The Heron's Nest

Awards by Year

Contests & Awards — 2018


The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards for 2018

Judge's Comments—Gary Hotham

Over 1800 haiku were submitted. I did read all the haiku entered since I wanted to get an understanding of the whole state of the contest entries. I didn't read them all at once but like how I read any collection of poetry—in bits and pieces, fits and starts, back and forth.

I am not going to comment on each haiku I chose. No special pleading from my heart—you probably won't agree with me anyway. I'll let you deal with the haiku with your own bare hands. You don't need the leather gloves of my prose. My fear is that my comments will be a disservice to the author—confusing the reader with thoughts and interpretations contrary to the writer's intent. Ask my wife. But right up front I'm going to list some thoughts as to what I was looking for in the entries. And things I don't desire to see as I read through them. Then you can read the haiku I selected and enjoy them in their own space. I don't want to cut in on your dance with the haiku. Or weave my own clothes for the haiku.

Now I'm sure there are things I am looking for in a haiku that I am not fully conscious or aware of—or would even be able to begin to clearly express so that others could understand. But that might be the thing that makes a haiku resonate for any of us. This or that haiku fills a need we had never noticed before. And because it happened once we continue to read and re-read and write haiku.

Now for my top three and some almost top three. May one of them resonate as well with you.

First place

vernal equinox
the bend of an elbow
out a car window

Alan S. Bridges
Littleton, Massachusetts

Second place

her Persian carpet
before mourners
disrupt the pattern

Mary Weiler
Austin, Texas

Third place

a scent of light
on snow

Hélène Duc
Bichancourt, France

Honorable Mentions

you don't know
until it's past
last frost

Brad Bennett
Arlington, Massachusetts

on the horizon
just enough cloud
to hold some sunset

Tom Clausen
Ithaca, New York

late autumn sun
every single object
tied to its shadow

Steve Dolphy
Eastleigh, Hampshire
United Kingdom

the steam
that never left the kettle
water again

Steve Dolphy
Eastleigh, Hampshire
United Kingdom

shadows casting darkness through an open door

Rick Jackofsky
Rocky Point, New York

shallow brook—
first snow settles on a stone
above the water

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

flight path of the geese
soon forgotten by all
but the geese

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

for company
the snow crunch underfoot
winter solstice

Tim Murphy
Madrid, Spain

losing hold
of where home is
gift shop seahorses

Peter Newton
Winchendon, Massachusetts

digging up
the memory of earth

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland


The Readers' Choice Awards for 2018

One hundred fifteen readers of The Heron's Nest have provided us with their selections of the best poems we published during 2018. We published 491 poems in Volume 20. Of these, 388 received at least one reader nomination. Ten points were awarded for a first-place nomination, nine for second, and so on.

Here are the top poems and poets as identified for these Readers' Choice Awards:

Grand Prize

Haiku of the Year (25 nominations, totaling 188 points)

learning to eat
around bruises
winter apples

Debbi Antebi (March Issue)

First Runner-up

(19 nominations, totaling 129 points)

lost dog
I leave my voice
in every street

Madhuri Pillai (September Issue)

Second Runner-up

(17 nominations, totaling 111 points)

spring wind
a young sheepdog
skedaddles the lambs

Claire Everett (September Issue)

Third Runner-up (tie)

(13 nominations, totaling 86 points)

resting on my paddle
we will drift a while

Erin J. Jones (September Issue)

(9 nominations, totaling 86 points)

my world
sits on my lap

James Schlett (September Issue)

Other Highly Rated Poems:

73 points: "tornado siren" — Chad Lee Robinson — June

65 points: "oars up" — Joe McKeon — June

61 points: "daily walk" — Tom Clausen — June

57 points: "sunlit afternoon" — Jacquie Pearce — September

53 points: "quietness" — Lenard D. Moore — March

53 points: "drought" — Ibrahim Nureni — September

52 points: "giant sequoias — Sam Bateman — December

52 points: "summer's end" — Barbara Snow — September

49 points: "at both ends" — Matthew Caretti — March

47 points: "summer visit" — Sushma A. Singh — December

45 points: "his life ends" — Gary Hotham — September

42 points: "the shape" — Michele L. Harvey — March

42 points: "ocean of stars" — Ron C. Moss — June

42 points: "deep winter" — Agnes Eva Savich — December

40 points: "spring wind" — Laurie D. Morrissey — March

Popular Poets

This category represents the total number of points awarded to each poet for his/her entire body of work in Volume 20.

Grand Prize — Poet of the Year

Debbi Antebi: (27 nominations, naming 2 of 2 poems published in Volume 20 = 196 points)

First Runner-up (tie)

Alan S. Bridges: (22 nominations, naming 6 of 6 poems published = 142 points)

Claire Everett: (21 nominations, naming 3 of 4 poems published = 142 points)

Third Runner-up

Madhuri Pillai: (19 nominations, naming 1 of 1 poem published = 129 points)

Other Popular Poets

Rick Tarquinio (5 of 5 poems, totaling 110 points)

Chad Lee Robinson (5 of 6 poems, totaling 108 points)

Glenn G. Coats (3 of 3 poems, totaling 99 points)

Michael McClintock (5 of 6 poems, totaling 90 points)

Joe McKeon (4 of 6 poems, totaling 90 points)

Erin J. Jones (1 of 1 poem, totaling 86 points)

James Schlett (1 of 1 poem, totaling 86 points)

Francine Banwarth (4 of 5 poems, totaling 79 points)

Robert Witmer (4 of 4 poems, totaling 79 points)

Christopher Herold (4 of 5 poems, totaling 78 points)

Julie Warther (3 of 4 poems – before she joined our staff, totaling 77 points)

Michele L. Harvey (5 of 5 poems, totaling 75 points)

Chen-ou Liu (4 of 4 poems, totaling 75 points)

Hilary Tann (4 of 5 poems, totaling 75 points)

We congratulate the poets honored in this year's Readers' Choice Awards and offer our sincere and deepest gratitude to the readers who devoted their time, effort, and discernment to the nomination process. Whatever value these awards may have comes directly from this community of readers.