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
I check the number of syllables are correct in each haiku – if they’re 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.
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 Featured Haiku Writer slot.
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 Featured Haiku Writer for the current theme and has all 5 of their haiku are published on Pure Haiku.
Once the Featured Writer has been chosen, I then select the best haiku from both those on the shortlist and those who have been successful in round two.
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 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 Writer 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 necessarily mean 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.
All decisions are final and irreversible and I will not enter into any discussion regarding my decisions.
Updated March 2021