CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - 2023 Samurai Haibun Contest

     The United Haiku and Tanka Society 2023 Samurai Haibun Contest 

This yearly competition, sponsored by the United Haiku and Tanka Society, celebrates the Autumn Festival, which is the procession devoted to all things Samurai, including warriors wielding traditional Japanese weaponry parading through the streets. It occurs in Nikko Toshogo, Japan on the 17th day of October each year. This competition was about "the strength or power of nature", and whatever it meant to each person. Entries could be about anything from flowers to a hurricane or anything perceived as a powerful force of nature. 

Deadline: only open from 1 September 2023 to 30 September 2023.

Sponsor: the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Coordinator: Marilyn Humbert, Australia. 

Blind Adjudication): Elaine and Neal Whitman, USA.

Eligibility: FREE to all age groups worldwide.

Awards: send up to 3 entries (haibun only, no tanka prose); all rights remain with the poets. Printable Certificates will be emailed to winners for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place, and one HM. (see picture below).

Guidelines: Entries must be the original work of the author, be unpublished and never posted publicly anywhere, and not under consideration elsewhere for the entire time period it takes to complete the judging. This contest is un-themed and any content is acceptable except for that which might be considered offensive to the general public ie: (no political or inappropriate material). Entries that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered, so read carefully.

Submissions: subject heading (Samurai Haibun), type each individual haibun in the body of your email, no attachments, please. Include your name, country, and email contact. Send to 

From the Coordinator:  “all entrants will be advised that I have received their entry,

but if you haven’t heard from me within 7 days, please re-send.”

Notification: ONLY the winners will be notified and ONLY via email if you have no email address available, (please provide a proxy email address.) If you don’t hear anything back by 30 October 2023, your entries are automatically free to submit elsewhere.

Publication: Winners will be posted in November 2023 on the UHTS website with the Judge’s commentary. Good Luck and thank you for entering! 




As contest coordinator for the Fleeting Words Tanka Contest, I was delighted to receive a diverse collection of tanka from across the globe, including the following countries, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Myanmar, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad, UK, and USA. A special thank you to our friends on social media who distributed our competition results via Facebook pages and posted our competition details on their personal Web pages. It has been a pleasure to work with an’ya the contest judge. Thank you to all entrants for trusting me with their tanka.-Marilyn Humbert, Australia


birdsong swells
as each primrose glistens
with dewdrops
a tranquil dawn after
the night’s disharmony

Farah Ali, UK

In First Place, is this fine tanka by Farah Ali from the UK. It begins with the sound of birdsong, and the visual of primroses glistening with dewdrops, which carry on to create a “tranquil dawn” in line 4. In contrast, line 5 reminds us of the past “night’s disharmony”, however, this author doesn’t “tell” us exactly what caused that disharmony. We are let to imagine this for ourselves. Thank you Farah for sharing this entry. Contest Judge, an’ya, USA



at midnight

I creep out with my torch

for this moment

when the orchid cactus blooms –

the brilliance of one small life

Anne Benjamin, Australia

I really liked the concept of this Second Place tanka composed by Anne Benjamin of Australia. It also gave me a chuckle as line 2 sounded like something a typical haiku or tanka poet would do to capture a moment. Anne rewards her readers with lovely cactus blooms and allows us to see their brilliance in the middle of the night. Contest Judge, an’ya, USA




soften the bog's edge

my thoughts

lost in this tangle

of lemming runways

Debbie Strange, Canada

In Third Place, this interesting tanka by a consistent winner in various contests, Debbie Strange who lives in Canada. The word “tussocks” in line 1 immediately grabs the reader’s attention. The person in this tanka knows enough to stay at the edge of the bog, and is aware enough to see the “lemming runaways” (excellent word choice btw). Contest Judge, an’ya, USA



skeins of wool

unravel at my feet

in the last light

a swirl of snow geese

begins to descend

Debbie Strange, Canada

Again, to Debbie, thank you for entering this HM. An incredibly visual write that allowed me to imagine a woman in her rocking chair with skeins of wool at her feet. I sense the metaphor here and can see the woman dozing off with that swirl of descending snow geese. contest Judge, an’ya, USA