Touchstone Awards 2012

Haiku21-cover

A few books linked to R’r got some recent kudos from The Haiku Foundation via their annual Touchstone Awards for best books of 2012.

Haiku 21: an anthology of contemporary English-language haiku (Modern Haiku Press, 2011), edited by Lee Gurga and myself, shared the Distinguished Book award for 2012 with 3 other books.

Here’s what the judges had to say:

Haiku 21 is a unique and startling anthology of twenty-first-century English-language haiku. Editors Lee Gurga and Scott Metz took upon themselves the daunting task of reading every single haiku published in journals from 2000-2010. They selected what they considered the most excellent work, attempting also to showcase the full range of contemporary English-language haiku, from traditional to experimental, exploring the question, “What can haiku be?” The poets answer, in alphabetical order, sans bio or notes, most represented by a single poem. Although the collection may trend more towards the experimental than the taste of some, the anthology renders a fascinating image of where English-language haiku is in this new millennium, and points the way toward its future

In addition to the award, we received these stones:

gurga2metz2

Reviews of Haiku 21 by Ron Silliman, and Michael Dylan Welch (Modern Haiku 43.2);

additional kudos:

“Haiku 21 is a collection of the same old, same old unmemorable haiku-like poetry. [It] omits many well known poets, has many abysmal poems, and helps to further discredit haiku.”  —Robert D. Wilson, editor of Simply Haiku: The International Journal of English Language Traditional Japanese Short Form Poetry

“We find here a mania for running smugly free in hallucinations. It’s a public nuisance.”  —Klaus-Dieter Wirth (Chrysanthemum 13)

Metz-collection-cover

In addition, my own first collection, lakes & now wolves (Modern Haiku Press, 2012) received an Honorable Mention, sharing that distinction with 3 other books. Here’s what the judges had to say:

lakes & now wolves is the long-awaited, first full collection by a poet justly described as “one of the most innovative and challenging younger poets at work in haiku” (Montage). Few collections of haiku by a single author are as exploratory and wide-ranging. The book progresses from excellent, relatively normative examples of the genre:

end of summer
pressing her body against
the sea wall

to more boldly imaginative one-liners such as:

meadow speaking the language she dreams in

Indeed, many of the poems exemplify the 21st Century trend towards writing haiku in one line, coincident with a linguistically playful turn, at its best. The following, which may be seen as a vertical one-liner, touches tenderly on romantic relationship through a subtle, unexpected line-break:

drop

lakes & now wolves also offers some of the most striking haiku on the topic of war in English, alongside distinctive takes on classical and modern Japanese haiku. While some of the “ku” may disconcert traditionalists, this is a collection that inspires and provokes more than most.

Reviews by Eve Luckring (Modern Haiku 44.1; p16 in the PDF),

and Francine Banwarth (frogpond 36.1);

additional kudos:

“[N]ot worth reading.”  —Robert D. Wilson, editor of Simply Haiku: The International Journal of English Language Traditional Japanese Short Form Poetry

Of the 30 poems I submitted, as editor, from the 2012 issues of R’r (and also 10 more from MASKS), one was shortlisted for a Touchstone, but ultimately did not receive an award:

lilly

R’r 12.3

way mark harris R'r cover copy– click on the cover to read the issue as a flipbook –

– R’r 12.3 (downloadable PDF) –

. . .

scorpion prize 27 by Craig Dworkin

70+ new poems

Part I of an interview with translator Makoto Ueda

MASKS 4

3 essays by Jack Galmitz on the work of Robert Boldman, Richard Gilbert, & Mark Harris

& the announcement of a new section in R’r: homeland

submission deadline for 13.1 is April 1, 2013: scott@roadrunnerjournal.net

stance

“In reviewing this correspondence [between 1973-74 between Cor van den Heuvel and Robert Bly], Lee Gurga responded to Bly’s emphasis that, in seeming contrast to English-language haiku, Bashō’s poems have ‘a powerful thought, linked to some terrific anxiety, or tension inside the poet’s life.’ [. . .] Here is Gurga’s response:

Even allowing for some overstatement here, I think the observation is something that needs to be considered in North American haiku: Can people living nearly dangerless lives in the most affluent society that the world has ever known write poetry with the kind of depth that a Bashō with an empty rice gourd or a Shiki with a chest full of phlegm wrote? After all, if the choice is not between life and death but between skiing or going to the beach, will this not make a qualitative difference in the poem?”

/ Tundra #2 (p 41)

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems 2011

On National Haiku Poetry Day (April 17th; 17 syllables, get it?), The Haiku Foundation announced the winners for their Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems in 2011, as well as for their Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards for 2011, and also the winners of their 2012 HaikuNow! contest.

