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Call for Entries BHS Awards 2023


Comprising three categories: Haiku, Tanka and Haibun

The Competition is OPEN to both members and non-members of the society from all over the world.

Rules of the BHS Haiku, Tanka and Haibun Awards:

1. Submissions must be only in English, unpublished and not concurrently entered for any other competition, and remain unpublished until the results are declared. Submissions should NOT appear in any print or online publication, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or forums as the competition is anonymous. There is no limit on the number of submissions per competitor.

2. Deadline: in the administrator’s e-mail by 31 January 2024.

3. Entry procedures:
Please note that all UK and non UK entries should be sent by e-mail to: bhsawardsadmin (a) fastmail . co . uk If you don’t have an e-mail, please contact the BHS Administrator Iliyana Stoyanova for more details.

For all three categories – send your entry in the body of the e-mail, NO attachments.

Remember to include your name, address and phone number. All appropriate fees to be paid via PayPal (through the BHS website). All PayPal transactions are subject to the PayPal Privacy Policy. Please include the PayPal payment Ref. No. with your submission.

Please note the PayPal payment should be made in £ sterling. Same fees apply for all UK and non-UK entries. See the table below.

4. Fees:
Payments by PayPal. The minimum entry fee for up to 3 haiku is £5.50. The fee for tanka or haibun works the same as for haiku. You will need to make a SEPARATE PAYMENT for each category you wish to enter (i.e. no mixing for one fee).

If you are uncertain about the payment options or have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact the BHS Administrator at the e-mail above.

If you wish to submit haiku, tanka or haibun, please use the form below:

Entries BHS Awards 2023

5. No current trustee of the British Haiku Society or any of the current judges is eligible to enter.

6. Adjudication process:
BHS will appoint two judges for haiku, two for tanka and one for haibun. Each judge sees all entries submitted in the category assigned to him/her, and without consulting, makes his/her independent choice of best haiku, tanka or haibun – and also chooses one runner-up and up to 3 ‘honourable mentions’. Their choices will be final and no correspondence can be entered into about the results. It is possible for an entrant to win more than one prize.

The Judges for the 2023 British Haiku Society Awards are:

Haiku – Caroline Skanne (UK) and Klaus-Dieter Wirth (Germany)
Tanka – David Terelinck (Australia) and Bryan Rickert (USA)
Haibun – Kala Ramesh (India)

7. Prizes:
For haiku, prizes of £125 will be awarded to each of the two best and £50 to each of two runners-up.
For tanka, prizes of £125 will be awarded to each of the two best and £50 to each of two runners-up.
For haibun, prize of £125 will be awarded to one winner and £50 to one runner-up.

8. Publication of results:
As soon as results are known and the winners are notified, the results will be published on the BHS website at All haiku, tanka and haibun selected for awards, along with the judges’ reports, will be published in the May 2024 issue of the BHS journal, Blithe Spirit. All winners, runners-up and ‘honourable mentions’ will receive BHS Awards certificates.

9. For early notification of results, please provide a valid e-mail.

10. Copyright reverts to authors after publication in the BHS journal, Blithe Spirit, but entry for any category signifies agreement to your work being published digitally by the BHS or copied for archival purposes (for example, by the British Library or the Poetry Library, London).

Iliyana Stoyanova
BHS Awards Administrator

Edinburgh Haiku Circle


Edinburgh Haiku Circle meets for two hours once a month.  The sessions feature discussions of selected seasonal Japanese haiku and haiku composed by participants. The atmosphere is casual and no previous knowledge of the Japanese language is required.

Edinburgh Haiku Circle’s monthly meeting is usually held on the third Saturday of each month. The cost is £5 per person.  Contact Catherine Urquhart (catherine . urquhart102 (a) gmail . com) in advance for further details. Visit for current dates and past haiku from our members. If you’re in Edinburgh, for a stay of any length, we’d be welcoming.

BHS Spring Gathering 2023


The BHS Spring Gathering 2023 took place on Zoom on Saturday, 3 June at 4pm-7pm UK time. Over 40 BHS members from different countries joined in. The event had two parts with a short tea/coffee break between them.

Part 1:
Articulation of the Single Line Haiku – A haiku zoom workshop by Alan Summers

This 90 minutes haiku workshop was all about the magic of the single line. It’s what we look for in that line as poets, and also as readers. As Alan said: “A haiku need not be too plainly descriptive, wildly logical, or constrained by Earth’s gravity”.alan&karen

Workshop details:
On the day participants shared one previously unpublished one-line haiku into the Zoom Chat feature. Alan’s friendly approach enabled even poets who weren’t sure they can write single line haiku at all, to take part and attempt at least one single line haiku. And although the workshop had a very tight schedule, it was very positive and inclusive. In preparation for the workshop the poets were able to refer to Alan’s article on one-line haiku published in Blithe Spirit 33.1.


