ukiaHaiku festival

A celebration and competition devoted to the haiku form of poetry


A Special 20th Annual Retrospective ukiaHaiku Festival is coming in Spring 2022

Join us, in person, May 15th 2022 at the Grace Hudson Museum in the Wild Gardens from 2–4pm to celebrate Ukiah’s palindrome—haiku.

Please consider checking this web page prior to the event for possible adjustments due to covid and in the unlikely event that we resort to a Zoom reading.

For questions, email:

For this special retrospective iteration of the ukiaHaiku Festival (UHF), we are thrilled to present a selection of Poets Laureate of Ukiah and members of the ukiaHaiku Committee to read haiku from past winners of the festival. This time around, instead of a competition, we are taking stock, looking back at past accomplishments and extending our heartfelt appreciation for this twenty year legacy initiated by Ukiah librarian, Dori Anderson.

Our current poet laureate Melissa Eleftherion Carr and past poet laureate Michael Riedell will host the festival. Following the selected poets, we will invite the public to sign up on the day of the event between 2–2:15pm to read one haiku each in a round-robin fashion. We ask that participants read no more than three haiku.

We encourage children and young adults to participate and welcome both Spanish and English poems. We’ll have a booth with children’s and adults’ activities, wares for sale by Annette Makino, a performance by dancers from SPACE and Higher Ground, songs performed by the Haikukuleles and a performance of koto and shakuhachi music by Ron Nadeau.

This event is free.

For those new to haiku, the following is a thumbnail sketch:

* Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines: short, long and short. (In English these were often required to be 5, 7, and 5 syllables, but we no longer require nor recommend this specificity.)

* Typically, two of the lines are related (called a phrase) and a third line (fragment) provides an insight or unique observation related to the phrase (examples below follow this definition).

* Traditional haiku captures a moment in nature and always includes a seasonal reference. Haiku is about an observation and evocation based in nature, not solely about an individual's preoccupations or concerns.

* Haiku use clear, direct concrete language—generally no figurative language or rhymes.

Here are a few examples by Japanese haiku masters translated by Robert Hass:

A bucket of azaleas / in its shadow / the woman tearing codfish. —Basho

The cherry blossoms fallen / through the branches / a temple. —Buson

The man pulling radishes / pointed my way / with a radish. — Issa


Read winning haiku of past festivals
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

News: We are thankful to Michael Dylan Welch, passionate haiku advocate and author, for judging the Jane Reichhold International category since Reichhold's death in 2016.


Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: Savings Bank of Mendocino County; OCO Time & Peace Café, Ukiah & Willits; Haiku Vineyards; Susan Sparrow & Hal Zina Bennett; Mendocino Book Company; Schat’s Bakeries & Zach Schat; Community First Credit Union; Ukiah Natural Foods

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