Before addressing the Valentine Awards, I want to thank you all for so generously supporting The
Heron’s Nest. You have responded enthusiastically to all of our efforts to provide you with the
best possible journal of haiku. I can’t tell you how many absolutely wonderful letters we’ve received.
A lot! You’ve uplifted us, given us energy and confidence, and helped us to improve. You’ve subscribed
to the printed edition of The Heron’s Nest, made donations to help us defray costs, and purchased
gift subscriptions. Above all, you have submitted many of your finest insightful haiku. Thank you! 2004
was a whirlwind year for The Heron’s Nest. With our readership rapidly growing and the number
of contributors steadily growing as well, we have been obliged to make changes. We are now a quarterly,
on-line journal available also in an annual hard-copy edition. I’m happy to report that the transition
has been going smoothly. We are delighted, no, amazed and profoundly grateful for your support during
this time of transformation.
Now to the Valentine wards! A record number of people participated in the voting this time around. We
are impressed that so many of you found time to revisit and select your favorite poems, especially during
the busy month of December.
There are three prime purposes for the annual awards issue. First and foremost, we wish to honor poets
who have gifted Heron’s Nest readers with exceptionally powerful work. Second, it provides an
opportunity for our readers to help shape the evolution of haiku beyond their individual publishing
efforts. Haiku voted to be favorites by peers serve as examples to help guide poets and editors alike.
The third purpose has to do with the process of voting. Many of you commented that the careful reviewing
of a given volume of The Heron’s Nest (with an intention to select favorite haiku) inevitably
results in valuable insights to the craft. Clarity is acquired concerning what is and what is not
important. Also, there’s a special pleasure in reviewing the past year’s poems. Someone said that it’s
like revisiting old friends.
During 2004, we received in excess of 12,000 poems. We chose 593 of them to publish in 11 regular issues.
They were written by 173 poets living in 23 countries. One in every four poets was new to The Heron’s Nest
A few months ago, we Nest editors decided to add a new twist to the annual awards. Beginning with this
year’s issue, the poet whose haiku is elected “Poem of The Year” will be invited to write about their
award-winning haiku. Lenard D. Moore is the first poet we asked to do this. He is also the first poet in Nest
history to sweep all three award categories. Lenard graciously accepted our invitation to pen something
(if he wished) about his winning poem, written in the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy. Ferris Gilli expresses perfectly what we feel in response to what Lenard
wrote: “This essay demonstrates the power of a man’s faith, and his understanding and acceptance of the
place in the universe each of us is allotted.”
A number of you sent comments along with your votes. Some concern the process of voting, others are
responses to poems chosen, and some of you commented on both. “Voters’ Notes” was a well-received feature
in the awards issue last year so we’re presenting it again, this time in two parts. Comments about
particular poems are part of the “Special Mentions” section and are included only if the poems commented
on rank high among your favorites. Notes about the voting process is now called “Readers’ Comments about
Voting.” When at the end of this year it comes time to vote for poems from Volume VII, we’ll encourage
you to send comments with your votes so that we can expand these two valuable sections.
Nest editors work very closely as a team, striving to choose work that will further both haiku
and haiku poets. We value the contributions of everyone who has appeared in The Heron’s Nest and
encourage those who are seeking acceptance to continue honing their craft. Those of you whose work is
presented in this Valentine Awards issue have achieved something extra special. It is a pleasure to