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New to Haiku: What to Do After Your First Haiku Publication

So, you are new to haiku and have just placed your first haiku in a journal or other edited publication. Congratulations on your acceptance! But after the shine of birthing a new poem wears off, you may be wondering, now what? Here are some thoughts on what you might do next:

Celebrate your win! There’s nothing quite like your first haiku publication. Most haiku poets can tell you which poem they published first and the place where it appeared. Enjoy your moment!

great stone pyramidsbuilt by human hands alien docking bay -- Julie Bloss Kelsey
This is my first published haiku – it’s a scifaiku, or science fiction haiku. It appeared in Scifaikuest (online) in August 2009. (My thanks to Warren LeMay for putting an original photo in public domain on flickr so I could have fun editing it into this photo haiku.)

Support your journal. Post your support of the publication (and your work!) on social media. If your journal offers subscriptions, you might consider purchasing one.

Start a record of your published haiku. Be sure to denote the poem, in which journal it appeared, and the date it was published. Now that you have given first rights of publication to a journal for this poem, you can not submit this haiku to any other venues that require unpublished work. (Note: There are some exceptions to this. For example, sometimes a journal requests first rights to print material but not digital or vice versa — or maybe they want first North American serial rights and you have found a journal in Japan to reprint your work. Always read the fine print in the submission guidelines!)

Look into joining a free registry listing for poets:

  • Any poet with at least one haiku publication is eligible to join THF’s Haiku Registry. This registry functions as a calling card to the haiku community. Information on how to be listed can be found here. And if you already have a listing, please consider updating it! We’d love to see your newer work.
  • Once you have five published haiku (or poems that have placed in haiku contests), you are eligible for a listing in The Living Haiku Anthology. According to Dr. Richard Gilbert, “the role of the LHA is to gather together in one ‘arboretum’ works published by a wide range of editors and poets as haiku — beyond national, regional, linguistic, philosophical and theological distinctions: to become a living treasury for visitors — poets, cultural critics and lovers, alike . . .”
  • Personally speaking, one of my first goals as a haiku poet was to be listed in the registry at Poets & Writers. To obtain this listing as a poet, you need to have 12 “points.” There are various ways to qualify for this, including publishing one book of poetry, or publishing poems in six different journals recognized by P&W. Striving to get a listing here led to me becoming a bit of a journal-jumper with a scattershot approach to submissions, which I don’t necessarily recommend. I do think their listings look nifty, though, and I refer to mine when I need to write a poet bio.

Make note of the submission windows for the journal in which your poem appeared. As I noted above, I am terrible about this, but I do recommend submitting regularly to journals that look kindly on your work. If an editor has shown an interest in your haiku, chances are that they will like your future pieces as well.

Consider reprinting your work. Some journals, such as Failed Haiku and tinywords, will consider publishing previously published haiku and/or senryu. Other journals, including hedgerow: a journal of small poems and Poetry Pea, may not accept previously published poems, but will consider haiku that have appeared on social media. Please note that some publications place an embargo on your poem, in which you can only reprint that work after a set amount of time.

Some publications – Frameless Sky, for example – request that you always mention the place of first publication when you reprint poems that have appeared in their issues. Regardless of whether a journal requires a citation, however, it is courteous and good haiku practice to acknowledge prior publication whenever possible, as Lorin Ford noted in the comments below. Include the journal name, issue number, and date of publication in your citation when reprinting a previously published haiku.

Keep an eye on haiku anthologies and other unique / specific calls for submission. Often, the editor of a poetry anthology or special project has a specific topic in mind; this can lead to an openness to previously published pieces. My haiku have been reprinted in a number of anthologies, many of which I had to submit to in order for my work to be considered. This has included a collection of haiku by women, members’ anthologies, and aggregates of short science fiction poetry. I’ve also seen a few calls recently for haiku walkways – where haiku are printed on stones or plaques for public viewing – in which reprinted material would be welcomed.

Don’t forget to check out haiku and senryu contests. For example, the Annual H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest considers previously published senryu; you can read last year’s guidelines for this contest here. The Haiku Calendar Competition is an annual contest that will consider previously published haiku. And don’t forget to nominate two favorite published haiku in a given calendar year – one may be your own – to the annual THF Touchstone Award for Individual Poems.

