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Happily, it is now time to share with you the overall results of the Readers’ Choice voting for favorite poems and most popular poets in The Heron’s Nest, Volume VIII, 2006. If you would like to read the entire awards issue, which includes the winning poems and poets along with commentary, special mentions, and many wonderful comments by voters (on individual poems and on the process in general), please order the paper edition of Volume VIII.

This year’s paper edition of The Heron’s Nest also features a full-color cover (two winning photographs from the 2006 Illustration Contest) as well as the other winning paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs. Copies are due to be sent out during the first week of April. They’ll contain all four of last year’s issues plus the complete Readers’ Choice Awards. For ordering information, please navigate to here.

I’m very pleased to announce that there was a record number of voters this year. Eighty-seven! That beats the old record of seventy-eight, set in 2005. A hearty thank you to all of you who managed to find time to vote in a very busy season.

And now, here are the poems and poets you chose as favorites from The Nests of 2006. The Grand Prize winners will receive engraved plaques and runners-up will be awarded certificates.

To put into perspective how well the winners did: 14 = the average point-score for a given poem.

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Grand Prize (22 votes: 170 points)

winter wind —
a cradlesong sung
in an ancient tongue
            — Billie Wilson

First Runner-up (18 votes: 131 points)

spring breeze —
I catch the tune
she leaves behind
            — Kala Ramesh

Second Runner-up (17 votes: 115 points)

a little inn
with a swinging sign-board . . .
the evening chill
            —  Michael McClintock

Third Runner-up (13 votes: 90 points)

chill wind —
the heart of an oak
leaves the chimney
            — Robert Bauer

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This category results from totaling the number of votes awarded each poet for their entire body of work in Volume VIII. The most poems allowable in The Nest each year is eight. Obviously, the more poems a person has published, the more chances for garnering votes. So, success in the Readers’ Choice Awards is significantly affected by a poet’s earlier successes in having work accepted by the editors throughout the year. No poet had eight poems in volume VIII. Seven poets had seven poems published and six poets had six published.

To put into perspective how well the winners did: The average total points for combined works this year was 29.

Grand Prize (38 total votes for 5 of 6 poems = 242 pts.)

John Stevenson

First Runner-up (28 total votes for 4 of 4 poems = 193 pts.)

Billie Wilson

Second Runner-up (33 total votes for 7 of 7 poems = 177 pts.)

Chad Lee Robinson

Third Runner-up (24 total votes for 4 of 4 poems = 143 pts.)

Michael McClintock

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We are also particularly impressed by reader’s responses to a few new contributors (or relatively new contributors) to The Nest last year. With well over the average total point-score of 29 were:

Kala Ramesh: 2 of 4 poems received votes totaling 134 points
Graham Nunn: 4 of 5 poems received votes totaling 84 points
Lorin Ford: 4 of 4 poems received votes totaling 77 points
Harriot West: 5 of 5 poems received votes totaling 74 points
Dietmar Tauchner: 4 of 4 poems received votes totaling 61 points
Lane Parker: 4 of 4 poems received votes totaling 60 points
Susan Constable: 2 of 2 poems received votes totaling 52 points

Some long-time Nesters who were high in the standings this time were:

Cindy Zackowitz: 7 of 7 poems received votes for a total of 114 points
Yvonne Cabalona: 6 of 6 poems received votes totaling 72 points
K. Ramesh: 7 of 7 poems received votes for a total of 67 points
Margarita Engle: 2 of 3 poems received votes for a total of 52 points

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A deep bow to the winning poets for penning haiku that have profoundly touched so many of us. We congratulate you, the winners of the 2006 Readers’ Choice Awards!

We also applaud everyone whose worked appeared in The Nest last year. Your haiku passed through a team of five critical editors to get there.

On behalf of the editors and web master of The Heron’s Nest,

Christopher Herold