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THF Monthly Kukai — July 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: community

In June there were 134 submissions from twenty-six countries spread across five continents.

First Prize
yarn collective
the click of knitting needles
and tongues
     — Maxianne Berger (64 points - 7; 3; 3; 3; 2)
It has been observed that “a pun doth not a haiku make”. Fundamentally, this is a sound admonition. Yet it leaves room, I hope, for this kind of lighthearted wordplay from time to time. Certainly the poem is economical, and pithy. We get the picture very clearly, and the choice of the term “collective” is an astute one, giving a bit more stature where the word “group” or “circle” might have diminished the scene.
Second Prize
chorus of frogs —
multi-lingual haijin
gather round the pond
     — Baisali Chatterjee Dutt (47 points - 3; 5; 2; 1; 4)
Humor and gentle satire seem to be the flavor of the month. There may not exist a more light-hearted homage to Basho’s “old pond” than this. The poet has conveyed the convivial scene in a way that makes her point with irreverent accuracy. I have only ever attended one international haiku conference, and I must confess to feeling thoroughly skewered by this poem.

Honorable Mentions
a zoom full of seniors
coaching each other
how to unmute
     — Magdalene van der Kamp
the dreams
we all share
     — Laurie Greer
The single word “cicadas” is used to set the scene here, and it is has the power to evoke lingering summer days and evenings. The endless pulse of the insects’ calls can have an almost numbing effect on constructive thought, and for myself has often been a welcome inducement to musing and dreaming. But this haiku goes further than daydreams, for it hints at the doubts and hopes we hold in common with others. 
monks asleep
crickets recite
the sutras
     — Christopher Seep
preparing the heavens
for darkness
     — M. R. Defibaugh
I suspect that if I had encountered this haiku thirty years ago, I would have dismissed it as being over-fanciful –– while at the same time flagrantly personifying the birds. Today I am more likely to notice how the poet is seeking to express a mood, and a way of perceiving and experiencing something. Most of us would have no problem with a novelist using these same words, in the voice of one of her characters. A haiku is not a novel, you say? Granted.

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!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for creating this platform for haiku lovers. I like reading haiku and just challenging myself on my way. This is my first time to submit my haiku in this highly esteemed platform. H H

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