtain billows,” a storm is brewing. Rather than dwell on that drama, Ferris notices the advance of wind bringing her garden inside to her and . . . to us.

- Paul MacNeil

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