Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Twitter Haiku Contest

The Birmingham Public Library is partnering with the Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA) and the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America (HSA) to sponsor a Twitter haiku contest as part of the annual Sakura Festival, the primary event of which will take place at the Japanese Gardens at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Official Definition of Haiku according to the Haiku Society of America
Definition: A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.

Notes: Most haiku in English consist of three unrhymed lines of seventeen or fewer syllables, with the middle line longest, though today's poets use a variety of line lengths and arrangements. In Japanese a typical haiku has seventeen "sounds" (on) arranged five, seven, and five. (Some translators of Japanese poetry have noted that about twelve syllables in English approximates the duration of seventeen Japanese on.) Traditional Japanese haiku include a "season word" (kigo), a word or phrase that helps identify the season of the experience recorded in the poem, and a "cutting word" (kireji), a sort of spoken punctuation that marks a pause or gives emphasis to one part of the poem. In English, season words are sometimes omitted, but the original focus on experience captured in clear images continues. The most common technique is juxtaposing two images or ideas (Japanese rens�). Punctuation, space, a line-break, or a grammatical break may substitute for a cutting word. Most haiku have no titles, and metaphors and similes are commonly avoided. (Haiku do sometimes have brief prefatory notes, usually specifying the setting or similar facts; metaphors and similes in the simple sense of these terms do sometimes occur, but not frequently.

For more information, see

  • Must be an Alabama resident.
  • Contestants must submit a registration form (below).
  • To enter the adult competition, must be over 18.
  • To enter the youth competition, must be 13-17 (13 by the registration date).
  • Library staff and immediate family members are ineligible.
  • Haiku must follow the official Haiku Society of America definition as shown above.
  • Contest begins on February 23rd and runs through March 15th.
  • A winner will be selected each week for the adult division and the youth division. Poems must be submitted by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. to be considered for that week.
    • Week one: Sunday, February 23 to Saturday, March 1
    • Week two: Sunday March 2 to Saturday, March 8
    • Week three: Sunday, March 9 to Saturday, March 15
    • The winner in each division will be announced via the library Twitter @bpl early the following week.
  • Contestants may only win once.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Haikus via twitter must be tagged with #bplhaiku to be eligible.
Registration period expired.

The six weekly winners will be the top winners of the entire contest, and judges would then decide who are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The winners' rankings will be announced at the Sakura Festival main event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, March 22, and they will receive cash prizes: $50, $30, and $20. The two first place winners in each division will also receive a one-year membership to the Haiku Society of America.

Need More Information?

Please contact Allie Graham at or 205-226-3677 for more information regarding the Twitter Haiku Contest.

Page Last Modified: 3/17/2014 8:47 AM