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Volume VII, Valentine Awards: February, 2005.
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Readers’ Choice - Poet of the Year •  Runners-up
Readers’ Choice - Poem of the Year •  Runners-up
Editors’ Choice - Poem of the Year & Runners-up
Readers’ Comments About Voting
Special Mentions: (Introduction) •  (Part I) •  (Part II) • 

Readers’ Choice —
Poet of the Year

Lenard D. Moore
Readers’ Choice —
Poet of the Year

John Stevenson
Rick Tarquinio
Peter Yovu
Yu Chang
Readers’ Choice —
Poem of the Year

Lenard D. Moore
Readers’ Choice —
Poem of the Year

Rick Tarquinio
K. Ramesh
John Stevenson
Editors’ Choice —
Poem of the Year
& Runners-up

Lenard D. Moore
K. Ramesh
Joann Klontz
Readers’ Comments about Voting
Special Mentions

Readers’ Comments about Voting

I keep a list of favorite Nest haiku going all year. All I have to do is look it over, along with the December issue, in order to put my Valentine selections together. If I don’t do it right away, I might let it go and not get around to it at all. What a treat to read them all again. Fun!

 — Katherine Cudney

As in the prior two years, this was an instructive exercise for me. I started with a short-list of 67 haiku and fairly quickly winnowed those down to 19 finalists. Arriving at the last ten was more difficult and rank ordering them was the toughest task of all. But in the process I learned more about the qualities I respond to, and admire, in haiku.

 — Scott Mason

My top ten list doesn’t feel all that definitive, objectively or subjectively, but at any rate here are ten pieces that resonated for me over the course of 2004. Thanks for another year of exceptional haiku moments.

 — Christopher Patchel

How great it was to see the editors in the last monthly edition of Heron’s Nest. You must do that more often. Now, to the Valentine’s voting. What a task! And how interesting to discover that I chose only two that had been editors’ choices—maybe a cultural gap (references to the natural world that mean nothing to me here on the other side of the world) caused that or maybe I’m just contrary! I found myself mentally editing some as I went, including my own, I hasten to add. Going back through a year’s worth of haiku by some excellent writers is, however, not a chore. A bit like Santa, I’ve made a list and I’ve checked it twice (actually, more like five times, and with plenty of crossing out and moving round, and asking non-haiku members of the household what they think, and getting into some good discussions). I’m still not sure I’ve got it in the right order past the first three! Still, all judging of writing is subjective, especially when it’s already been through a rigorous editorial selection process.

 — Sandra Simpson

Once again, an impossible task! On another day I might have chosen others. But I have gone over and over them, and I like all 10 of these very much. It wasn’t until I had made my final selections that I realized there were only eight poets represented (i.e., I chose two poems each from two of the poets).

 — Carolyn Hall

Once again, much fun, but also difficulty this year in sorting them. I tried to rank them like any other haiku, on a 1 - 10 scale, but found I had too many that were 8s and 9s. A testament, as I always say, to the strength of the journal.

 — paul m.

As usual, these were selected blind from a short list of about 50 of my top-scoring haiku throughout the year, which I re-scored. My overwhelming impression was that all 50 haiku were very close in quality, so my final ranking 1-10 is virtually meaningless. Any one of the 50 was virtually interchangeable with any other in terms of overall merit.

 — Charles Trumbull

As usual, I found that I needn’t worry about selecting quality work from The Heron’s Nest, there being nothing else. But this year I felt a twinge of guilt about passing over so many really good poems, the products of so much skill and desire to communicate. As in the past, what I have selected is not so much “the best” as it is the poems that happen to connect most strongly to my own experiences and to my own preferences regarding how haiku can be a unique, and needed, alternative poetry for me.

 — John Stevenson

My top ten for 2004 from The Heron’s Nest. And a week before Christmas—shouldn’t I still be decorating or shopping?

 — Gary Hotham

I ran through all the issues from last year and noted 30 poems that resonated particularly well with me. It was very difficult to cut that number down to 10 and then put them in any meaningful order. There were simply too many strong poems to choose from. Though the Rick Tarquinio poem clearly struck me as the best of the lot, I can’t help but feel that most of the rest of the selections and the order of preference I’ve put them in are somewhat arbitrary.

 — Timothy Hawkes

I have been putting this off because I know how hard it is and am afraid of giving a worthy poem short shrift! And then I learn again that this voting leads to double and triple enjoyment of many, many wonderful verses. Thank you, all. Can you believe I have actually been taking a copy into the bathtub with me?!

 — Kirsty Karkow

This is my first year of voting and even though I want to comment on each of these choices, I feel myself as a toddler amongst so many beautiful poets.

 — Robert Bauer

It was extremely tough this year . . . tough every year. There are so many wonderful poems! Very difficult to trim it to a top ten.

 — Curtis Dunlap

These poems were among the 25 that I selected on a first, anonymous reading just for this purpose, intending to cast my votes for my ten favorite haiku appearing in last year’s The Heron’s Nest. Of the eleven 2004 issues of The Heron’s Nest, I read eight in hard copy and three on the web. I typed the 25 haiku into a file, printed them out on paper for further review. When I went through trying to reduce the number to ten, I picked those that I knew would stay with me, possibly for years. I could only cut the list down to eleven, which I again printed out and read through several times with the names of the authors covered According to the rules of the readers’ selections, I was supposed to put ten of them in rank order. I figured that number eleven would drop out. But there was no way I could rank or grade them. Each of the following eleven haiku is simply sui generis. That is, each is uniquely itself, not comparable to any other, and therefore not possible to rank or grade relative to any other.

 — William J. Higginson

What a wonderful excursion it has been going through some extremely fine work in the 2004 issues.

 — Billie Wilson

As always, it has been a pleasure to review these. Also a neat way to keep up with the progress of new poets.

 — Cindy Zackowitz

In the first list, there were many poems. My selection of ten from this list was based on the different moods and feelings the poems evoked in me. At this point in my life, I consider these moods and feelings very important. The order of preference is based on the state of my mind now. If I were to go through the poems again in the future, I may rearrange them. In other words, I like all the tens poems!

 — K. Ramesh

A characteristic special to haiku, for me, is that I can reread them and find something new every time I immerse myself in one.

 — Maria Steyn

Thank you and everyone involved for putting together another wonderful year of The Heron’s Nest. There are individual monthly issues that I could easily (and did!) pick ten favorites from, so to cull only ten from the year is nearly impossible. For the sake of simply enjoying participation, I will give you a rather spontaneous ten from those I delighted in most.

 — Tom Clausen

This never gets any easier, does it? Thanks again for the opportunity to choose nearly half of the haiku that touched me so this year.

 — Jennie Townsend

Choosing what I considered the ten best haiku from The Heron’s Nest ’04 was, as others have said, very challenging, but also very rewarding and an education. I come out of this exercise knowing better what I value in haiku. My preference has always been for work with depth, by which I mean haiku which defy but also incorporate conscious understanding, haiku which one does not merely “get” and pass on from, but which invite entrance—(because they are entrancing)—a sense, bolstered by the senses, that they are alive, and will behave differently in different lights, to different eyes. For me, good haiku embody intelligence—of head, or heart, or music. The best embody all three. Looking over those I have chosen, I find a quality of movement within stillness which may be another way of saying they are imbued with mystery, of being known and unknowable at the same time. They have, many of them, an aura of having just been born, and of continual birth, which means, of course, that they face, as every moment does, death at every moment.

 — Peter Yovu



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