ukiaHaiku festival

A celebration and competition devoted to the haiku form of poetry


22nd Annual ukiaHaiku Festival

Accepting your haiku submissions from November 8, 2023 to February 8, 2024

Sunday, April 28th, 2024
from 2–4pm

Free and open to the public

For questions, email:

After the long uneasiness of the pandemic, three festivals of looking back, taking stock and imagining the ukiaHaiku festival’s future, we are excited to share that the haiku competition is returning! Please join in the celebration by submitting haiku from November 8th, 2023 to February 8th 2024. Prizes will be awarded. And we invite winners to attend the ukiaHaiku Festival to read their haiku.

In recognition that the Pomo people are the original inhabitants of this area and that the word Ukiah itself is from the Pomo languages, this year, we are making an open call to our Pomo neighbors to share haiku that are in Pomo languages or express a Pomo Perspective (English, Spanish or Pomo Languages with English translations).

This year’s festival was made possible in part by a grant from California Humanities. With this award we were able to host teachers for youth outreach.

Submit your haiku with our form here.

Winners will be notified March 15, 2024.

The 22nd Annual ukiaHaiku Festival will take place April 28th, 2024. Information regarding location, speakers, performances, music and booths is forthcoming.

Check out our new Instagram: @ukiahaikufestival

A haiku is a three-line poem traditionally written in a 17-syllable format of 5-7-5 and captures a fleeting moment and a quiet impression which can often go unremarked on in our busy lives. The poems resemble little word blossoms, compact and bursting with life. Originating in Japan, haiku draw attention to the passing seasons and to everyday human encounters without comment or embellishment. "Think of it as a mental snapshot, as seeing the haiku moment in your mind," Dan Barth, another former Poet Laureate of Ukiah, explains.

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

For more information about how to write a haiku and what our judges are looking for in a haiku, please see our resources link below.


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


The ukiaHaiku Festival and the ukiaHaiku Festival Youth Outreach is sponsored by California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Art Now International and Wave Books. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor, North Coast Opportunities, and to these additional sponsors: the Mendocino County Library, the City of Ukiah, the Grace Hudson Museum, WAVE Books, Tsadik, the Arts Council of Mendocino County, and the Ukiah Poet Laureate Committee.

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