The following are comments by Mike Dillon, judge of the 2010 Merit Book Awards for the Haiku Society of America. A book I edited, titled Seeing Stars, won the category of best anthology in these awards.
Seeing Stars, edited by Michael Dylan Welch. Bellevue, Washington: Haiku Northwest, 2009, 20 pages, hand-sewn paperback, 5.5 x 8.5 inches. No ISBN. Not available for purchase.
This category was a tough call—there were many worthy entries. Any Red Moon Anthology is the elephant in the room, and White Lies, the 2009 edition, is superb. But Seeing Stars by the Haiku Northwest group, produced from a retreat in Seabeck, Washington in October 2009, had enough break-throughs to be an upset winner. Publishing haiku incubated during a weekend retreat carries inherent dangers: Seeing Stars, however, which reflects the group’s “galactiku” theme, took chances and produced fresh surprises.
Full disclosure: I am listed on the Haiku Northwest roster. I attended one Haiku Northwest meeting several years ago but otherwise maintain what my dear wife terms my antisocial ways. I publish a group of community newspapers in Seattle. The first thing editors and writers are told is: We don’t logroll or do favors for people. I’ve carried that inviolate principle over into my haiku life and my role as judge, in this case. It was the work itself in Seeing Stars that carried the day for me.
your hands on my body
a sun goes dark
Lana Hechtman Ayers
one small spot