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All haiku must be in English and must meet the criteria for the Contemporary category, as described in Examples of Contemporary Haiku in English below.  All poems must be the original, unpublished work of the submitter.

Examples of Contemporary Haiku in English

The most common literary adaptation in English of haiku looks something like this: one to four lines, no strict syllable count but brief, and often with a long/short or short/long asymmetry. These poems too utilize a caesura. Images need not be taken from nature, though they may be and often are. Seasonality is optional, though often featured. Here’s an example:

      in the woodpile
      the broken ax handle


The poet, Michael Facherty of Ireland, chooses two lines, with the first line establishing the context and suggesting the season. Again the diction is image-based and straightforward, without words that indicate judgment, or that pad out the syllable count, or that tell the reader what to think. The image is vivid, and the conclusion given an ironic twist (though irony is only one of dozens of poetic strategies that contemporary haiku employ).

Here are a few others. After you’ve studied them and have come to understand how they work and why, you will also understand what we’ll be looking for in the contemporary category of the HaikuNow! contest.

      Moon's brightness I wonder where they're bombing
      —Taneda Santoka (Japan, translated by Hiroaki Sato)


      fallen leaves
      the abbot sweeps
      around them
      —John Brandi (USA)


      losing its name
      a river
      enters the sea
      —John Sandbach (USA)
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