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
— 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
— 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
— 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
— 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