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THF Monthly Kukai — July 2022

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: sunshine

In June there were 155 submissions from twenty-seven countries across five continents.
One hundred ten voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
canning day
mason jars filled
with sunshine
     — Sasha A. Palmer (55 points - 3; 6; 4; 2; 0)
This haiku certainly presents a pleasing picture. Does it do anything more than that? I think that it does, after a second reading –– that is, if I am willing to dwell with it a little longer. For me it brought up this “behind-thought”: that these jars of fruit (I am visualising peaches, or perhaps apricots) not only have the appearance of sunshine, but they could never have come into existence without it. We may find a satisfying circularity in this revelation.
Second Prize
back to school . . .
a refugee child’s eyes
fill with sunshine
     — Hifsa Ashraf (51 points - 6; 0; 4; 4; 1)
There is an inherent and powerful “hook” (albeit experienced more strongly by some readers than by others) in the very mention of a child or children in haiku. With this comes the hazard that it is almost too easy to engage the reader’s sympathetic response without really delivering anything notable or specific. This poem has the merit of reminding us how the majority of children, in any culture, thrive on companionship and mental stimulus, just as much –– if not so obviously –– as a secure home and caring family.
Third Prize
vine-ripe tomato
sinking my teeth
into sunshine
     — Sharon Martina (49 points - 6; 2; 2; 1; 3)
Most of what was said above about the first-place poem “canning day” applies equally here. But there is a major difference in the perspective of the two poets, as represented in these two pieces. The first is contemplative in mood, while here we have a much more active situation. The writer is actually consuming the fruit rather than just admiring it, and this brings human existence and survival into that same over-arching cycle.

Honorable Mentions
beehive . . .
all the buzz
around sunshine
     — sanjuktaa asopa
a whiff
of spring sunshine
dog’s fur
     — Peter Pache
For me this is the most engaging poem of the June crop. It causes me to respond not with, “Yes, that is so”, but rather with, “How interesting. Can that be so?” At the same time it has to be said that this is a very different kind of haiku, with a very different intent. (I cannot prevent the old expression “chalk and cheese” coming to mind.)
chrysanthemums —
a shaft of sunlight
on headstones
     — Daniela Misso
winter sunshine
the homeless man and I
share a smile
     — Margaret Mahony

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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