Thoughtful Thursday: Sixth Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestTime for our sixth 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:

A snowflake settled
On the tip of his long snout
Ice before the fire.

The engineer dreams
Of an AI breakthrough
As the AI dreams
Of breaking through

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

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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12 comments

  1. John Smith /

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

  2. Life on earth has changed
    Tides of aliens usurped
    Flowered world turned dust

  3. Barbara Carlson /

    Resting on Hubble
    Phoenix from Hell devours him ~
    Space candy!

    the first camellia
    precious fall declaration ~
    Chomp! Tasty gardener!

    Heal me, oh onyx
    yin-yang of the universe
    I need harmony

    +body meets —body
    collision danger ~ space dust
    Black holes suck up trash

  4. Michelle Pratt /

    alien spaceship
    red white and blue robbing earth
    of all her assets

    Aliens sucking
    flowers hue leaving a field
    of space green poppies

  5. Michelle Pratt /

    My rod unbending
    to the one that got away
    stinker wins today

  6. David Miller /

    Turning loose at last
    The last leaf of the last tree
    Mocked fertility

    Fall’s cool crisp clear nights
    Coax the magic from the falls
    The moon bow appears

    Singularity
    The entire planet absorbed
    The reaper’s receipt

    New planet’s axis
    3.17 degrees
    Summer all year round

  7. Susan Emans /

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

    Shadows paint a bridge
    Goats prance with echoing hooves
    The troll eats salad.

    Snow melts from mountains
    The long winter is over
    The yeti plants herbs.

  8. Susan Emans /

    I really like writing haikus…

    Moonlight paints a path,
    luring shimmer-winged fairies
    who dance a ballet.

    Leaves flutter downward,
    forming a golden blanket
    on shivering prey.

    Gleaming snaggle teeth
    shine red in the full moon’s light,
    snacking on berries.

  9. Magical castle
    A waxen, blue wizzard draft
    beyond the color

  10. You all outdid yourselves this year. There are some wonderful ones this year. The imagery is powerful.

    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, or T-shirt size, and a US address. Happy reading!

  11. Susan Emans, please re-send your email with your mailing address and book choice. Thanks!

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