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THF Monthly Kukai — March 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: wheat

In February there were 165 submissions from thirty-two countries across five continents.
Ninety-nine voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
grandpa's voice
when the wheat was
taller than me
     — M. R. Defibaugh (78 points - 5; 8; 2; 6; 3)
Honorable Mentions
200 kg wheat —
the weight of feeding us
on father’s shoulder
     — Nitu Yumnam
autumn squall
a wave of gulls
in the combine's wake
     — Nick T
braided wheat
the sway
in her hips
     — Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Van Gogh's wheatfield
the thunderstorm
inside his head
     — Marjolein Rotsteeg
wind in the wheat
the rustle
of her wedding gown
     — Bill Fay
online dating
separating wheat
from chaff
     — Christopher Seep
shredded wheat
the summer hum
of combine harvesters
     — Tracy Davidson

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 5 Comments

  1. Personally, I am glad they don’t keep the list so that I have the possibility of submitting that haiku to other journals if it doesn’t place.

    On the other hand, I make a copy of the haiku I vote for so that I can see if any of my choices make the cut. It’s a way for me to judge my haiku sensibilities (and by extension, write better haiku). By the way, three of the five that I voted for appeared on the my list this month. Most months I get one or two, but some months I don’t get any of the haiku listed at all

  2. Oops! I submitted this in the wrong place. Please delete if possible. Excuse me please.

  3. It is an absolute honour to be listed amongst the honourable mentions. Truly delighted and grateful to everyone who voted.

    1. I agree that it would be wonderful if the full voting ballot page could remain active on your website after the winners are announced. I too wanted to go back and read all the wheat haiku another time. .

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