A Haiku Evolution

When I first began writing haiku, in 2010, I discovered kukai contests, a wonderful no-fail way for a beginner to get their feet wet, and did a blog post on Kirsten Cliff’s Swimming in Lines of Haiku about them. Kukai are still one of my favorite ways to immerse myself in haiku.

For a long time though, that was my only connection to the greater haiku community. While I found an outlet for some of my haiku, I still didn’t know very many people in the haiku community. I  submitted to a handful of journals and contests, that first year, and had my first contest Honorable Mention, in World Haiku Review, and my first journal publication, in Riverwind 30, but I still felt like I was on the outside looking in. I wasn’t sure what journals and contests were looking for, and it didn’t feel very satisfying to get far more rejections than acceptances. And then I began participating in NaHaiWriMo, on Facebook.

Writing haiku daily since February 1st of last year, and receiving positive feedback, encouragement, and support, from like-minded others, has not only been rewarding and helped me improve my craft, but has really built a sense of community. Attending two haiku conferences and a haiku retreat this year enabled me to meet many of my Facebook friends “in real life”, an added treat. And all this gave me the confidence to once again try my hand at getting my haiku published, and entering contests. It’s been a good year!

Starting in January, I’ve had two 2nd place finishes in the Shiki Kukai, and two 1st place finishes in the Sketchbook Kukai. I’ve had haiku published in Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, Notes from the Gean, and A Hundred Gourds. And I placed well in a number of contests: an Honorable Mention in the Haiku North America 2011 Conference Kukai contest, a Sakura Award in the Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2011 , Third Prize in the International “Kusamakura” Haiku Competition, First Prize in the 2011 Porad Award, October 2011, an Honorable Mention in the 13th HIA Haiku Contest, 1st place in Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge: Haiku, 3rd Place, 2011 Thom Williams Memorial contest: The 7s, and 2nd place in the 2011 San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu, Tanka and Rengay, for my first tanka.

Yesterday I learned that I also received an Honorable Mention in the 15th Mainichi Haiku Contest: International Section for one of my haiku. All this has only whet my appetite, and I’m looking forward to lots more haiku, haibun, tanka, and rengay writing in 2012.

Haiku Registry Listing

The Haiku Foundation says that to request a listing in their Haiku Registry, you only need to be a poet who has “”published English-language haiku in an edited journal, either in print or online.” My first haiku publication (if you don’t count my early 5-7-5 attempts, and I don’t!) was in 2010, when a sequence of three Mother’s Day haiku I wrote appeared in a special section of the March/ April Sketchbook, followed later that year by my first non-kukai contest placement in World Haiku Review (August 2010), and publication in my first print journal in Riverwind 30 (October 2010).

But that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to feel like I “earned” my listing, and consequently set a personal goal for myself. To make sure it wasn’t just beginner’s luck, I decided that I would wait to apply to be listed until I was published twice in each of  three of my favorite journals: Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, and Notes from the Gean, and also placed well in at least two international contests.

“starting over” appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of Frogpond, and two haibun will appear in the Fall 2011 Frogpond; “muted sunlight” appeared in the June 2011 issue of The Heron’s Nest and “fine mist” in their September 2011 issue; “daydreaming” and “flickering stars”  both appeared in the June issue of Notes from the Gean; I received a Sakura award in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational in September of this year for “honor guard”, and in the same month, took third place in the International “Kusamakura” Haiku Competition for “morning mist”. My quest completed, and with twelve haiku contest or journal submissions currently pending, I finally felt ready to apply for my listing.

2010 October Kukai

My October haiku:

night sky —
my thumb
eclipsing the moon

1st Place- Shiki Kukai, July 2010
3rd Place- Shiki 8th Annual Poets’ Choice Kukai


kindling the flame–
one candle
lights another

2nd Place- Caribbean Kigo Kukai #18


my neighbors and I
swap gossip and leaves—
autumn wind

6th Place- September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Kukai


morning chill—
hickory smoke carried
on the autumn wind

9th Place- September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Kukai


autumn wind—
a maple leaf
falling up

10th Place- September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Kukai


first day of autumn
a maple leaf
falls soundlessly

Editor’s Choice- September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Thread


crimson maples
chinook salmon
find their way home

Editor’s Choice- September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Thread


Halloween night
an oak leaf skitters
across dry pavement

September/ October 2010 Sketchbook Thread


sudden downpour
for a moment
I lose my path

Riverwind 30, Fall 2010.