Contest Instructions

This is the very first Spring/Summer haiku contest for the Dassler Effect. This may be the case because somehow I have come to feel that Spring is too florid and Summer too full to be suitable subjects for haiku. Would not a sonnet be more appropriate for Spring; perhaps a novel for the Summer? I confess, though, that these thoughts simply reflect personal preferences and prejudices, and belie the power of a type of poem I value greatly.

If my feelings are correct, that haiku essentially work by stopping a moment in time and evoking it with the fewest possible words or slightest of suggestions, might they not equally well be able to capture such moments in seasons that seem to be characterized by more activity and life?

A Spring or Summer haiku might depict a truly still moment, such as at the end of a long Summer day, or moments frozen amidst activity, such as capturing a detail from a energetic Spring picnic for example,  to evoke the whole by illustrating a few details?

At any rate, it is likely that you not here to hear me pontificate on haiku, but to learn about a contest with fabulous prizes. Details are below. Inspiration here, here, here, and, from Master Basho, here.


  • The Basics: Write two haiku with 5-7-5 syllables in each of the three lines respectively. I realize that many contemporary haiku do not follow the 5-7-5 syllable pattern strictly, but for the sake of consistency you must do so for this contest.One haiku should be about Spring the other about Summer. These haiku need not have the words “Spring” or “Summer” in them, but should include a “kigo,” or a seasonal word or phrase which evokes the season in the reader’s mind.
  • How many: One contestant may submit up to two pair of haiku.
  • Style: I leave questions about whether to title or not, whether to punctuate and capitalize or not, entirely up to you, though I think it is more traditional to not title. And, also, it is up to you to decide if and how much your haiku should “talk” to one another or whether they should be about the same subject or theme.
  • Just impress the judges, that’s all 🙂

When: Haiku should be emailed to Neil at by Friday, April 9th at midnight. Please also send along the city in which you live and any personal website/blog information you may wish to include when your entry is posted. The winners will be announced on Sunday, May 9th.

How: The judges will assign each of your haiku a score between 1 and 10 for a best possible score of 20 points. The haiku with the highest cumulative score from all the judges for each season and the haiku pair with highest cumulative scores will win. This means a poet could potentially sweep all the prizes and win for: 1) Best haiku pair, 2) Best Spring haiku, and 3) Best Summer haiku, which would be quite a nice pay day!

The Judges:I will soon be assembling a panel of 4-6 high quality judges. Hopefully the panel will include both poets and past winners of Dassler Effect haiku contests.

The Prizes:

  • Grand Prize for best Spring / Summer haiku pair: $50
  • 1st Prize for best Spring haiku: $25
  • 1st Prize for best Summer haiku: $25

So, once again, if you are doing the math at home, one individual could potentially take $25 or $50 or the whole kitty of $100 home.

Wow! Let the writing begin!!

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