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THF Monthly Kukai — May 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: juice

In April there were 153 submissions from twenty-seven countries across four continents.
Eighty-nine voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
wounded pine
the tears of the tree
scent the air
     — Bill Fay (51 points - 7; 3; 0; 1; 2)
Second Prize
summer heat
the juice vendor’s umbrella
a faded green
     — Neena Singh (47 points - 3; 4; 5; 0; 1)
Third Prize
funeral day
she fills his juice glass
as usual
     — Melissa Leaf Nelson (43 points - 3; 4; 2; 2; 2)
Honorable Mentions
her children think
they grow on trees . . .
juice boxes
     — Barrie Levine
a morning kiss
the taste of apple juice
on her lips
     — Angel Dyulgerov
orange blossoms
a bee nudges open
the scent of juice
     — Yvonne Cabalona
spilled cherry juice
marching ants parade
around the red sea
     — John Budan

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 4 Comments

  1. rain-drenched
    heer blushes beneath
    a marigold phulkari

    *heer-ranjha is a tragic lovers’ folk tale
    *phulkari is a traditional embroidered textile that is from Punjab and is used as an auspicious canopy/head scarf for weddings and all other auspicious occasions. It is bright/usually based gold/saffron/yellow with many colors of geometric patterns

  2. Thank you for the honorable mention. I happen to be standing under our orange tree, breathing in the scent of orange blossoms and listening to the heavy drone of very busy bees. I turned to look at the blossoms and there was my haiku. All the poems chosen for “juice” are wonderful! Thanks again.

  3. Love all of these…especially the juice boxes on trees…..congrats to winners!!

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