Thoughtful Thursday: Fourth Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestTime for our fourth 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 last year:

To tremble and rage
Is the nature of the sea
Caught between two moons

Tentacled spheroid
Sitting by the warp-drive doors
Please don’t drip acid

Our interference
Disrupts the spinning seasons
Wakes the sleeping one.

After the dangling bite
A super hero is born
But what did the spider gain?
More sarcasm in her silk?

You may write as many haiku as you like. We’ll choose one author to win a book from our stacks or a FanLit t-shirt (depends on size availability).


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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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15 comments

  1. Sandy Ferber /

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

  2. The poison red rose
    Grows in the desert sand pit
    Sucking up the earth

    It spits out acid
    Like water from the mountains
    Dripping down its stem

    The purple skyline
    Is peppered with these flowers
    And their deadly drops

  3. Chris Curtis /

    The cherry blossoms
    Have all died. As so must we
    After worlds collide.

  4. Winds blow all alone
    Final rest before fall springs
    Ending of summer

  5. Laura Zieja /

    Uncharted planet
    Crashed ship, eerie silence
    We are not alone

  6. Susan Emans /

    The first haiku was entered into a previous contest and is included solely for continuity’s sake.

    A wolf howls off-key;
    his pack pauses, horrified;
    the crow laughs out loud.

    Young wolf sings a song;
    a crow silently watches
    as each note rings true.

    Far in the distance,
    the pack celebrates success,
    soon it will be whole.

    A question murmured,
    the crow awaits an answer;
    The sasquatch chuckles.

  7. Susan Emans /

    Years advance; time flies.
    FanLit’s Haiku Contest’s here,
    and practice I must.

  8. Susan Emans, you win either a book from our stacks or a T-shirt. If you choose the T-shirt, please let me know what size. (Depends on size availability.)

    And may I put the “sasquatch chuckles haiku on FanLit’s Twitter feed?
    (If it’ll fit?)

    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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