How I select haiku

15 October, 2021

Pure Haiku is currently OPEN to submissions of haiku on the theme of Ghostlight by Troi David Loy until midnight, Thursday, 31st October 2021.

The process of selection is simple and unbiased. I have learnt much over the years, and continue to learn, about writing haiku. This page is updated as and when I set new challenges for myself in composing haiku and may not reflect previously published haiku on this site.


At the end of the reading period I assign a number to each person who has submitted haiku.

I then cut and paste all haiku submissions into one document, assigning the correct number to each person’s submission – this means I can look at each haiku in an unbiased fashion.

Please note that if you send more than 5 haiku in one email, your submission is automatically rejected. And if you send your 5 haiku in separate emails, only the first email will be considered.

First Round

I check the number of syllables are correct in each haiku – if they’re not, they are rejected.

Second Round

This is the technical test.

Does each haiku make sense? Is the use of English good or have the words been put together in an unnatural way? Any haiku that does not make sense or is awkward to read, is discarded.

Does each haiku consist of 3 separate but complete lines? (The lines needs to be linked in some way). Haiku with lines that run into each other are excluded at this point.

How many words are there in each haiku that end in -ing? Any haiku with two or more words ending in -ing is rejected.

Third Round

This is the real test of theme, contrast and imagery.

Does each haiku reflect the current theme?

This is why I do so many readings before I get to this stage – to discover the haiku that are subtle in their use of the current theme.

Any haiku that does not speak about the current theme in some way is dismissed.

I then look for haiku that present a vivid image, have a contrast/juxtaposition and provide an ah-ha moment. Any haiku that don’t contain at least one of these things is set aside.

Short List

It’s at this point I see how many entries have 5 haiku that are left in the running. These are the ones that are short-listed for the Featured Haiku Writer slot. This short list is then sent to the artist who has provided the image for the theme and they then pick their favourite submission for the Featured Haiku Writer.

I then make the final selection from the rest of the short list and those haiku that have made it through to the end of Third Round.


Once I have determined which haiku will be published, I send out acceptance or rejection emails to everyone who has submitted work.

To ensure your haiku make it through to this final stage, please read how to and follow all the relevant links. It may also help if you read through last season’s haiku to see the kind of writing I enjoy and like to post on this site.

How to compose classical haiku

8 October, 2021

Pure Haiku is OPEN for submissions of classical haiku on the theme of Ghostlight by Troi David Loy until midnight on Thursday, 31st October 2021.

Here at Pure Haiku I only publish classical haiku in the English language which are constructed in the strict syllabic structure of 5-7-5.
First line = 5 syllables
Second line = 7 syllables
Third line = 5 syllables

Here is an example: –

The cool night frost melts
with the warm breath of bird song.
Winter dawn chorus.

© Elizabeth Leaper 2013

Line 1 the (1) cool (1) night (1) frost (1) melts (1) = 5 syllables
Line 2 with (1) the (1) warm (1) breath (1) of (1) bird (1) song (1) = 7 syllables
Line 3 Winter (2) dawn (1) chorus (2) = 5 syllables

Here some more examples of haiku that I like to publish on this site: –

Raindrop crystal ball
hangs on the curved petal’s rim
mirrors summers past.

© Jane Dougherty 2016

Teeth grow and hair sprouts
Muscles strengthen, Sinew twists
Man is wolf again.

© D.B. Mauldin 2015

supine astronaut
white rock forever preserved
moondust covers corpse

© Freya Pickard 2015

not a breath of wind
the world waits on tenterhooks
until the song ends

© F Franklin 2015

Please read About Page to find out why I only publish strict, classical haiku on this site.

Pure Haiku OPEN to submissions!

1 October, 2021

Pure Haiku is once again OPEN to submissions on the theme of Ghostlight.

The deadline is midnight (UK Time) on 31st October 2021.

Please use this image to inspire you to write a maximum of 5 traditional haiku!

Ghostlight Fractal © Troy David Loy 2021

Delve deep into Ghostlight by Troi David Loy. You can find out more about Troi at his YouTube Channel!

Take time to consider what this image means to you, what it brings to mind, what it makes you feel/remember/imagine. Show me different things about this fractal, things I would never think of. Use the image as the inspiration for your haiku – don’t let any of the haiku depend on the image!

If you would like to submit your haiku for publication on this site, please read Submission Email and the Submit Page, before sending a maximum of 5 haiku to: –

purehaiku (at) gmail (dot) com

with SUBMISSIONS, the THEME and your NAME in the subject line.

Please include the following in the body of the email: –

Your first name
Your last name
Your email address
Your haiku (all 5 in one email please) (they do not have to be titled)
The full address of your blog or website if you have one or the full address of one of your social media outlets (only one site per submission please)
The name you want to appear on the copyright
One sentence introducing yourself. Be quirky and interesting – you want people to find you, don’t you?!

Even if you have had haiku published on this site before, please still include all this information as I do not keep any details of previous submissions. By including all the required details it makes my life easier when scheduling haiku. Thank you.

Fern unravelled…

1 August, 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated during our journey through Unfurling! Thank you to all the haiku writers, to all of you readers and to those who liked and commented on the contributions. And thank you too, to Elisa Ang for creating such an inspiring painting for us!

Elisa Ang also chose the Featured Haiku Writer for this theme – Tina Stewart Brakebill. Elisa was presented with 8 collections of haiku and had the difficult choice of choosing just one!

Elisa says of the entire shortlist – “Everyone did wonderful work writing unique haiku!”

And the reasons she chose Tina’s haiku are – “No 16 is my absolute favorite. The writer expresses life’s journey—from the time it springs forth to the time it bids farewell in a profoundly creative way. The poems give room to the imagination, and I genuinely appreciate it.”

(The shortlist is given to the artist with a number for each writer, instead of the writers’ names.)

Pure Haiku will be taking a little break now but submissions will be open once more in October 2021!

Make sure you check out all the pages (at the top of screen) for hints and tips on how to get your haiku published here on Pure Haiku!

Enjoy the rest of the summer and I’ll “see” you all again in the autumn. Meantime, take a few minutes to enjoy Elisa’s Unfurling painting once more…

7 – 30 – Featured Haiku Writer

30 July, 2021
an echo repeats
revealing infinity
but still our time ends

© Tina Stewart Brakebill 2021

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and mentor.

This is the final haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer, selected by artist, Elisa Ang.

This haiku is part of our Unfurling series…

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