Lots going down.

No winners from R’r were selected for the Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems this year, but two ku that appeared in R’r in 2011 made their Shortlist. One was the following by Chris Gordon, from R’r 11.1:

And one of my own, also from R’r 11.1:

These were two, from the 30, i submitted for the contest (having been invited by THF, as editor of R’r, to submit 10 from each issue we published in 2011). Hope to share all of those sometime soon.

Two ku that i’ve shared on this blog as favorites of mine from other journals in 2011 got top honors however (out of 6 total):

gunshot
every pine needle
pointing at something

Gregory Hopkins

/ The Heron’s Nest (Volume 13:2, June 2011)

&

back from the war   
all his doors
swollen shut

Bill Pauly

/ Modern Haiku (42.1)

Also, as an individual, i was able to submit two of my favorites from other journals for the contest.

One of the two i submitted was Bill Pauly’s ku above.

i like this one so much because it can be read in different ways, and those readings (from the hyper-literal to the symbolic/metaphorical), for me, can be held in the mind simultaneously, and have, i feel, great depth, and far-reaching implications about the human psyche, war, society/culture, Nature, and the world. The words chosen are perfect—nothing’s wasted—and the line breaks are steel-solid. All around, a great and highly memorable poem.

The other of the two i submitted was Lee Gurga’s

the scent of paradise a dead bird in my hand

from Modern Haiku 42.2.

Here the abstract and the concrete are oddly and jarringly grafted on to one another to create a world i never encountered before, yet somehow feel i should’ve (or, actually, that i have, but didn’t realize it until reading Lee’s poem). The balance of release and lifelessness, sadness/aloneness and magnificence, invisibility and concreteness (yet invitation: what kind of bird? what colors?, etc.), the implication of death equaling life/new life, and vice versa, and the intense intimacy and physicality of the bird in hand (flight ceased, flight caught, flight realized and felt)—it is all so mesmerizing. Here the taxonomical naming of the bird would only impede and ruin the entire poem, like it does so often in English-language haiku. The one line construction is perfect and heightens the reading experience.

In the weeks ahead here, Paul Pfleuger, Jr. will be sharing his favorites that appeared in R’r in 2011 with some commentary and lingering questions; & i’ll continue to throw up more of my favs from other journals in 2011. And amongst all of that, the new issue of R’r (12.1) will be completed and unveiled.

BOOKS RECEIVED IN 2011

 

BOOKS RECEIVED IN 2011

Books (Poetry) 

Fay Aoyagi, Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks: New and Selected Haiku, Blue Willow Press (2011), 930 Pine St., Suite 105, San Francisco, CA, 94108 (Attn: the author)

Robert Boldman, everything i touch, Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, 2011

Jorge Carrera Andrade, Micrograms, translated by Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman, Wave Books, Seattle & New York, 2011

Gary Hotham, Nothing More Happens in the 20th Century, Pecan Grove Press, TX, 2011

paul m., few days north days few, Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, 2011

john martone, handbook, (samuddo/ocean, 2011), 1031 10th St., Charelston, IL, 61920

john martone, mother tongue, (samuddo/ocean, 2011), 1031 10th St., Charelston, IL, 61920

Ban’ya Natsuishi, Turquoise Milk: Selected Haiku of Ban’ya Natsuishi, translated by Jim Kacian and Ban’ya Natsuishi, Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, 2011

Books (Other)

Steven D. Carter (translator), Haiku Before Haiku: From the Renga Masters to Bashō, Columbia University Press, New York, 2011

Jeffrey Johnson, Haiku Poetics in Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Poetry, Lexington Books, MD, 2011

Kaneko Tohta, The Future of Haiku: An Interview with Kaneko Tohta, translated by the Kon Nichi Translation Group (Richard Gilbert, Masahiro Hori, Itô Yûki, Koun Franz, David Ostman, Kanamitsu Takeyoshi), Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, 2011

Kaneko Tohta, Ikimonofûei: Poetic Composition on Living Things, translated by the Kon Nichi Translation Group (Richard Gilbert, Masahiro Hori, Itô Yûki, Koun Franz, David Ostman, Kanamitsu Takeyoshi), Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, 2011

Journals

ant ant ant ant ant 11 (spring 2011), Eugene, OR (edited by Chris Gordon). / SAY WHAT THE FENCE IS THE ANSWER by Jim Westenhaver.

ant ant ant ant ant 12 (autumn 2011), Eugene, OR (edited by Chris Gordon). / THE COINCIDENCE OF STARS by Jack Galmitz.

Books (Anthologies)

Lee Gurga and Scott Metz (editors), Haiku 21: an anthology of contemporary English-language haiku, Modern Haiku Press, Lincoln, IL, 2011