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THF Monthly Kukai — April 2024

Welcome to the THF Monthly Kukai.

This month’s theme:

Note: Anonymity is an essential part of any kukai. Please respect this to offer the reader (and voter) the opportunity to choose only the poem.

The THF Kukai Overview

A kukai is a (usually quite casual) poetry contest. The administrator of the kukai (that’s us) assigns a theme for a given writing period and posts to Troutswirl (The Haiku Foundation blog) on the THF site, which is then redirected outward through our various media outlets. Poets write work to this theme during the allotted time and submit it to the administrator. The work submitted is gathered into an anonymous roster and posted to Troutswirl (The Haiku Foundation blog) for public viewing. At that time all participating poets and other interested readers may vote for their favorites. Votes are tallied and the results made public. The top winners will be acknowledged each month, and offered their choice of prizes from a list compiled by the Foundation. Please remember that everyone who votes is a winner — the process of choosing your personal favorites is not just fun, but also one of the best ways to improve your own haiku practice!

Results of Last Month’s THF Kukai

theme: orange

In March there were 196 submissions from thirty countries across five continents.
One hundred fourteen voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
she digs her nails
into the orange peel . . .
his excuses
     — Kimberly Kuchar (63 points - 6; 4; 5; 1; 0)
Second Prize
refugee camp —
an orange passes from
hand to hand
     — Dan C. Iulian (47 points - 2; 4; 4; 3; 3)
Third Prize
childhood summers
the extra tang
of stolen oranges       
     — Ravi Kiran (40 points - 3; 2; 1; 6; 2)
Honorable Mentions
the child monk
plays hopscotch
     — Neena Singh
in bloom
the curve of a tulip
traces her hips
     — Bill Fay
after the act
the prostitute
peels an orange
     — John Budan
a smaller
slice of orange
Gaza sunset
     — Archie Carlos
bitter orange —
I wonder how long
your anger will last
     — Lafcadio Orlovsky
temple moon —
scent of marigolds
in every prayer
     — Mona Bedi

Writing for The Haiku Foundation Monthly Kukai

On the first day of each month The Haiku Foundation will announce the kukai theme for that month. This theme should be the topic of your poem, and may be stated (by using the theme word or words) or implied. Form may be traditional (three-line, 5-7-5) or free (various numbers of lines and/or syllables). Season words (kigo) may or may not be used at the poet’s discretion. A poet may submit one poem per theme. All poems must be the original, unpublished work of the author. In order to maintain the spirit and fairness of the kukai, a poem that has appeared anywhere with its author’s name cannot be allowed for submission.

Please use the Kukai submission form below to enter your poem, and then press Submit to send your entry. No other submissions will be recognized or honored. Once a poem is submitted it cannot be revised. All poems must be signed (that is, no “anonymous” poems will be accepted, and the Submit button will not be available until both Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in). Poets will not receive acknowledgment of their submissions. Poems will be accepted from the announcement of the theme through midnight of the 15th of that month. All poets are eligible to participate. Administrators of the kukai are ineligible to submit poems. Your submission form to us should look something like this:

line one
followed by line two
and then line three


this poem is all in one line



[all lines right-justified]

If your poem has special formatting requirements you should note them as in the third example above.

Good luck, and have fun!


This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. If it looked like this:
    he digs his nails
    into the orange peel . . .
    her excuses

    How many points could we expect…?

    1. Good question, Ivan. Hopefully the same, but I don’t know. It might depend how it resonated with the individual who voted for it.

      1. Thanks, Nancy, but I don’t think the same. In this case, haiku with “her excuses” has no chance of success.

  2. Would it be possible to cite the identifying numbers of the winning haiku?

    1. SaraJane,
      Before I actually cast my votes, I write down the haiku I am voting for. Then I wait to see if my choices make it because I learn from them, what are considered good haiku by other poets. This month I did well, three (of five) haiku were chosen and show up on the site, and others were in my long list.

      There were so many good choices that it was difficult to cull the list down, and for once, I could have voted for more. Congrats to the winners and HM. All were amazing.

      It would be nice if everyone who submitted were required to vote as most kukai require as a matter of fairness. Just my thoughts…

  3. Thank you to the administrators and The Haiku Foundation for setting up/hosting the Kukai every month. It’s a lot of fun.

    Congratulations to all of the other winners and everyone who received an honorable mention! There were some amazing poems in March.

    I wanted to mention that I also love these poems that weren’t listed above:

    orange hat . . .
    sunshine follows her
    around the garden

    promises of peace
    peeling a blood orange
    with one hand

    1. Woo hoo! Congratulations, Kimberly, on winning 1st place for your excellent poem!

      I also loved ‘orange hat’, and I hope the poet sees this.

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