Competition Guidelines

The Robert Spiess Memorial
2024 Haiku Awards Contest

Modern Haiku is pleased to announce the Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Awards Competition for 2024. The purpose of this competition is to honor the life and work of Bob Spiess, editor of Modern Haiku from 1978 to his death on March 13, 2002.

Email entries will now be accepted as well as postal entries.

Theme: Haiku are to be written in the spirit of the following “Speculation” (Robert Spiess, A Year's Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):

The sometimes seeming conflict between innovation and tradition in haiku is actually salutary: it can be a creative tension, a system of checks and balances in which tradition keeps innovation from riding off in all directions at once, and innovation keeps haiku from becoming petrified.

Deadline: In hand no later than March 13, 2024.


Rules: The competition is open to everyone but the staff of Modern Haiku, the competition coordinator, and the judge. Entries must be in English. Each entry must be the original, unpublished work of the author, and should not be under consideration in a contest or for publication elsewhere. For purposes of this competition, appearance of a haiku in an Internet journal, on a Web site, in a blog, or in any other public media is considered publication, but posting haiku on a private email list is not. Of course, entries should not be shared in an Internet journal, Web site, blog, private or public email list, or any other public media during the term of the competition.

Submission guidelines: Poets may submit a maximum of five haiku written in the spirit of the above Speculation, accompanied by the applicable entry fee.

Email entries are to be submitted as follows: (1) on the Modern Haiku subscription page, https://www.modernhaiku.org/subscriptions.html, scroll down to the Donate button; (2) make a donation of up to $5 [$1 for each entry]; (3) when you receive your payment confirmation number, copy and paste it into an email with  your haiku and your name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address; (4) send the email to Billie Wilson at akwilsons@gci.net.

Postal entries should be typed or printed legibly on one sheet of paper that contains all haiku being submitted (not one sheet per haiku). The poet's name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address (if any) should appear in the upper lefthand corner of the sheet of paper.

Send postal entries to:

Billie Wilson
1170 Fritz Cove Road
Juneau, AK 99801-8501 USA

Please keep a copy of your submission; entries will not be returned. Please follow the instructions carefully: entries that are incomplete or that do not comply with the instructions will be discarded.

Entry fee: $1 per haiku, cash, check, or PayPal (U.S. funds); make checks payable to Modern Haiku; for email entries, follow the instructions above.

Adjudication: A judge will be selected by Modern Haiku; the judge's name will be announced at the time of the awards. Judging will be double-blind, and the judge will not know the identity of the entrants. The judge's decisions are final.

Selection criteria: The judge will look for entries that hew to Western norms for haiku as published in Modern Haiku and other leading English-language haiku journals and that best capture the spirit of the theme Speculation above. There are no rules as to syllable or line count.

Awards: First Prize $100; Second Prize $50; Third Prize $25. Up to five poets will be awarded Honorable Mentions.

Notification: Winners will be notified by email or phone before the general announcement. Winning entries will be published in the summer 2024 issue of Modern Haiku and posted on the Modern Haiku Web site, https://www.modernhaiku.org/, and announced on social media.

If you would like a list of the winners, please indicate that on your e-mail entries or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE) with your postal entries. The winners will be announced when the summer issue of Modern Haiku is released.


© 2023 Modern Haiku • PO Box 1570 • Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459