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Volume IV, Valentine Awards: February 2002.
Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Overview • Readers' Choice • Most Popular Poet • Editors' Choice
Favorite Haiku • Popular Poets • Editors' Runners-up • Special Mention

Readers' Choice
Connie Donleycott
Most Popular Poet
Peggy Lyles
Editors' Choice
John W. Wisdom
Favorite Haiku
John Crook
John W. Wisdom
Yu Chang
Paul David Mena
Popular Poets
Connie Donleycott
John W. Wisdom
Yu Chang
paul m.
Editors' Runners-up
Lenard D. Moore
John Crook
Special Mention


Connie Donleycott
1st Runner-up (142 points)

A new voice in the haiku community, Connie Donleycott has quickly demonstrated that she is exceptionally sensitive and has the gift of words. Not only did her “crowd of umbrellas” receive the Heron’s Nest Award in June, readers have now voted it to be the Poem of the Year. Connie has six other poems in Volume Three. Each is brief in form and expertly cut. She has a marvelous sense of rhythm and her poems flow naturally, with the sound and feel of classic haiku. Two exemplary poems:

            through my thought

            first spring day
            the bareness
            of legs

The wonderment with which Connie perceives the world is evident. That she feels herself intimately involved in it is also clear.

Christopher Herold

John W. Wisdom
2nd Runner-up (109 points)

The Heron’s Nest published six haiku by John Wisdom in Volume Three. Two were Editors’ Choices. John is a keen observer; his craft is easygoing and unobtrusive. Prominent characteristics of his haiku are commonplace imagery, originality, and an ability to create mood.

            afternoon hush–
            the cat takes another step
            towards a robin

            approaching storm
            a nest of yellowjackets
            in the scarecrow’s belly

Exemplary of the commonplace, a domestic cat stalks a songbird. “Approaching storm” has an original topic that generates a most ominous mood: the threats of yellowjackets (wasps) and a storm. Both have spring-loaded tension­about to snap.

Paul MacNeil

Yu Chang
3rd Runner-up (108 points)

Four of Yu Chang’s poems appeared in Volume III. One was a Heron’s Nest Award winner. As I reread these, and other poems by Yu, I found his voice easily recognizable. Good humor abounds. More often than not, his humor exemplifies the lightness associated with fine haiku rather than the more satyrical sort of humor which characterizes senryu. Another hallmark of Yu’s poems is a sense of open friendliness and of familiarity. Two poems that illustrate these qualities:

            tiny bubbles
            where the moose was
            a cluster of flies

            warm kitchen
            the rise and fall
            of friends’ laughter

Yu Chang delights in his surroundings. He is true to them in his writing and at the same time, playful.

Christopher Herold

paul m.
4th Runner-up (106 points)

In addition to a Heron’s Nest Award winner and two runners-up, paul m. had nine other haiku in Volume Three. Most of his haiku are very quiet. Two of them:

            spring rain
            the measured step
            of a sandhill crane

            canyon echo
            sky-colored asters
            among the rocks

These poems are devoid of anything resembling a “sexy” hook. The reader/listener is not manipulated because the writer makes no attempt to tug at heartstrings. To the contrary, often a casual look, or “quick read,” will not afford as much pleasure, or insight, as will a deep breath and a good, long look. Something, an indefinite something, communicates paul m.’s vision. His collation of place, season, living things, and a minimum of action reveal the naturalist that he is. The words are spare but skillfully chosen. His poems are strongly divided. The resonance of the parts is not jarringly juxtaposed. I opt for the word “apposition.” Things are shown together, compared side-by-side.

Paul MacNeil


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