Posted by: Jack Henry | April 18, 2023

Editor’s Corner: Haiku Winners

Good morning!

Today is the day I announce the random winners of the haiku contest: Ben Ritter and Diana Fisher! Congratulations to the two of you. A book of your choice will be on its way to you soon. [Haiku Baby is on its way to Ben.

Ben, along with his submission, sent me an article about haiku called, “NaHaiWriMo – Why ‘No 5-7-5’?” It may seem contradictory to the haiku that most of you have written, but here is a brief excerpt explaining the haiku that we do versus the original haikuers—the Japanese.

You may have thought that haiku was supposed to be 5-7-5, so what’s up with the logo for National Haiku Writing Month—NaHaiWriMo?

Is haiku 5-7-5 or not? Well, yes and no. In Japanese, yes, haiku is indeed traditionally 5-7-5. But 5-7-5 what? In English and other languages, haiku has mistakenly been taught as having 5-7-5 syllables, but that’s not really accurate. You probably aren’t in the mood for a linguistics lecture that explains all the reasons why, but Japanese haiku counts sounds, not strictly syllables (the linguistic term is mora—Japanese is a moraic language, not a syllabic one).

For example, the word “haiku” itself counts as two syllables in English (hi-ku), but three sounds in Japanese (ha-i-ku). This isn’t how “haiku” is said in Japanese, but it is how its sounds are counted. Similarly, consider “Tokyo.” How many syllables? Most Westerners, thinking that Japan’s capital city is pronounced as “toe-key-oh,” will say three syllables, but that’s incorrect. It’s actually pronounced as “toe-kyo.” So two syllables, right? Actually, no. Rather, it counts as “toe-oh-kyo-oh”—four syllables. Or rather, sounds.

Feel free to read more at the link above, but for now, that is brief explanation of Japanese haiku, and an introduction to Ben’s winning haiku, written the night before his wedding:


on the third day

of a juice fast

Ben Ritter

And now for Diana Fisher’s haiku, more traditional English-speaking haiku.


Fun in the sun

Cool waves running through my toes

Shark is at my feet


Cat on my desktop

What I do will aggravate

Step on the keyboard


Birds in the treetops

Buds on trees flowers grow up

Bunny rabbits jump


Fate is to create

But my mind is full of paste

Life is just too hard


Get ready for school

Books are heavy, my brain’s full

Let’s go to the pool


Pears can be so sweet

watermelon is a treat

Sour is the lemon

Thank you all for submitting your haiku! I will share the other submissions with you in the following Editor’s Corners.

Note: There were some submissions that were PG-13 that I am not publishing because of their political or religious content. It’s usually safer to avoid those subjects at work since they can be divisive.

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