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Volume V, Valentine Awards: February 2003.
Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Overview • Grand Prize - Poet of the Year • Favorite Poets
Grand Prize - Poem of the Year  • Favorite Poems
Special Mention - Page 1 • Special Mention - Page 2

Readers’ Choice —
Poet of the Year

John Stevenson
Readers’ Choice —
Favorite Poets

paul m.
Peggy Willis Lyles
Anna Tambour
Readers’ and Editors’ Choice —
Poem of the Year

paul m.
Readers’ and Editors’ Choice —
Favorite Poems

Billie Wilson
Anna Tambour
Connie Donleycott
Hortensia Anderson
Jim Kacian
Special Mentions —
Page 1

Special Mentions —
Page 2


I’d like to thank all of you who voted for your favorite poems in Volume IV of The Heronís Nest. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that nearly everyone who participated sent strikingly similar remarks along with their votes. It was unanimous that choosing ten favorite poems from 635 was a real challenge. At the same time, much gratitude was expressed since the task of rereading so many haiku turned out to be a worthwhile experience. Much more was discovered and appreciated the second time through. Iím happy to acknowledge that, although voting for favorites was not easy, participation proved to be pleasurable and an education.

The most interesting and exciting result of this yearís Valentine Awards is that readersí and editorsí choices are in perfect accord! At the beginning of December, when voting was just getting underway, we editors huddled and chose our favorite poem and two runners-up. This was done so that we could write our commentaries early, avoiding an overload of work come January 15 (the voting deadline). On January 16 points were tallied and, amazingly, readers and editors chose to honor the same three poems. Not only that, the point totals received by these three poems reflect the editorsí order of preference exactly! Voting also resulted in a three-way tie for the 3rd Runner-Up. I am delighted and gratified at such concordance.

Iíd like to mention again this year that there are three important purposes for our annual Valentine Awards. The first is to afford poets an opportunity to help shape the evolution of haiku beyond what is accomplished in their individual writing and publishing of work. Poems voted to be favorites serve as guiding lights to editors as well as to other poets. These haiku exemplify what is generally held by our readers to be valuable and effective. The second purpose goes along with the first. Thoroughly reviewing a given volume of The Heronís Nest (with the intention of voting for favorite haiku) produces valuable insight about which techniques work, and which do not. Therefore, the voting process is a means of triangulating what is important to us as individuals. The third purpose is to honor those poets who have gifted our readers and the haiku community at large with exceptionally powerful work. The images, moods, and emotions in their haiku continue to resonate long after other poems have faded from consciousness.

We received well over 12,000 poems for consideration last year. About 5% of them were accepted — 635 poems by 179 poets from 24 countries. In light of this, to have appeared in The Heronís Nest is of itself a fine accomplishment. Poems selected as Editorsí Choices, or for Heronís Nest Awards are worthy of considerable praise. Last year the average number of poems accepted from a poet was about four. There were 59 poets represented by a single poem. Cindy Zackowitz had the most poems accepted (15).

In this yearís voting, 261 poems received a total of 2,907 points. At least one point was received by each of 122 poets. The average number of points garnered by a poem was eleven. The Grand Prize winning poem received 92 points. The average number of points garnered by a single poet (for combined works) was 24. The Grand Prize winning poet accumulated 173 points.

We value all who have appeared in The Heronís Nest this past year. We have greatly enjoyed corresponding with you, encouraging you, and learning from you. Poets who appear in this Valentine Awards issue have achieved something of considerable significance. You deserve a loud and lengthy round of applause.

—Christopher Herold

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