[Note: if you haven't visited the Tweetspeak site, you should! Lots of fun poetry information is shared there. And, I'd also recommend exploring Visual.ly, or their Pinterest board, especially if you're a teacher. The combination of words and graphics makes for an excellent teaching tool.]
A kukai is a haiku contest whereby a kigo (see above infographic), or a topic, is assigned. Participants write and submit a haiku which fulfills the assignment. The haiku are gathered and sent to all the poets who submitted a haiku. The poets then judge the haiku and award 0, 1, 2, or 3 points. Each judge has a total of six points to distribute amongst all the poems and is prohibited from scoring his/her own entry. The points are added up for each haiku, and the poet who has written the haiku that received the most points is the winner.
Poet Gillena Cox runs the Caribbean Kigo Kukai (CKK). Recently, she listed the first, second, and third place winners from the contests she had run between April 2009 and September 2011. One hundred poems total.
I had a haiku in the group, and I ended up in a tie with three other poets! The four of us each had a haiku that scored 6 points! You can read all the haiku here. Here's mine:
distant thunder...There are several online kukai being run. Gillena conveniently lists them on the right-hand side of the CKK page. (Thanks, Gillena!)
the brush of cat fur
against my legs
You may have noticed that my haiku doesn't fit the 5-7-5 syllable arrangement you were taught in school. Contemporary English language haiku is generally written in less than 17 syllables. If you want to understand why, there's a good explanation at the National Haiku Writing Month site.
Did you know that there are sites that feature daily haiku? Several in fact. Here's a few: DailyHaiku, Mann Library’s Daily Haiku, The Mainichi: Haiku in English, The Haiku Foundation's Per Diem: Daily Haiku (found on the right-hand side), and tinywords: haiku & other small poems. For haiga (illustrated haiku) fans, there is DailyHaiga.
I think it would be good to stop here, otherwise I might start on the Facebook haiku sites. Any more links and this post might explode!
Make sure to visit My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.