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 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.

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