The Shiki Monthly Kukai
What is a Kukai?
A kukai is a peer reviewed poetry contest. A topic is assigned by the secretaries, and all poets submit their poems on that topic to the secretaries. An anonymous list is then distributed to all participating poets and they are invited to vote. Votes are returned to the secretaries who tally the votes and resend the poems to the participants, this time with names and points revealed.
How does THIS kukai work?
Our kukai has two divisions each month, called the "Kigo" and "Free Format" sections. In each section a topic word or phrase will be provided, and poems are to be composed using that topic word or phrase. In the "kigo" section, the word assigned will be a "kigo" -- a "season word" -- and is intended to be used in a way representing the "season" of that kigo. So, if the kigo was "cicada", each submitted poem must include the word "cicada" and should include a feeling for their time of year. Unless specifically stated, the plural form of the word is also allowed.
In the free format section, the assigned word will not necessarily be a "seasonal" word, and the poet is free to either place the topic word in the season of his choice, or to write a season-neutral poem that includes the topic word.
The "official lists" of the kukai are:
Click any of the above for more information on that list. Notifications from the kukai secretaries will also be posted at Haikuworld
Step One: Call for Submissions
On or about the first Monday of each month, a "Call for Submissions" will be posted to the official lists and website inviting poets to submit one poem in each of the two sections. The deadline for submissions will be noon Eastern Time on the second following Saturday. (So if Monday is the 1st, submissions are due on Saturday the 13th.)
Poems must be posted separately by email to:
Poets may submit ONE poem to either or both sections. The email should use one of the following subject lines:
kigo section should use ==> Subject: Kigo Kukai
free format should use ==> Subject: Free Format Kukai
The secretaries will not be responsible for poems which are sent to other addresses, or which use other subject lines. Please align your poem to the left margin. "Concrete" or "visual" haiku do not present well in an email format.
*PLEASE SIGN YOUR HAIKU*. In the final phase, the names of the authors are revealed. We will attribute the poem to the name you use to sign your poem. If no name is given following the poem, the submitter's email address will be used for attribution. Whether you sign the poem with your initials, your nickname, or your full name is up to you. We reserve the right to use full names whenever there are two or more similar names.
ANONYMITY will be granted on a requests only basis for poets whose poems receive less than three points in the voting. Requests for anonymity may follow your poem, or a "standing request for anonymity" may be submitted to
Poems will stand as is on receipt. Revisions WILL NOT be accepted once the submission is made; so, please, ensure what you submit is your final draft, that it is properly spelled and that it is sent out under the correct cover.
Previously published poems or poems submitted to mailing lists are *NOT* invited. Previously published or posted poems are INELIGIBLE for participation.
Eligibility to submit a poem to the monthly kukai is open to everyone, except the co-secretaries Robert and Jennie. Robert will collect poems, ensure submissions meet kukai criteria, assemble them for the participants to vote on, and keep the identity of authors anonymous until the voting is completed. Jennie will collect votes, ensure that voting participants are eligible, and send an acknowledgement of receipt and post the kukai results.
Step Two: Call for Votes
On or about the third Monday of the month, the Call for Votes will be posted by email to the participating poets and also to the official mailing lists and website. One "Call for Votes" will list all the kigo entries, numbered without the authors’ names, and the free format entries, also numbered and without the authors’ names.
Only poets who have submitted poems for the current month are eligible to participate in the voting.
Votes should be sent to:
The following subject lines should be used for their respective sections:
Subject: Kigo Kukai Votes
Subject: Free Format Kukai Votes
Each poet has SIX (6) points to be used IN EACH SECTION. You may distribute the points in increments of 1, 2, or 3. You may not cast more than 3 points for any single poem.
Poets should not vote for their own poems. Votes cast for one's own poem will be disregarded.
Please use the following format to submit your votes:
[E-MAIL SUBJECT LINE] Free format kukai votes
[E-MAIL MESSAGE EXAMPLE]
[E-MAIL SUBJECT LINE] Kigo kukai votes
[E-MAIL MESSAGE EXAMPLE]
***PLEASE*** when voting, list by the numerical order of the poems, not by personal preference. And please be sure to sign your votes. It makes it much easier to tally the votes. THANKS!
Step Three: Kukai Results!
Within one week of the close of voting, results will be posted to the official mailing lists and website.
Poems will be listed in order of the number of votes received. Each poem will be followed by the poets name (as given when submitted) and the number of three point, two point, and one point votes the poem received.
VOTE COUNT EXAMPLE: 027 = 11
No voter gave 3 points, 2 voters gave 2 points, 7 voters gave 1 point = for a total of 11 points
If a poem is followed by the words "(anonymous)", it indicates that the poet has submitted a "Request for Anonymity," asking us to post their haiku anonymously if it scored less than three points. Requests for anonymity should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full results of the most recent kukai will remain online until the following month's results are reported. At that time, poems receiving more than three votes will be moved to an appropriate section in the Kukai Archives section.
A Note Regarding Copyright
Each poem appearing in the Shiki Monthly Kukai is copyrighted by the attributed poet. Haikuworld.org makes no claim to the poem for copyright purposes. The poem appears at the courtesy of the author. Poets grant haikuworld the right to post indefinitely in the Kukai archives any poem earning at least three votes in the kukai.