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Clement Hoyt Memorial Award (1971–1981)

The Clement Hoyt Memorial Award was one of the early and most distinguished of the designations of excellence awarded by Modern Haiku. Begun under the editorship of Kay Titus Mormino, the award was first granted in the summer 1971 issue and ran through the summer of 1981, that is, into the editorship of Robert Spiess. The prize was named in honor of Clement Hoyt and underwritten by his widow, Violet Hoyt. Initially the award brought a cash prize of $5.00 but from 1977 onward was replaced by a copy of the collection of Hoyt’s haikai.

A footnote to a haiku by Mary Dragonetti in Modern Haiku 2:3 (Summer 1971) announced, “This haiku is the first to win the Clement Hoyt Memorial Award, established by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The award carries a $5.00 prize.” The anonymous donor was Violet Hoyt, widow of the pioneering haiku and senryu poet and coeditor of American Haiku, who had died in June 1970.

The winning haiku were selected by the Modern Haiku editors from among those that they had accepted for an issue. Because Hoyt was so closely identified with the foundations of English-languagesenryu, one might have expected this award to be for a senryu, but this does not seem to have been a criterion. The award continued in each issue through 12.2. From issue 8:1 the $5.00 cash prize was replaced by a copy of Storm of Stars: The Collected Poems and Essays of Clement Hoyt.

Modern Haiku issueAwardeeHaiku
Modern Haiku 2:3 (Summer 1971) Mary Dragonetti
Raking —
     an old glove holding
          mold of a hand.
Modern Haiku 2:4 (Autumn 1971)Marion J. Richardson
Modern Haiku 3:1 (1972)Foster Jewell
 Campfire embers die—
and suddenly the heavens
     come alive with stars.
Modern Haiku 3:2 (1972)Dorothy Mitchell Bechhold
Old man on a bench
     day-dreaming of past conquests
          … with one eye open.
Modern Haiku 3:3 (1972)    David R. Priebe
     Hoeing the field …
Not even the caw of a crow
to shield me from the sun!
Modern Haiku 4:1 (Winter–Spring 1973)Helen Stiles Chenoweth
Freedom in its flight
     a lone seagull dips and soars
          against a rainbow —
Modern Haiku 4:2 (Summer 1973)David R. Priebe
Family reunion —
Many of the women-folk
     are pregnant again
Modern Haiku 4:3 (Fall 1973) Martin Shea
caught shoplifting—
crying, she beats her child
for wanting the toy
Modern Haiku 5:1 (Winter–Spring 1974)Ana Barton
Tenement children
from a sagging fire escape
blowing bubble worlds.
Modern Haiku 5:2 (Summer 1974)Lloyd Gold
lost and shrieking
     in Housewares, he rushes down
          the up escalator
Modern Haiku 5:3 (Fall 1974)Emily Romano
Moving day:
the budding geranium
left behind …
Modern Haiku 6:1 (1975) Virginia Musgrove
The old man lingers
beside the new mound of earth …
shade of his shadow.
Modern Haiku 6:2 (1975)Mary Castle
Child listens again
to his favorite story,
correcting details.
Modern Haiku 6:3 (1975)Tom Tico
These cobblestone steps
     rise under the three pines
          to a city view.
Modern Haiku 7:1 (Winter–Spring 1976)Brother Paul Joseph
In black kimono
How strange beside the koto
Caucasian fingers!
Modern Haiku 7:2 (Summer 1976) Robert Spiess
Hugo Messerschmidt, County Judge
(from the sequence “Branch River Shoals
[Fourth Series]”

As if it thundered!
— a voice pronouncing judgment
on one who blundered 

Modern Haiku 7:3 (Fall 1976) 

Evelyn Tooley Hunt
For the funeral
all the women mourners
have had their hair done.

Modern Haiku 7:4 (November 1976)

Marlene Wills
without a pause
the auctioneer rolls his toothpick
to the other side

Modern Haiku 8:1 (Winter–Spring 1977)

Nick Virgilio
alone on the dark road
    reaching the last milestone
        and beyond …

Modern Haiku 8:2 (Summer 1977) 

Foster Jewell
By lantern light
all the falling stars
this dripping night. 

Modern Haiku 8:3 (Autumn 1977)

Mabelle A. Lyon
Her casket
     slowly moving down the aisle
          she walked as a bride.

Modern Haiku 8:4 (November 1977)

Helen Rul Lawler
pool ripples:
bounding the old lady
even more.

Modern Haiku 9:1 (Winter–Spring 1978)

Doug Ingels
          Over the lodge door
branching toward the winter moon,
                    antlers  … 

Modern Haiku 9:2 (Summer 1978) 

Chuck Brickley
An old girlfriend —
fingering his prayer-beads
like crazy

Modern Haiku 9:3 (Fall 1978)

Bill Pauly
hoar frost
old man breathing
on the bud

Modern Haiku 10:1 (Winter–Spring 1979) 

Nancy Kay
The first winter wind:
     she moves into the bed hollow
          his body had worn

Modern Haiku 10:2 (Summer 1979) 

William L. Zacchi
while she talks
the fish turn
and turn

Modern Haiku 10:3 (Autumn 1979)

Peggy Willis Lyles
October twilight:
the scarecrow in the garden
drops its other glove

Modern Haiku 11:1 (Winter–Spring 1980) 

Mildred Williams Boggs

Autumn sun;
     the wasp’s shadow walks
          the bamboo blind

Modern Haiku 11:2 (Summer 1980) 

David Bushelle
Snow and mist
the strikers move about
one by one

Modern Haiku 11:3 (Autumn 1980)

Michael Dudley
bareback through snow
     into my legs
     the horse’s heat 

 Modern Haiku 12:1 (Winter–Spring 1981) 

Finley M. Taylor
only the wind in the flowers
the gravediggers

Modern Haiku 12:2 (Summer 1981) 

Ruth Yarrow
          low winter moon:
her cheek curves the shadow
          of the crib bar 

Sources / Further Reading

  • Hoyt, Clement. Storm of Stars: The Collected Poems and Essays of Clement Hoyt (1906–1970). Baton Rouge, La.: Green World, 1976. The book was published solely as a memorial and was distributed only as gifts and prize awards.
  • Trumbull, Charles. A History of Modern Haiku. Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2019.

Compiled by Charles Trumbull

Updated on September 4, 2023