Part 2
Ekphrastic haiku inspired by music

The second part of the Spring Gathering was a sharing session of ekphrastic haiku. Roger Noons had prepared the following prompts of performers, musical instruments and composers (clockwise from top left): Spring Gathering 2023

Portrait of Georges Bizet; Opera North, an aria from Die Walküre by Richard Wagner; Scene from The Nutcracker, a ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Miles Davis playing “So What” from his album Kind of Blue (1959); Music score for Flute and Piano; British rapper Slowthai; Unusual musical instrument – Factory Fan Bass; harpist Madeline Kirby; Nyckelharpa (key harp) – a traditional musical instrument from Sweden; Fingering for C chord on guitar.

Participating poets have prepared at least one haiku inspired by the prompts which were shared on the day using the Chat feature.

Write-up: Iliyana Stoyanova

Images, Haiku and the Spirit 2023


Images, Haiku and the Spirit workshop 5 February 2023

The Images, Haiku and the Spirit Zoom workshop presented a slideshow of nature photographs as sources of inspiration and/or jumping off points for haiku writing and sharing. The session opened with 28 people and a participatory sacred song and dance called, “Tis a Gift to be Simple.” The song arose out of the Shaker tradition, which like haiku, values the depth offered by simplicity. The corresponding dance was choreographed by the Sufis as an in~person, sacred circle dance and was adapted to Zoom so as to be offered individually in place or from sitting. The intention was for the sacred singing and dancing to invigorate the wisdom and exhilaration of the spirit. I was delighted that the animation and joy of the dancing came through even on the screen. This was followed by a contemplative slideshow of photographs from Mother Nature and stirring haiku responses. The session closed with the Sufi dance to the song by Joseph and Nathan from the Jewish tradition, “From you I receive, to you I give.” The gratitude for each other’s company on the haiku journey was palpable. 

As William J. Higginson wrote, “The primary purpose of reading and writing haiku is sharing moments of our lives that have moved us, pieces of experience and perception that we offer or receive as gifts.” If I were to choose one word to describe the essence of the day, it would be the word gift, the gift of offering and receiving haiku. “Tis a Gift to be Simple” served as a prelude to this experience by awakening the ancient knowing of the body, ‘to bow and to bend, we shan’t be ashamed, to turn and turn it will be our delight, till by turning and turning we come round right.’ As haiku poets we bow and bend to shed everything but the heartbeat of the moment, turning the words over and over until they come round right. “Tis a Gift to be Simple” was haiku in movement.

From singing and dancing, we moved to contemplating images from nature in a slideshow of my husband Akiba’s photographs. The pictures were gone through twice, first in a meditative way and then in reverse order naming the subjects for identification purposes. The workshop invited requests to spend more time with the images people were most drawn to for a deeper exploration and to discover connections. It was here that the session took on a life of its own with participants contributing, often multiple haiku via Chat. Each person read one haiku twice and the community was asked to respond to what touched, struck, or surprised them. Seeing the gift in each haiku generated exciting, meaningful, humorous, and far~reaching conversations such as the protests for women’s rights in Iran and diverse haiku responses to the same image i.e., to some the snowy egret suggested a bride and to others Marilyn Monroe.

We closed with these words and gestures:

“From you I receive,
To you I give,
Together we share,
From this we live.”

Each haiku was a source of soul~nourishment and has inspired me to look at these familiar images in fresh ways. One haiku response is shared below to each of the six most requested photographs. The article concludes with the Bluebird image as a representative of one of nature’s many teachers. Every haiku, haiku poet and those who were present were gifts for which I’m truly grateful. Heartfelt thanks to Iliyana Stoyanova and Andrew Shimield for their guidance, support and making this event possible.  

pure as a bride
the egret
takes off
   — Andrew Shimield

cool closeness
scruffy teenager
smoking sage grass
   — Ian Paternoster

hawk glides home
peace for its prey
   — Derek Hopkins

radiating seedsbluebird
the sunflower’s future
tightly packed
   — Erica Ison

amid stillness
the steady eye
of the roe deer
   — Karen Harvey

morning light
is that a blue Buddha
perched on a branch
   — Iliyana Stoyanova

Write-up by Maryam Mermey 


Naviar Haiku Fest 2022


On 7 December 2022 BHS members Claire Chatelet, Isabel Del Rio and Iliyana Stoyanova attended the fifth edition of the Naviar Haiku Fest, an evening of music and poetry reading at Café Oto in London. The event featured performances by members and friends of Naviar, working in the fields of ambient, electronic, and contemporary classical music. Each set was introduced by a haiku written by poets of The British Haiku Society.

