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THF Monthly Kukai — May 2023

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: egg

In April there were 170 submissions from twenty-seven countries across four continents.
One hundred two voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
the eggs in the fridge
     — Bakhtiyar Amini (64 points - 6; 4; 3; 3; 3)
At the simplest level this haiku says to me that divorce is distracting the writer from keeping track of mundane things, in this case the use-by dates on food purchases. At the same time much information is held back. We are not told whether this is divorce in the air –– a subject that is being contemplated or under discussion –– and thus a looming possibility, or conversely: the split has already taken place, and it is the aftermath the poet is struggling with. For me all this comes under the rubric of rich ambiguity. But something else has crossed my mind, though I find myself reluctant to declare it. Is it just possible there is a subtext here? For human eggs can of course be frozen, for use at a later date. Is the smallest part of our imagination being nudged in that direction? That is to say, the idea of the wife’s eggs never having been used, and the divorce effectively ending that possibility for ever. And behind this a sadness that they never had children together? I agree this is all very far-fetched. And yet.
Honorable Mentions
46 chromosomes
i will ever be
     — Charles Harper
I hesitated over whether to comment on this, with my initial response being along the lines: “Okay, that’s true. So what?”  But subsequently the poem refused to go away. It is one of those abstract or intellectually based haiku that sticks like a burr to some enquiring part of my mind. In what sense does the poet mean, “will ever be”? Is this a Stoic acceptance of the banal but wondrous reality? And then the idea: just one chromosome different out of those 46, and I would have lived my life as a woman instead of a man. What do I think about that?
so much
depends upon you
my last egg
     — Patsy Turner
candling the egg, first ultrasound
     — Christopher Seep

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 9 Comments

  1. If the number of winners and honorable mentions is determined by the number of votes (T. Borkowski) how could the following statistics be explained:
    THF Monthly Kukai
    08/2021 – 98 submissions; 60 voters: first, second, third prize and 4 honorable mentions
    04/2023 – 170 submissions; 102 voters: first prize and 3 honorable mentions
    Determining the structure and number of awards after the vote is an interference with its objectivity. This is no longer a kukai, but a contest with a judge’s decision.

  2. Don’t you usually mention that 2nd and 3rd place with their vote counts?

    I am so confused.

    1. Me too. This looks more like a judge’s decision than kukai results.

    2. I thought the same thing, Eavonka. That there wasn’t as much commentary as usual.

      As I write this, it comes to my mind that April was so crowded with haiku news that a short cut was taken. Still if true, a short statement might have sufficed.

      1. Perhaps there were no clear cut second or third places among the many haiku, too.

  3. Dear Dee,
    about frozen human eggs – there is no expiry date and they could theoretically be stored forever. There was a completely different really exciting haiku on this theme. But apparently for most, the breakfast is more important.
    By the way – strange results.
    Best regards,

    1. Ivan, are you referring to the ku beginning with “years later”? If so, thanks.

  4. Thank you very much for your double-take, Mr Evetts. Me, too. I was overtaken by the angst of evolution. I am not very good at the craft, but this one just emerged. Too much Dobzhansky, perhaps.

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