Think about your future haiku book or chapbook. It may seem premature to ponder a collection after your first haiku publication, but it can be helpful to think about what sort of story you want to tell through your words. Often, poetry collections have a theme of time, place, and/or topic woven through them. What do you want to say?

Do you remember your first haiku publication? Do you have a great venue for reprinting previously published haiku? Tell us about it in the comments!

We’d love to hear from you in the comments. The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy for more information.

My thanks to Susan Burch for reminding me, once again, to keep track of my submissions, to Marcie Wessels for pointing out that tinywords takes reprints, and to John Kelsey for proofreading. Any remaining errors are mine, sadly.

[This post was updated on March 1, 2023 to address a comment posted by Lorin Ford.]

Julie Bloss Kelsey is the current Secretary of The Haiku Foundation. She started writing haiku in 2009, after discovering science fiction haiku (scifaiku). She lives in Maryland with her husband and kids. Julie's first print poetry collection, Grasping the Fading Light: A Journey Through PTSD, won the 2021 Women’s International Haiku Contest from Sable Books. Her ebook of poetry, The Call of Wildflowers, is available for free online through Moth Orchid Press (formerly Title IX Press). Her most recent collection, After Curfew, is available from Cuttlefish Books. Connect with her on Instagram @julieblosskelsey.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I rarely send out submissions to journals but I enjoy specific prompts like Haiku Dialogue. I’ve had fifteen published over the last four years. Are these considered published? And would you create Haiku Dialogue or Haiku Foundation?

    First one from 9.25.19 – based on a photo of late afternoon shadows from a tombstone:

    sun setting
    leaves long shadows
    on my memories

    Thanks – Alan

    1. Alan: Haiku Dialogue is selective, edited by an experienced editor, and published by the Haiku Foundation with free access online. Some poems appearing in it have been nominated for (and won) awards, and have been included in anthologies.

      Other journals would surely regard a poem appearing in it as having been published.

      I usually cite as: The Haiku Foundation Haiku Dialogue (date)

  2. Wow, I just realized that I am way behind on a lot of things I hadn’t even realized I should do! For instance, with 120 poems selected by editors, I am seriously belated in adding myself to THF Registry, The Living Haiku Anthology, and amazingly, perhaps even Poets & Writers. Whoa!

    Is there also a Living Senryu Anthology?

    Thank you so much, Julie for all this much needed information and the links to get cracking on these.

    1. Hi Eavonka,
      Thanks for your comment. Congrats on your publications! Yes, there is a Living Senryu Anthology. It does not appear that prior publication is a requirement for inclusion.

  3. All good advice, Julie.

    This caught my eye, though:
    ” Other publications – Frameless Sky, for example – request that you always mention the place of first publication in your reprints.”

    I would’ve thought it was common courtesy (and common practice) to state first publication details whenever and wherever a haiku (or any poem) is republished.

    If it’s one haiku the ‘mention’ generally looks somewhat like this (without the numerals):

    1. the poem 2. em dash 3. your /author’s name or pen-name 4.. comma 5. first published 6. dash 7. name of journal,(comma) issue number, (comma) date of relevant issue release.

    e.g.

    bushfire moon
    the calligraphy
    of charred trees

    — Lorin Ford, first published ‘Simply Haiku’ , Spring 2006, vol. 4 no. 1

    As well as showing normal courtesy to the publication & editor/s by including these details, it’s in your own interest: if the journal issue (print or e-journal) is archived or still available, you or any interested party can find proof of first publication.

    (If the republication is in a book, an e-book or an anthology, first publication details are usually given on the closing page/s.)

    release

    1. Hi Lorin,
      Thank you for this important insight. I’ve updated the post to reflect your comment. I agree that it is good practice to acknowledge prior publication whenever possible, and you definitely see this in more traditional haiku publications. I have noticed, though, that some less formal publications forego this step. I had hoped to illustrate that if your prior work appeared in Frameless Sky, for example, you are technically breaking the terms of your poem’s publication if you reprint your haiku somewhere and do not acknowledge them.

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