Voting for the January Haiku Contest Now Open!

I know you’ve been waiting for the poll to open on this haiku contest; thanks for your patience while I’ve been slogging through my day job’s week from hell.

There was a small conundrum with the entries for this contest, but first let me say how wonderful it was of everyone to submit so many poems!  The problem, though, is that a bunch of the entries, albeit thoughtful and interesting and fun, didn’t really conform to the format/style guidelines outlined in the contest rules.  That is, some of the entries weren’t 5-7-5 syllables.  So all those poems which didn’t fit the guidelines have been reserved and will be part of a new short poem contest in March, with the same prize as this contest.

But many of the entries fit the haiku form I outlined beautifully, and these viable haiku are presented here for you to enjoy and vote on!  Voting will be open for a week, until Wednesday night next week.  You can vote once a day, so it’s like approval voting — and so remember that voting for all of them is like voting for none of them.  Feel free to share this post with others, too, so lots of people can enjoy the haiku and vote.

And if yours is one of the entries listed below, please make sure to check back on this blog to find out who wins.  If it’s you, I’ll need your contact info so I can mail you your prize, a copy of the new anthology Strange New Words by Ari Marmell.


January Haiku Contest Entries


from veronicahaunanifitzhugh:


Do you resolve to
hold me when I pull away
and kiss still my tears?

from JoanneBest:

what I may intend
isn’t always in my reach
still I keep trying


from Greg:

My New Year’s resolve
to eat less, exercise more
lasted till Friday


from Sky Vani:

failed resolutions
with joint forces strive to goal
~ living happily


from mjlamarche (#1):

resolutions; clouds
wind-threshed, light-slivered. squeezed by
goals other than mine.


from Tshering Dolkar:

to let go of me
that you I like river flow
like flower just be


from laine:

My mind says “Achieve!”
or the year will be a waste.
My heart disagrees.


from Mjlamarche (#2):

each year’s promise drops
its seed on dry, frigid ground.
the harvest? pure joy.


from David Hutt:

resolutely hitchhiking:

packet of Gauloises,
she passes me some red wine.
won’t quit hitchhhiking.


from Maria:

Hope burgeoning, blooms
The new year clears life’s losses
Clouds bursting, Renewed


9 thoughts on “Voting for the January Haiku Contest Now Open!

  1. Angélique, the problem with ‘5-7-5’ is that seventeen syllables of English carry 30% more information than seventeen syllables of Japanese. This is why many respected haijin in English choose to work with shorter arrangements (myself I have used 4-6-5 and 3-5-3, for example). This concentrates the language wonderfully, and indeed produces ‘better’ haiku, haiku in English closer to its Japanese original. Indeed the same respectable haijin these days often break the syllable-count entirely, emphasising the other elements that make up haiku.

    With respect to the poets above, who have come up with a collection of very good short poems in 5-7-5, they are ‘poems in 5-7-5’ more than they are haiku. There are some clear, haiku-like elements within many of the poems, but if the criterion for the contest was ‘haiku’ and if the 5-7-5 structure was insisted upon then why not all the other elements?

    There are a couple of entries I would vote for like a shot as ‘poems’. Maybe I’m just being finicky, or maybe I’m in a cantankerous mood today. After all, you did say “You can take on as much of that form into your haiku as you like, but for the purposes of this contest, please use the three-line/seventeen-syllable format, as part of the challenge is to express your idea in that tight space.” (see, I bothered to check 🙂 ) Maybe I should have raised all this when you introduced the contest instead of whining about it now.

    Heck… I’ll go and click on someone’s entry. 🙂


    1. You make very good points, Marie, and I admit I was trying to simplify the syllable count for the sake of the challenge of that very familiar and recognizable tight space. (This came up sort of, in another form, in the comments of the original post, though I’m guessing you’ve seen that already.) It’s been my experience — however limited — that the 17-syllable form that is so commonly taught in the US is really accessible. On the one hand, it’s an oversimplification and essentially a children’s form; on the other hand, that makes the contest a lot more likely to get more people involved, even those who aren’t typically poets or really well-versed (maybe pun intended? 😉 ) in the intricacies of the form.

      And if you had brought these points up earlier, I would have welcomed them just the same. 🙂 Maybe I’ll stop having “haiku contests” (if my goal is to make it as wide and welcoming as possible to as large a range of readers as I can) and just start calling them “short form debriefs” or something, a label I started using at the end of last summer for a type of poem we were playing around with in our department meetings at work. (And I have been kicking around the idea of doing that already. It’s just that the word “haiku,” for better or worse, is so familiar to so many people and therefore, I think, inviting.)

      Glad you found some entries you like. Cheers! 🙂


      1. Interesting discussion!
        I think “haiku contest” is easily understood and accessible to a broader audience and attracts the untrained/ungifted/easily intimidated non-poet (myself included), if your goal is increased participation.
        You could keep to the 5-7-5 form and still call it haiku, just to keep the number of entries/nominees manageable, and provide guidance on how to vote in keeping with the haiku form. Somewhere I have an article that discusses the efficacy of haiku in conveying layers of images. That is, the reader of haiku perceives “three lines, two ideas, one event.” Seventeen syllables in English is still a challenging limit, and it would be in Japanese as well (at least for me, anyway).
        Based on that, my next vote will go to a different poem for completely different reasons than my last vote. That’s a good outcome, don’t you think?


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