I was very very happy to see that the Shiki Kukai results have a new, albeit temporary, home online, so they all can be read and enjoyed. I started participating in the Shiki Kukai in March of 2010, and have participated in every one since. I can’t say enough good about all of the online kukai I regularly participate in: Shiki, Sketchbook, and the Caribbean Kigo Kukai. They welcomed me with open arms, when I was a raw beginner, and because of the anonymous nature of kukai, I was put on an equal footing both with other beginners, as well as with those who have been writing haiku for many years. It has been an eye-opening experience. Through judging and casting my own votes every month, I have learned to have a more discerning eye, and see what makes a haiku resonate with me. And through receiving votes and comments, I in turn get valuable feedback on my own haiku efforts.
The first time I entered the Shiki Kukai, I was still fastidiously writing 5-7-5 haiku. I received no votes, either in the kigo category (“planting/sowing”) or in the free format section (“cookies”). But I refused to let that discourage me, and I persevered. The next month I received my first votes, and by June of that year, I took 5th place in the free format section with the following haiku:
fifth birthday party
the oak adds
I knew then, that I was on my way. A month later, I was overjoyed to learn that I took 1st place in the free format section, with:
eclipses the moon
This haiku also took 3rd place in the 2010 Shiki Poets’ Choice Awards. Which brings me around to this year. I had three haiku that qualified for this year’s Poets’ Choice Awards ballot: a first place finish, and two second place finishes. Although none of them placed in the top three for the year, they all garnered a respectable number of points, rounding out a second very gratifying year of kukai-ing:
with the furnace
two bees circling
the same flower
garden spider –
weaving the dew
into its web
Together my three haiku garnered 21 points, which coincidentally was the exact same number of points I received for my single haiku last year. I was also very pleased to see that first place in the kigo section this year went to Svetlana Marisova, a fitting tribute to a fine haiku poet, who was taken too soon. The complete 2011 Poets’ Choice Award results can be read here. And links to all the Shiki kukai monthly results, going way back to 2002, can be found here.