Please read HOW TO and SUBMISSION EMAIL as well as this page before submitting your haiku.
The process of selection is 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 – basic requirements
If a writer has not provided me with a copyright name, their haiku won’t be considered. This is to ensure that I am not publishing other peoples’ haiku on this site without their permission.
Then I check the number of syllables are correct in each haiku – if they’re not, they are rejected.
Are the haiku written in the English language? If not, they are rejected.
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. This is because using -ing is an easy way of getting the syllable count right. Be inventive!
Second Round – delving into each haiku
This is the test of theme, contrast and imagery.
First of all I check that the title of the theme isn’t in any of the haiku. If any of the haiku use the theme title (either in the singular or plural) in the haiku title or within the body of the haiku, they are rejected. I like haiku that imply rather than state.
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 or is not inspired by the current theme in some way is dismissed.
I then look for haiku that present a vivid image, have a contrast/juxtaposition and/or provide an ah-ha moment. Any haiku that doesn’t contain at least one of these things is set aside.
Third Round – Short List for the Featured Haiku Writer
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 two Featured Haiku Writer slots.
If there are 2 or more on the shortlist, I ask the artist who has provided the image for the current theme to choose their favourite collection of haiku from those submitted to them on the shortlist. Whoever is chosen by the artist is the Artist’s Choice for the current theme. Once the artist has chosen their favourite submission, I will then choose my favourite haiku collection from those left on the submissions short-list; this is the Curator’s Choice. Both featured haiku writers will have all 5 of their haiku published here at Pure Haiku.
Please note that only those writers who are short-listed for the featured haiku writers slot have their poems read by the artist.
Once the Featured Writers have been chosen, I then select the best haiku from both those on the shortlist and those who have been successful in round two.
If you wish to be considered for the short-list for the featured writer’s slots, please send in 5 haiku on the current theme. Your 5 haiku need to be absolutely superb and meet all the requirements mentioned above, as well as having that ‘something about them’ that makes them stand out from the other submissions. To get an idea of what kind of haiku usually make the short-list, please read the featured haiku writers from the last 2-3 themes.
Once I have determined which haiku will be published, I send out acceptance, results or rejection emails to everyone who has submitted work.
If you receive a Rejection email it means your haiku didn’t meet the basic requirements for publication on Pure Haiku – see above.
If you receive a Results email it means at least one of your haiku got through to the Second Round but wasn’t chosen for some reason – usually it’s because I have so many haiku to choose from, I go for the best of the best and those that express an image using original language.
If you receive an Acceptance email it means I want to publish at least one of your haiku on Pure Haiku.
And if you receive an Acceptance email where I tell you your haiku were shortlisted for the Featured Haiku Writers slot but that it went to someone else, that means all 5 of your haiku were superb!
Please remember that just because I’ve accepted one or more of your haiku for publication on Pure Haiku at some point in the past, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get another haiku accepted in the future, as all decisions are made “blind”. Eg I don’t know whose haiku I’m reading whilst I’m going through the selection process.
Please note that I do not necessarily give feedback on WHY I chose your haiku. If I choose your haiku to publish on Pure Haiku, that means it really stood out to me and conjured a really strong image in my head, or simply struck a chord with me.
All decisions are final and irreversible and I will not enter into any discussion regarding my decisions.
Updated September 2022
This is quite informative. Thank you, Freya, for the elucidation.
glad you found it informative!
Like Ken Gosse above I was both disappointed and encouraged. The link was really helpful and I will be referring to it in future.
With so many competing now for just 35 posts, I’m afraid a good proportion of those who submitted their haiku are disappointed. But the level of submissions was the highest it has ever been!
I was just encouraged and discouraged (not in that order) on receiving a Results Email with a link to “How Haiku are Selected.” This may be the most complete, clear, and helpful submission guide I have read. I have submitted poetry to ninety-nine editors and have read guidelines from at least fifty others. This will be very helpful in writing new or editing past haiku for future submissions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this page, Ken, and I look forward to future submissions from you!