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THF Monthly Kukai — September 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: water

In August there were 171 submissions from twenty-seven countries across five continents.
Ninety-six voters casting ballots determined the following results.

First Prize
losing its voice
autumn creek
     — Ravi Kiran (46 points - 5; 2; 3; 1; 2)
I find this a challenging, and at the same time rewarding, haiku to parse. The word “autumn” suggests rain to me, but we should not exclude the possibility of unseasonable drought. I know of creeks –– mountain ones in particular –– that become noisier as they swell in volume. On the other hand some larger ones, passing through flatter terrain, can actually become quieter as their level rises above rocks and other obstacles. I am uncertain what the poet has in mind here, and it is possible that it has been left for the reader to decide. In that case I choose not to choose, but to enjoy both versions.
Second Prize
bluegrass festival
the thrum of rain
on fiddlehead fern
     — Terri L. French (42 points - 4; 2; 3; 1; 3)
Again here, there is ample room for interpretation. The first line establishes a music festival –– and then we get rain, with “thrum” conveying that it is heavy. This raises the possibility that the festival has been paused, or even cancelled. Yet if it is the gift of overnight rain, in that case all may be well. The third line confirms a rural and probably mountainous setting, with “fiddlehead” linking back neatly to the nature of the music.

Honorable Mentions
opening a window
to the sound of rain
     — Seretta Martin
I can recall having this experience on occasion, not necessarily at midnight but certainly after dark. If you are unaware that it has started to rain, then it can be a pleasing surprise –– both for the sound and the smell –– and the poet has captured that simply and effectively.
lonely evening
a wildflower
     — Manoj Sharma
coin fountain
out of pennies I toss in
my reflection
     — John Pappas

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 5 Comments

  1. Pleasantly surprised to find that my haiku has an Honorable Mention. I had wondered if it was too simple, but to me simplicity can be a special moment when nature causes me to take action like opening a window or grabbing my magenta umbrella to dash out into an early evening summer storm and watch a double ? ? Thank you for charming my day.

  2. What a beautiful collection of haiku. I love every one. How could water, the source of life, not also be the source of poetry? Thank you for starting off my day in the best of ways.

    1. I totally agree with you, dear poet, it is a beautiful collection of haiku. I enjoy them all for their uniqueness and spontaneity. Water has indeed been a source of inspiration for all poets, including Matsuo Bashō, the great Master of haiku.

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