St. Johns Cultural Council Haiku Contest

Ends on April 30, 2021 
What is a Haiku?

A haiku is a type of short form poetry originated in Japan.  These poems traditionally contain 17 total syllables in three lines. Line one is 5 syllables, line two is 7 syllables, and line three is 5 syllables.  However, this contest does not require that authors strictly follow the traditional form.  We do recommend that any poem submitted contain less than 20 syllables with a short / long / short arrangement.

Haiku are traditionally nature based and often follow a seasonal theme. They do not rhyme. Juxtaposition is an essential element of this form of poetry: haiku may closely connect two contrasting images or compare unexpected similarities.

Haiku also employ a “cutting word”, known as a kireji in Japanese. This is a word that provides a verbal punctuation mark separating the juxtaposed images. There is no English equivalent to a kireji so English writers sometimes use a dash or another form of punctuation to create a break or pause that gives readers a chance to reflect on the connection between the two parts.

Contest Information

A selection committee will choose three winners, one each in the following categories:

  • Students ages 12 and younger 
  • Students ages 13 to 17 
  • Adults ages 18 and older

Three winners will each receive a $100 prize, and the winning Haiku will be published on, in our electronic newsletter and in the AC PAPA literary journal.

We will select up to 6 honorable mentions (two in each category) that will also be published on our website and in our newsletter. Each honorable mention will receive a $25 gift certificate to a local book store.


  • Each applicant may submit up to four haiku.
  • Include all haiku in a single document. 
  • All haiku must be previously unpublished and original.
  • By submitting an application, you grant the St, Johns Cultural Council and Ancient City Poets non-exclusive electronic and print publication rights, including the right to publish on our website and in our newsletter and literary journal.  A parent or guardian must provide their consent to publish student poems.
  • Authors retain copyright and may republish following publication on


To apply, send an email to on or before 5 pm on April 30, 2021 and attach a single document containing the following information:


Postal Address

Email Address

Telephone Number

If you are applying in a Student category, you must include your date of birth and the school you attend.

Provide a brief statement explaining your writing background and how you became interested in writing poetry.

Up to four haiku.  Each haiku should have a title and follow the traditional haiku form.

Winners will be selected and notified no later than May 15, 2021.

For examples of haiku, visit





Post Date

March 24, 2021