Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for 2000

Haiku Society of America

Merit Book Awards for 2000

Tom Clausen and Ebba Story, judges

From the books that were considered for the Merit Book Awards, we have selected the following winners and honorable mentions. We carefully read and discussed the many fine volumes and each of us had our own unique selection criteria for this end of the century harvest of haiku books.

Ebba looked for overall strength and evenness of the poetic work in combination with design and presentation (after all these are things—books—being evaluated and not just poems). She valued unity and consistency within each volume. Often less proved to be definitely more in terms of the quality of the book. A number of volumes could have been “better-than-good” had they been more precisely edited and weaker poems winnowed from over-long works. She also felt it important to ask the questions “What does this volume contribute to the ongoing body of haiku in the West? Does the book inspire and excite and does it speak clearly and finely for the genre—single author’s voices as well as collective works—and will it last and be meaningful to readers in the future? And, finally, does it establish a high level of excellence that writers can turn to for direction as a definitive standard for haiku literature?”

Tom spent time over the summer with each of the books and felt heartened by each entry for its triumph of creation and its being a poetic embodiment of each author. He also looked at the collections with an eye and ear to which were most satisfying to revisit and gain inspiration from. He found it a very difficult task to narrow and limit selections to the few we have out of the many entered. Like Ebba, he evaluated the books on the basis of a sense of unity and consistency and felt very honored to be able to commune with so many fine books in one truly special haiku summer!

Congratulations to all who published this year. And many, many thanks to all the writers who continue to make haiku a vital and deeply felt part of our lives.


First Place

Gary Hotham. Breathmarks: Haiku to Read in the Dark. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1999.

Second Place

Chula, Margaret & Rich Youmans. Shadow Lines: Linked Haibun. Lake Oswego, OR: Katsura Press, 1999.

Third Place

Brooks, Randy. School’s Out: Selected Haiku. Foster City, CA: Press Here, 1999.

Honorable Mentions

Lamb, Elizabeth Searle. Across the Windharp: Collected and New Haiku. Albuquerque, NM: La Alameda Press, 1999.

Purington, Carol. Family Farm: Haiku for a Place of Moons. Colrain, MA: Winfred Press, 1989.

Vince Tripi. The Day I Find, Poems from a Desert Hermitage. Novato, CA: 1999.

Williams, Paul O. Outside Robins Sing. Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 1999.

Special Category Honorable Mentions for Haiku Anthologies

Van den Heuvel, Cor, Editor. The Haiku Anthology, Expanded Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.

Kacian, Jim and Dee Evetts, Editors. A New Resonance: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 1999.

Special Category Honorable Mentions for Haibun Anthologies:

Welch, Michael Dylan, Cor van den Heuvel & Tom Lynch, Editors. Wedge of Light. Foster City, CA: Press Here, 1999.

Ion Codrescu. Oaspete strain / A Foreign Guest. Constanta, Romania: 1999.




The purpose of the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Awards is to recognize the best haiku and related books published in a given year in the English language. Every year sees a fresh crop of fine individual collections, anthologies, translations, critical studies and innovative forms.

In the past, the HSA Merit Book awards were partially supported by a memorial gift. Leroy Kanterman, cofounder of the Haiku Society of America, made a gift to support the first place award in memory of his wife Mildred Kanterman. See the archives of Merit Book Awards.

The Merit Book Awards competition is open to the public. Books must have been published in the previous year and must clearly contain a printed previous year copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). HSA will also consider collections that have only appeared in an e-book/digital book format. Two print copies of the digital book may be sent by the publisher. Books published by HSA officers are eligible for this award. Books published by the national HSA organization, however, are not eligible.

Winners by Year (with judges' comments):

2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1985 | 1983 | 1981 | 1978 | 1975 |

See the contest rules for entering the next Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards competition.