Iliyana Stoyanova gave a short introduction to haiku – history of the genre, composition, differences between haiku written in Japanese and Western languages, etc.; its main principles, and some important haiku techniques. Beforehand Iliyana and the organiser Marco Alessi have made a selection of haiku which were then paired with all the musical pieces performed on the night:

naviar 2

– Daniel Green – an artist, museum professional and high-impact arts educator with a deep passion for art and technology education

                           through the fields the dogs the humans the sky as birdsong
                           — Alan Summers, UK (BHS members’ anthology “Temple“, 2021)

– encym & George Crowley – Encym explores un-guitaristic territory by layering, collaging and shaping improvised loops; George Crowley is a saxophonist, clarinettist, composer and promoter

                                        standing stones –
                                        I breathe in
                                        the silence
               –Nick T, UK (BHS members’ anthology “Temple“, 2021)

– Leon Clowes – a transdisciplinary artist who uses autoethnography, self-compassion and Brechtian techniques

                                                      where silence becomes song a forest
                                          — Debbi Antebi, UK/Turkey (IHC anthology 2019)

– Audio Obscura – Since 2014 Neil Stringfellow has released music as Audio Obscura, covering a variety of musical themes that touch on ambient, electronics and more experimental soundscapes

                                  life out of balance
                                  the lullaby of lost languages
                                  in desert winds
                   — Iliyana Stoyanova, UK/Bulgaria (BHS Members’ Anthology “Planet Earth”, 2020)

– Simon McCorry – a cellist, composer & sound designer in theatre, film & contemporary dance for over 15 years

                                  last notes
                                  of the cricket’s song
                                  August dawn
                   — Iliyana Stoyanova, UK/Bulgaria (Blithe Spirit 32.4)

– Manja Ristić – Croatia based violinist, sound artist, published poet, curator and researcher

                                    vigil prayers
                                    a hummingbird disappears
                                    in the sunlight

                                    veglia di preghiere
                                    un colibrì scompare
                                    nella luce del sole
                  — Eufemia Griffo, Italy (BHS members’ anthology “Temple“, 2021)

The BHS is grateful to Marco Alessi (Naviar Records) for the invitation to take part in such an incredible event and the opportunity to promote haiku to a wider audience – both on the night and via social media.

Write-up Iliyana Stoyanova

BHS AGM and Winter Gathering 2022


The BHS AGM and Winter Gathering took place on Saturday the 26th November 2022 via Zoom.
Participants who wanted to perform at the event were asked to provide David Bingham with up to 3 haiku or 3 tanka or a short haibun (maximum length 60 words).

Although the live event was cancelled due to the unexpected train strike, the BHS Committee ensured that as much as possible of the planned event took place with the following programme:

• Haiku Surprise — performed by David Bingham;
• BHS AGM — 47 peoples attended; the combined Officer’s reports were distributed by e-mail to the BHS members beforehand and the results of the Elections for the BHS Committee 2022-2024 were officially announced;
• Break;
Twisting Point: A PowerPoint presentation and workshop by Jasmin Kirkbride based on her research topic ‘Twisting Point’, which explored how haiku writing, over several decades, has been influenced by climate change;
• Break;
• Members performed their own haiku, tanka or haibun.

Here is a small selection of the poems shared at the meeting:

end of summer ellipsis
shaping the yew hedge
into clouds
      (Sue Richards)

the dinosaur room
my charge’s tiny hand
slips into mine
      (Phillip Murrell)

hospice waiting room—
the music takes me
where words cannot
      (Michael Dylan Welch)

riverbank picnic
a view of the mountain tops
sat among buttercups
      (Alan Peat)


Just days old, the four babies lie crossways in a single cot. Four round faces; mouths gasping, their unfocused eyes swimming with wonder.
A blanket has been clipped above the cot to protect them from flying glass should the windows blow in.

Spring sunlight –
so perfectly formed
eight tiny hands
      (Sean O’Connor)

Jasmin Kirkbride essay “Twisting point: the evolution of haiku in the climate crisis” was published on the BHS website in January 2023.

Write-up by the BHS Committee

BHS Spring Gathering 2022

The BHS Spring Gathering took place on 14th May 2022 by Zoom. It was a well-attended event with 30 plus members from both the UK and abroad.

David Bingham led the first session which was a sharing of ‘mini-haibun’ that had been sent in by BHS members before the event. The less than 80-word haibun which were discussed displayed a wide variety of form and content. They were written both by writers familiar with the genre and those for whom this was their first experience of writing haibun.

For the second part Iliyana Stoyanova led an ekphrastic haiku workshop. The participants had the opportunity to write two haiku based on the works of Ukrainian artists:
– a religious painting called “Icon of Archangel Gabriel” by Ivan Rutkovych/Іван Руткович (c.1650 – c.1708) – a Ukrainian icon painter, founder of Zhovkva (Жовква) Iconographic School of painting and wood carving;
– a piano piece called “Song without words”, Op.10/1 by Mykola Lysenko/Мико́ла Ли́сенко (1842 – 1912) – a Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor and ethnomusicologist.

The resulting haiku were then shared and discussed.
Examples of the haibun and haiku were distributed with BHS newsletter ‘the brief #132’

Write-up by David Bingham and Iliyana Stoyanova