First annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Haiku ContestIn a couple of weeks, the Haiku International Association will announce the winners of its 2014 Haiku contest, so we’ve decided to begin our very own annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST! Don’t miss out on this historic literary competition in the making. All you have to do is write a mere three lines of poetry!

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, I point you to my review of Cthulhu Haiku and Other Mythos Madness which contains a wonderful assortment of Lovecraftian haiku. As Cthulhu Haiku​ makes clear, horror offers much opportunity for haiku, humorous or not. Here’s one great example from the collection, but see my review for more examples:

dread Cthulhu sleeps
while madhouses round the world
resound with his dreams

–Lester Smith

You may write as many haiku as you like. The author of our favorite poem wins a book from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don’t choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we’ve got a couple more giveaways going on, too.


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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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14 comments

  1. Brad Hawley /

    To start things off, I offer two haiku I wrote while preparing this column:

    steampunk, dieselpunk,
    cyberpunk; to boldly go
    where no subgenre has gone before

    star-crossed SF lovers —
    he likes it hard;
    she likes it soft

  2. Sandy Ferber /

    P.K. Dick’s “Lies Inc.,”
    A real cerebrum twister,
    Excedrin needed.

  3. Brad Hawley /

    PKD. I should’ve guessed, Sandy!

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

  5. Meredith McCollum /

    Perched on sandy bluffs
    A Fremen thumper pulsates
    Shai-hulud responds

  6. the White Walkers sleep
    a direwolf howls at the moon
    winter is coming

  7. Brad Hawley /

    Martian landscape drenched;
    puddle-submerged CHRONICLES.
    Late Fees: Past Due Book.

  8. There is such a thing
    (you can fly through space and time)
    as a tesseract

  9. Our new baby born
    Just imagine our surprise
    When we saw the horns

  10. Even androids dream
    Of things Laws cannot bind
    I Robot You Jane

    Shadow is born from light
    The wind whispers a true name
    A hawk wings high

  11. Alex Goetling /

    Tower of glass
    the rainbow reflects:
    dark remains the heart

  12. One turned into three
    The dark lord wields CGI
    Fly, you fools!

  13. a meddlesome god
    sows nightmares in childhood dreams
    meesa jar jar binks

  14. Ben, 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!

    Thanks to all of you for such good poems.

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  1. Suvudu Likes: 11/22/14 | Del Rey and Spectra - Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, Graphic Novels, and More - […] Contest: Write Holiday Haiku, posted by Fantasy Literature […]

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