Thoughtful Thursday: Eighth Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestTime for our eighth annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST!  Anyone can do this!

As a reminder, here are the rules:

For haiku, the typical subject matter is nature, but if you decide to be traditional, you must give it a fantasy, science fiction, or horror twist. We expect to be told that the peaceful wind you describe is blowing across a landscape of an unfamiliar, distant planet. And if your poem is about a flower, we hope that elegant little touch of beauty is about to be trampled by an Orc. We welcome the sublime as well as the humorous, the pedestrian along with the momentous.

Though you may use the traditional three-line haiku following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, feel free to break that pattern. Many poets who write English haiku adhere to other expectations:

  1. Written in three lines, though sometimes in two or four lines
  2. Often offers a juxtaposition of two images or ideas
  3. Doesn’t rhyme
  4. Often uses a season-term or a word/phrase that implies a time of year
  5. Employs compressed, objective, descriptive language
  6. Often divided in two parts (the break usually comes at the end of the first line, the middle of the second line, or the end of the second line).

As inspiration, here are a few from previous years:

Dead, I await birth.
Mind unites with Creator.
Loving thoughts bring new life.

he gestures and chants
from the moth-eaten tome…
one line missing

When they realize
that I’m there to rescue them–
I don’t hate that part.

(Murderbot, paraphrased)

We fear the new plague.
Still, we come together at
Station Eleven.

The mantis watches
through shimmering compound eyes,
uploading data.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh/
Cthulhu R’lyeh/
Wgah’nagl fhtagn

You may write as many haiku as you like. We’ll choose one haiku author to win a book from our stacks or a FanLit t-shirt (depends on size availability). If you’re outside of the U.S.A., we’ll send a $5 Amazon gift card.


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BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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5 comments

  1. John Smith /

    Head in my closet,
    Zombies surge beneath L.A.,
    Spine-zapping is all.

  2. fingerprint shaped
    galaxy — evidence of God
    for His arrest

  3. Susan Emans /

    I don’t want to win anything; I just love haikus.

    Leaves rustle and chirp
    their surface a fuzzy mauve
    paved with tiny bones.

    Wind howls unceasing
    across the destroyed landscape
    only ghosts to hear.

    Forest creatures pause
    sleigh bells ring in frosty air
    jolly laughter soars.

    Crows watch, eyes intent,
    wolf eats, staining deep snow red
    Sasquatch hands crows scraps.

  4. We look to the stars
    feeling alone on this rock
    are they looking too…

  5. Clint Collins /

    “I love your blue eyes,”
    I said to her decayed face.
    She fed them to me.

    “Just one kiss,” she said.
    Too late I saw brown eyes go black.
    First bite hurts the most.

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