How haiku are selected

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.

Preparation

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. Once I have chosen the feature, I then determine which other haiku I will post and in what order.

If there are still too many haiku, I whittle the entries down further by eliminating ones that are very similar.

I read and re-read until I have 28 haiku that I love, plus 5 haiku written by the Featured Haiku Writer!

Decision

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.

Updated September 2019

5 Responses to How haiku are selected

  1. Jules says:

    I copy and printed the guide. Thanks.

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