Third Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestTime for our third 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:

The android sneezes —
an unexpected surprise.
“I have allergies?”

Sleeping forest waits;
Snowflakes dust evergreen boughs;
The elm walks away.

This forgotten land
Was this how Eden ended?
We advance to steel.

Wherever I go
Worlds of metal or red soil
I long to come home.

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.


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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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38 comments

  1. Melanie Goldmund /

    Well, this just jumped into my head out of nowhere:

    Blood drips from the trees
    But not because I’ve cut them
    Because they’ve cut me

  2. Red clay and sweet oil,
    My earth, my magic, my home,
    My path to the stars.

  3. sandy ferber /

    Tryptophan O.D.
    Gastrointestinal bloat.
    Thanksgiving again….

  4. Into the darkness
    Good stories are told and heard
    And away we go

    Usually I don’t do these because I stink at them but at least I came up with something this time!

  5. M. Robinson /

    Less than your best, I confess:
    I’m obsessed with this soul.
    Consumed whole, I’m made whole, again.

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

  7. Sphere rotates, revolves.
    Nights lengthen. Leaves fall from trees,
    Screaming all the way.

  8. The gardener finally gone still
    The seeds long sprung will not return
    No metal weeps for humanity’s passing

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

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

  9. Blackened limbs wasting,
    Water ceasing, stones settling:
    Our final season.

  10. My love waits for me
    With fragrant jasmine blossoms.
    Careful with those fangs!

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

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

  13. Who are these strangers,
    Renting our rooms, watching us!
    And what’s this “vintage”?

    (Changing my address to see if my gravatar kicks in.)

    [Editor’s note: We took the liberty of editing your earlier posts to include the gravatar-evoking email address.]

  14. Order and Chaos;
    The Balance Between Them–
    Cares Not the Fallen Leaf.

  15. Elric’s Grand Sword Fights;
    Ripples Across Multiverse.
    . . . (i’ve lost a button)

  16. The Elder Gods Dream;
    Chains Rattle Deep In Arkham.
    A Boy Learns to Pray.

  17. Our interference
    Disrupts the spinning seasons
    Wakes the sleeping one.

  18. This is my tribute to Virgil’s Aeneid and to the dwarf planet Pluto who has been in the news this week. Scientists have discovered that Pluto has tilted more on its axis. The theories involve a subterranean ocean that is being affected by Pluto’s moon, Charon…. (Charon! Subterranean Ocean!)… My first line comes from the Aeneid.

    There Charon stands, who
    pulls at Pluto’s icy heart.
    But she turns away.

  19. I wrote this one years ago, in tribute to Babylon 5:

    Londo Mollari
    is not a Minbari.
    He’s a Centauri!

  20. Stony autumn path
    Myrtle and aster woven
    Black hair and leaves

  21. Bats, castles, and blood
    I LIKE Translyvania!
    Until sun comes up… :(

  22. E.J. Jones /

    I’m a romantic,
    But Tolkien’s women are scarce.
    Guess I’ll ship fellows.

  23. Meditating minds
    Explode into the future
    Dragons flying high

  24. Faeries flight so true
    Wings flitter, sing through the night
    Beautiful journey

  25. David JB /

    The Call of Cthulhu
    Brings madness across our land
    Winter is coming

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

  27. David JB /

    Fallen that we be
    Morningstar’s revenge burns like
    Hells Winter hailstones

  28. You guys, these are brilliant.

    Lily, 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!

  29. We had a bumper crop of great haiku this year! I loved it. I don’t know how you chose a winner, Marion.

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