Thoughtful Thursday: Seventh Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestTime for our seventh 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:

Singularity
The entire planet absorbed
The reaper’s receipt.

YA alien.
Post-war amnesia victim.
The romance burns hot.

Fearful, the woods wait
A raven covers her eyes
An Elder God drifts.

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

Through all the seasons,
You will always be my love:
Lovingly seasoned.

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

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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35 comments

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

  2. Winged, I am
    And, powerful.
    With you, even in death.

  3. Skeletons juggle
    In the memory palace
    Of Harrow the Ninth.

  4. they open the hatch
    to microbes and machines
    welcome home

  5. he dies a martyr
    waits for reboot
    power failure

  6. the virgin calls
    the unicorn comes
    the knife flashes

  7. John Smith /

    Underground bunker.
    Ancient monster-god-demon.
    The hunger awakes.

  8. OMG! you guys are good. Encore!

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

  10. Knocked down,
    I rise above Rainbow Bridge,
    Fight Song exploding,
    Draining the life from you.

  11. Starry wintertime
    A less, cold alien floats
    before the solstice.

  12. drugs and VR…
    he becomes the machine
    becoming him, again

  13. Shields up,
    Wings spread,
    Bones that go bump in the night.

  14. You,
    Haunted her.
    Now, I hunt you.

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

    (Murderbot, paraphrased)

  16. Susan Emans /

    The cauldron is full,
    the salamander exhales,
    breakfast is ready.

  17. Susan Emans /

    Winter wind howling,
    the oak does not bend or break,
    the dryad sleeps on.

  18. Susan Emans /

    Golden sun rises,
    gossamer web gleams with dew,
    MurderBot runs by.

    *this one just makes me laugh*

  19. Sandy Ferber /

    Reality gone,
    Drugs, aliens and strangeness,
    Another Dick book.

  20. self service..
    the zombie eats
    its own brain

  21. Susan Emans /

    As lightning flickers,
    crows scream a discordant song
    the Crone finds shelter.

  22. Susan Emans /

    Fog swirls in moonlight
    frogs serenade their partners
    will o’ wisp dances.

  23. Susan Emans /

    The mantis watches
    through shimmering compound eyes,
    uploading data.

  24. These are all amazing! Usually we choose winners at random, but for this annual post I convene my excellent panel of judges, and I’ll be doing that today.

  25. This was really difficult. Our judges deliberated far into the night… okay, maybe not, but we’re in different time zones… so maybe we did.

    Susan Emans,if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

    And each of you can feel proud for providing a few minutes of joy and entertainment to the world this year. These were great!

    • Susan Emans /

      I did not expect this at all! There were so many incredible haikus submitted this year. You made my month. Thank you so much.

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