The Valentine awards is really an excellent idea, making a reader
go through all the haiku of the preceding year, shifting and considering
and perhaps finding more depth than at the first reading.
— Florence Vilen
What a great idea to encourage thoughtful reading! Ranking the poems
is a critical step. It is a different process than the initial selection
of poems. It requires you to ask yourself what matters most; what
makes a poem stronger, in your estimation, and what weakens it.
— Dave Russo
It is one of the highlights each year to do this-enjoy again each
pleasing page of each Nest, and then try to narrow my favorites, and
then to somehow put them into an order of preference.
— Billie Wilson
What a difficult task it is to select just ten! Fun though, and it
certainly focuses one’s thinking.
— Sandra Simpson
As always, a wonderful exercise! How often do any of us pull down
old issues of any other haiku periodical except in such an instance?
There is so much fresh, exciting poetry, that I tend to always be
looking forward. Or if I do look back, it is through a collection
such as The Haiku Anthology or an individual collection. So I thank
you for the exercise.
— paul m.
I take the voting very seriously. I certainly enjoy re-reading all
of the poems.
— Lenard D. Moore
It was most gratifying to reread all the 2003 haiku published in The
Heron’s Nest, and as always, very, very difficult to choose
only ten. My shortlist was much longer than that!
— Maria Steyn
I can’t tell you how much trouble I had this year. There were
some terrific haiku I hated to let go.
— Marian Olson
It has been very hard to select only ten poems; there are so many
other great poems published in The Heron’s Nest too (in fact,
I didn’t find one I don’t like!).
— Dietmar Tauchner
Well, if I needed (and I didn’t) something to help me appreciate
the incredible task you and your fellow editors perform each month
this was it. Had you given me twenty votes I would still be agonizing
over the many favorites I’d have to leave out of the winners
of my “Damn, I wish I’d written that!” awards. Many
thanks, again, to all of you for making this task so difficult.
— Robert Gilliland
I reevaluated — blind — my top 230 haiku from the year,
came up with a shortlist of about 30, and winnowed from there. When
I revealed the authors’ names to myself, I was surprised (pleasantly).
— Charles Trumbull
Hardest job I ever did! How to choose from so many winners?
— Mary Lee McClure
It was my time to stop and smell the roses, and I enjoyed each poem.
Some of them even triggered poems of my own. Amazing how that happens.
— Yvonne Cabalona
How do I vote? Way too many great poems to choose from. Thank you
so very much for dealing out the opportunity to not just push these
poems aside, but to revisit them again and again.
— Alice Frampton
Why did I think it would be easier this year?
— Barry George
I must have made a zillion lists of favorites, and still felt that
I left ones out that should be in. John Stevenson’s beautiful
snow silence, and the delightfully evocative country diner. They went
in and out, in and out. Another one that I had go in and out, as it
really hit me as one of the most unexpected, original, and non-snooty,
was Emily Romano’s painted toenails lure a turtle. I loved it!
So unselfconscious, too, in a medium that she could have felt that
she should not show her bighairness, if you know what I mean. It proved
to me the essence of what I love about haiku as it should be — that
it is for real people, and about the real world. There were others,
too. Kylan Jones-Huffman’s gaunt children selling old bayonets.
It went from three to out numerous times. Of course, I will never
forget it, and only wish more people could be touched by this, rather
than the next distraction: Michael Jackson’s nose yesterday,
the moon today. Kay Anderson’s mama pitting cherries with a
paperclip--such a warm picture of a world that I always think must
be gone, yet still lives somewhere. Fay Aoyagi’s trenchant incomplete
resume. Summer afternoon with boys telling stories about “someday” — wonderful
from Jennie Townsend! Paul Pfleuger’s spot-on black ice. I thought
it was a perfect poem. Such a perfect observation. Then I was drawn
to Allen McGill’s deaf dog, at which I actually cried, not because
the dog is unhappy, but because of the closeness that was so beautiful
there. Maria Steyn (who is one of my favorite poets) wrote about something
my cat used to love to do: check out what everyone else is eating
and doing. Emily Romano’s pregnant cat left behind haunts me
just as it haunted her. Matt Morden’s winter sickness was really
a milestone poem of great power. Claire Gallagher’s “losing
the stars I know to the skyful” — such truth
there. Then there was that wonderful cherry blossom in the baby’s
diaper, found by Michael Meyerhofer. Well, those weren’t the
only ones. Every one of those went into the top ten. And yet none
of them are among the ten that I sent to you. In the end, I tried
to pick the ones that were the freshest, not meaning most original.
Gary Warner’s peanut-cracking kindergartners would have made
the top three if that were the only criterion. I did enjoy that one
mightily but chose ones that really stuck with me and had surprising
qualities of understated power. It took several weeks again, to finally
say to myself that this particular list that I sent was the one I
wanted to send. But the thing is, congratulations for making it so
bloody hard to do it!
— Anna Tambour
Are you tired yet, of hearing how hard it is to choose just ten of
the poems published in The Heron’s Nest in 2003? But it is,
— Jennie Townsend