ukiaHaiku festival

A celebration and competition devoted to the haiku form of poetry


2021 ukiaHaiku Festival is In Gear and Online for Spring 2021

Join us on Zoom on Sunday, April 25th from 3–4 pm

Email Roberta Werdinger for the Zoom Link: rwerdinger at

The 2021 UkiaHaiku Festival (UHF) will be produced as an online virtual event hosted by our outgoing Ukiah Poet Laureate, Roberta Werdinger, and conducted by our incoming Poet Laureate, Melissa Eleftherion Carr. It will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 25th. In the tradition of past festivals, the event will be open to all ages (we encourage children & young adults to participate).

This year, participants will read one haiku at a time in a round-robin format. We're requesting folks to read no more than three haiku in total. We'll read in successive rounds until we've heard all the haiku.
Time permitting, organizers will also read haiku from past UHF winners and/or from Japanese masters such as Basho, Buson and Issa.

If you'd like to participate in this year's UHF, please email Roberta Werdinger at the address above. When she receives your RSVP email, she'll send you a Zoom link. Please mark your calendar with it. We'll figure out the order of readers once we've all assembled on Zoom.

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

1) 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.)

2) 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).

3) 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.

4) 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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