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THF Monthly Kukai — May 2020


Welcome to the THF Monthly Kukai.

This month’s theme:


Note: Due to popular demand, our kukai requirements have changed. Please see instructions below.

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: hope

First Prize
starry sky
her words
in future tense
     — Nikolay Grankin (21 points — 5; 2; 2)
Second Prize
cemetery walk —
so much faith
chiselled into stone
     — Andrew Shimield (18 points — 4; 3; 0)
Third Prize
another spring
the widower grows
a mustache
     – Bill Kenney (17 points — 5; 1; 0)
Honorable Mentions
  with the last few strands
    I braid hope
     — Vandana Parashar
in the tree’s scar a bud
     — Adjei Agyei-Baah
moving apart
we still hope to share
long silences
     — John Hawkhead
a mask imprint
on her tired face
spring breeze
     — Ernest Wit
how they rush
to greet me . . .
aquarium fish
     — Julie Bloss Kelsey
a duck preens darkness
from its feathers
     — Sandi Pray
maybe this time first trimester
     — Tia Haynes
my daughter’s first
origami crane
     — Sanela Pliško

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 All poems must be the original, unpublished work of the author. All submissions must be sent via The Haiku Foundation’s dedicated kukai email address using the subject line KUKAI SUBMISSION. 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). 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 email 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 poems have special formatting requirements you should note them as in the third example above.

Good luck, and have fun!


This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Hi all,
    I think I submitted a poem for the May Kukai challenge but am not sure it went through. How can I check?
    Many thanks!

  2. Thanks to all at THF for organising the kukai – it’s a nice way of connecting in this time of isolation. Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who enters – art is our way forward.


  3. I was wondering if there is a way to see the results of all the poems in the April kukai. I entered three poems and was curious if they received points. Also, if some of my favorites scored points.

  4. can’t seem to access the kukai email address; anyone else having trouble?

  5. Congratulations to the honored poets! All have created wonderful poems. I definitely will be honing a poem for submission this month.

    1. It says Kukai email address in red. Press it and it sets up an email template.

  6. Congratulations to all winners and Honorable mentions.
    Also, well done to everyone else who took part. For without you there is no contest.
    Lastly thank you to all at THF for hosting this Kukai.

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