Roadrunner Haiku Journal
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February 2009  Issue IX:1

"El Alacran" by masako © 2009

The Scorpion Prize for Issue VIII:4


First Place:


poe, you will be pleased to know, is now in perfect health . . .

                                                          Tyler Pruett


Runners up: Clair McCotter, Dick Whyte, John Stevenson


First Place:

Tyler Pruett’s beautiful, funny, and almost perfect sentence “poe, you will be pleased to know, is now in perfect health . . . ” is made even more perfect with the knowledge that it is not only a sentence but a poem! If the news is good for Poe then it is also good for us. In my own poems I know it takes me line after line to get across a single idea. Here, Mr. Pruett has created a deeply philosophical moment with the complex flavors of dark comedy and suggestive spirituality in a single moment. His haiku is something that would be wonderful to find spray painted on a wall as you walk to work or received in the mail on the back of an old postcard. It makes me laugh and it makes me pause, mortality all around me, but in Pruett’s poem it is both so casual and celebrated one does not shrink from the idea of Poe’s death or our own. I should also mention the formal quality Mr. Pruett uses in his haiku. In place of the standard three line poem he has utilized the sentence which is perhaps the most beautifully wrapped present we have as animals that read and write. I am moved by the very human heart and brain that thought of Poe, death, and then wrote this lovely poem.


Runners up:

There were three other poets that moved me while reading this issue of Roadrunner. John Stevenson’s poem “lovers i whisper to the dictaphone” reminded me of a figure like Beckett’s Krapp, alone in his office but instead of the diatribe we get, in Mr. Stevenson’s haiku, this simple heart breaking moment. Dick Whyte’s poem “atoms/made of/concrete” does to the brain what a well built bridge does to two very different neighborhoods: connects them and creates value out of each other. And finally, Clare McCotter’s tiny drama “at the burial—/a wasp reminds me/of last night’s dream” is a poem of so much action in such small parameters it is like a window forced by it’s own form to be an unchangeable size but with all the world happening within it.


-Matthew Dickman

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