Presence #49 is currently running slightly behind schedule and is expected to be out some time in January 2014. Please allow until 28 February 2014 for receipt at overseas addresses. After that date, if you have not received your copy, please let us know. #49 will also contain the Haiku Presence Award 2013 results (not #50 as originally stated). Presence - 2011 awards

Haiku Presence Award 2011

1st Prize (£100)

a dusting of snow light on the apple skins
John Barlow (England, UK)

2nd Prizes (£25)

fast-moving storm—
   the flagman’s world
      SLOW and STOP
   Steven Carter (USA)

sundown a red dust settles behind the plough
Pamela Brown  (Wales, UK)

the geese still
on the far end of the wind
the silent marsh
John Barlow  (England, UK)


weekend over
rattle of a plastic soldier
in my guitar
André Surridge  (New Zealand)

the weight
of a portable radio
summer night
John Soules  (Canada)

yellow but cold—
      in the river-mist
Steven Carter  (USA)

slow day
the ant keeps returning
to stanza one
Lorin Ford (Australia)

Judges’ Report

1st prize: 

Here the word “light” works in many ways — it refers to the sparse quality of snow on the apples; shows how the snow highlights the fruit; suggests the brightness of snow itself.  The delicacy of the encounter is underlined by the word “skins”, the mere outer covering.  Elsewhere the phrase “a dusting of snow” might be considered a cliché whereas here “light on the apple skins” clearly defines and illuminates it, lifting the whole into a fine haiku that skilfully uses the one-line form. 
(Helen Robinson)

2nd prizes: 

“the geese still” — A haiku with visual and aural presence, deep ambiguity and two contrasting readings.  Does “still” mean “motionless”, with the wind blowing away from the observer towards the geese, distantly visible?  Or does “still” mean “yet”, with the wind blowing towards the observer, and the geese a hundred miles hence, with their migratory arrival anticipated? 
(Helen Robinson / Martin Lucas)

“fast-moving storm” — There are two sets of contrasts working here: the speed of the storm and the stationary flagman; the range of the storm across the sky and the limited focus of the man on the road and his two options, mundane but critical to the safety of others. These create a sense of being dwarfed by powerful natural forces, but also of a persistence which approaches the heroic. 
(Ian Storr)

“sundown” — Vivid, immediate and assured. The eye is drawn from the setting sun and red-streaked sky over a darkening horizon to the up-turned earth, bringing with it intimations of the ancient circling of death and new life. The resonance between the sun and the dust and the vowel rhyme of the first and last words give the haiku a poetic and technical cohesion that, rather than confining it, unfolds it into the realm of poetic spell. 
(Stuart Quine)

For the first time the Haiku Presence Award was judged collectively rather than by an individual.  438 entries were received, and these were given an initial sift to eliminate entries that were well wide of the haiku mark.  A rigorous second sift, looking for writing clearly of a publishable standard with strong appeal, reduced the contenders to a shortlist of 30 or so.  From this point on, the four final judges made their individual selections.  Unsurprisingly, opinion was far from unanimous, and the final outcome was arrived at by tallying votes, with the minor placings settled by some concluding discussion in committee.  The result does not, of course, equate to any judge’s individual opinion, although the winning haiku was the first choice of Helen Robinson, so we may say that it would have got the decision had Helen been this year’s sole judge.  The chosen poems more than maintain the standard of the Award over the years, with the prize-winning haiku amply demonstrating the qualities of “poetic spell”.  Congratulations are due to all successful writers, and thanks to all entrants for their support.

Judges:  Martin Lucas, Stuart Quine, Helen Robinson, Ian Storr

2010 Awards and Judge's comments are already available.

2009 Awards and Judge's comments are already available.

2008 Awards and Judge's comments are already available.