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THF Monthly Kukai — August 2021

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.

Results of Last Month’s THF Kukai

theme: delight

In July there were 127 submissions from twenty-four countries spread across five continents.
Eighty voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
ice lollies
all the children
comparing tongues
     — Firdaus Parvez (67 points - 4; 8; 1; 4; 4)
This is predictably a popular haiku, given its subject matter and the spectacle it describes. It gains points for me for its exuberance of tone, and the way in which “comparing tongues” says it all, thus side-stepping any need for the word “color”. I realize that I am going out on a limb here, but I also enjoy the possibility that these kids come from different ethnic backgrounds, and might also be comparing their various languages.
Second Prize
rippled moon
an otter slips into
my heart
     — John Hawkhead (39 points - 5; 2; 1; 1; 1)
This is very fine. In the first two lines we are offered an evocative picture –– more of a glimpse than a picture –– with the words “rippled moon” being a wonderfully concise way of expressing moonlight on water. And then the last line provides an unexpected turn that makes the poem personal. I would myself never have dared to use the words “my heart” in a haiku, for fear of sounding mawkish. But Hawkhead has pulled it off.
Third Prize
all my glasses
half full
     — Wiesław Karliński (38 points - 4; 2; 1; 2; 3)
I think this is saying that after overcoming an illness, or surgery, or depression (any of these could fit) things are still far from perfect –– and perhaps they never will be. Does the poet also express that he is grateful nonetheless? That is how I read it. And the very fact that I hesitate slightly over this makes the poem subtler, and more worthwhile lingering over.

Honorable Mentions
mango juice drips
from my elbow
     — Gavin Austin
I love the all-out messiness and abandon of this. High summer, one’s favorite fruit, go for it. It seems that the poet has gotten hold of a lot of them, and I am jealous.
on my window
a firefly
     — Jharna Sanyal
a strawberry moon
in my arms
     — Lakshmi Iyer
saxophone busker
an old woman mimes
the drums
     — Tom Bierovic

Remarks are by Dee Evetts, THF Monthly Kukai Commentator. He is an internationally known haiku poet and author of “The Conscious Eye” series on contemporary themes in Frogpond in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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!


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