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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

Readers’ Choice – Poet of the Year

John Stevenson

Dear John,

Good news. Readers of The Heron’s Nest have voted you the Most Popular Poet for 2002. Eleven of your thirteen poems from Volume IV received votes as people registered their favorites, and the final tally shows you the clear winner of this heart-touching award. I know you will be quietly pleased, quietly proud even. You should be. We haiku poets are fortunate in our readers. They are appreciative and discriminating.

Congratulations, John! But beyond that, thank you. You richly deserve this honor. You involve us in a world that was always ours, but that we might not notice so keenly without your gently drawing our attention to what is right before our eyes. Your haikai twists refresh our perception and encourage our human capacity to expand and connect.

In Nest poems last year, you asked questions that continue to resonate.

shooting star
what do fish
see at night?

a hard rain
what cloud
could have held it?

peony bud
can an ant

I can imagine witnessing that shooting star with you and making the leap as you perceive its likeness to a fish in the dark sea. How simple then to leap again and wonder about what fish see looking above them at night. I follow your unstated comparison. In ways we can barely fathom, those fish are like you and me, seeing their version of what we see as we look up at the vast night sky. Alive to a moment, you convey vibrations that go far and deep, interconnecting human beings with the universe. Coleridge described poetry as “the best words in the best order.” Great poetry leaps, I think, delivering the stars and the sea.

You take us along as you move through the sometimes lonely landscape of being human

childhood home
            as I arrive

and validate our daily lives by calling attention to ordinary things and human hopes.

almost spring
the untouched mousetraps
in the attic

summer night
the sound of a car
about to go by

out shopping
for a wedding dress

You help us appreciate the other side of things.

coming home
on the train
. . . the backyards

I close my eyes
for a second look

You ponder our connection with other creatures and imbue readers with your insights.

right now
while we chat
fish in the deep ocean

Amish country
the deer beside the road
stare at us

Thank you for reminding us of how nature calls to our humanity and of the individual’s longing to connect with other people.

a change in their voices
   children finding
       a fledgling

warm evening
an open door
to someone’s living room

Yours are superb haiku, John, genuine contributions to world literature. They are as challenging as they are accessible and inclusive. That makes them particularly deserving of recognition from the sensitively-tuned readers of The Heron’s Nest. The editors take pleasure in gathering these thirteen in one place for everyone to enjoy again.

—Peggy Willis Lyles

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