TLP Haiku Chapbook Winners

2014 TLP Haiku Chapbook Competition Winner

The Deep End of the Sky
By Chad Lee Robinson

The winner of the fourth Turtle Light Press Haiku Chapbook Competition is Chad Lee Robinson’s The Deep End of the Sky. The poems take us deep into the heartland of the country and of ourselves. We immediately enter that “deep end of the sky” on the prairie in the stunning first two poems:

at
the
deep
end
of
the
sky
prairie

meadowlark—
all you’ll ever need to know
about sunrise

How wonderful that we fuse the image of the deep end of the sky (we think of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of the plains in eastern New Mexico) with the singular and pulsing song of the meadowlark which is, “all we ever need to know about sunrise.”

This chapbook collection moves through sections and seasons in a seamless flow. The haiku themselves link, almost renga-like, and contain clear-water images, merging human activities and nature. We see, hear, and feel the farm landscape and its connection to the larger community of Earth and the cosmos.

Every haiku contributes to the whole, yet is not a soloist. The entire orchestra resonates, one poem with the other, like strings of a harp. . .Read more about the 2014 winner and haiku chapbook contest results. The judge was Penny Harter; publication is expected in spring/summer 2015.

Order Chad Lee Robinson’s The Deep End of the Sky

2012 TLP Haiku Chapbook Competition Winner

The Window That Closes
By Graham High

After a very close competition, the winner of the third Turtle Light Press biennial haiku chapbook competition is Graham High’s The Window That Closes, a threnody for his mother that movingly follows her illness and death over the course of a year. It opens with a poem that demonstrates High’s deft use of language and sets the scene of the ensuing drama:

high hospital bed
my mother and I must cross
the rift of waiting

For us, High’s book demonstrates a complexity of language, a variety of syntactical structures and a keen sense of pacing. But most importantly, despite the sad inevitability of her death, the poems manage to draw us into a pattern of reflection and memory through the close and moving study of details surrounding their lives in the hospital and at home. . . Read more about the 2012 winner and haiku chapbook contest results. The judges were Rick Black and Kwame Dawes.

Order Graham High’s The Window That Closes

2010 TLP Haiku Chapbook Competition Winner

All That Remains
By Catherine J.S. Lee

The winner of the second Turtle Light Press biennial haiku chapbook competition is Catherine J.S. Lee’s All That Remains. Almost every poem is exquisite in this collection about grappling with loss as the author tries to come to terms with the changing circumstances of her life. Lee has skillfully arranged the haiku in an emotional arc from the first poem to the last, taking us on an encounter with loved ones and places that she has cherished. Consider, for example, the following haiku:

hometown visit
no trespassing signs
where we used to play

fading sunset
mother calls me
by her sister’s name

She is a relative newcomer to the world of haiku, having begun two years ago, but she makes it look effortless. . . Read more about the 2010 winner and haiku chapbook contest results. The judges were Rick Black and Kwame Dawes.

Order Catherine J.S. Lee’s All That Remains

2008 TLP Haiku Chapbook Competition Winner

Sketches from the San Joaquin
By Michael McClintock

The winner of the first Turtle Light Press biennial haiku chapbook competition is Michael McClintock’s Sketches from the San Joaquin. This volume, rooted in the San Joaquin Valley of California, movingly captures in understated yet powerful language his family’s agricultural links to the land as well as the flow of seasons. McClintock reminds us that it is possible to combine the preoccupations of Western lyric form with those of traditional haiku to pleasing effect. One has the sense that he has found in the sparseness and precision of the meditative manner of haiku an opportunity to reflect on space and time – granting even the most intimate detail a simplicity that allows it to resonate with mood and meaning.

above the trees
a mountain has melted
into haze

all there is
between heaven and earth –-
towering clouds

One has the sense that McClintock has found in the sparseness and precision of the meditative manner of haiku an opportunity to reflect on space and time – granting even the most intimate detail a simplicity that allows it to resonate with mood and meaning. . . Read more about the 2008 winner and haiku chapbook contest results. The judges were Rick Black and Kwame Dawes.

Order Michael McClintock’s Sketches from the San Joaquin

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Favorites of the TLP Haiku Chapbook Competitions

Over the years, we have had entries from many of the top haiku poets around the world, including Ernest Berry, Steven Carter, Margaret Chula, Tom Clausen, Glenn Coats, Temple Cone, Robert Epstein, LeRoy Gorman and many, many others. Please click on the links below to discover our favorite haiku from all of our haiku chapbook contests.

One day we hope to publish a volume including all of these poets together so that they can keep each other and us company in a volume that we can take out on a chilly day, settle into a comfortable chair and daydream about familiar and unfamiliar places.

Favorite poems from the latest 2014 haiku chapbook competition is forthcoming.

Favorite Poems from the 2012 TLP Competition

Favorite Poems from the 2010 TLP Competition

Favorite Poems from the 2008 TLP Competition

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Guidelines for the most recent TLP haiku chapbook competition

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