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2020 Soap Haiku Winner's List

2020 Soap Haiku Winner's List

Contest Update #2: While writers are still submitting entries, please note that the submission window has ended. The contest closed on September 30 at 5:00pm. If you submitted an entry after that time and date, your entry will not be read. Thank you for understanding.

Contest Update: Rattle Magazine has graciously offered to double the prize for this contest. You can now win $100 and they will also publish the winning poem. That’s pretty awesome!


Once again, Whole Life Soaps is proud to sponsor our annual Soap Haiku Contest. This contest is free to enter, but only one submission per writer is allowed. Prior winners are not eligible to enter.

Unlike prior year’s contests, I am going to ask that submissions follow a theme. Transformation in Nature

Entry is simple.  The easiest method (and preferred) is to email your haiku submission to and be sure to put 2020 Haiku Contest in the subject line.

All poems should be previously unpublished works. Prior winners are not eligible to enter.

Please submit only one entry per person. Entry is free, although we do encourage you to buy some soap as a way to support this fun contest. You can buy soap at

All entries must include the following:

  • Name

  • a valid email address

  • a valid mailing address

  • a valid phone number

  • one haiku poem

Entries missing any of this information will be disqualified. All entries must be received by 5:00pm PST on September 30, 2020.

If you prefer, you may send a postcard in the mail with your contest entry and information, but I will still need an email contact for you.

Send via US Mail to:

Bill McConnell c/o Whole Life Soaps

PO Box 3082

Wrightwood, CA 92397

Finally, if you happen to live in Wrightwood or are visiting our store, you may simply drop it off. Entries without the information above will be disqualified.

Past winners are ineligible.  Winners will be notified by November 30, 2020, but all participants will be notified regardless of whether they win.

Winners will receive a $50 prize and publication on a specialized bar of soap. If you would like to see last year’s winning entry, you may click here. Publication on our Haiku soap runs from January to June. You, the writer, will retain all publication rights.

Disclaimer: As always, every writer believes they are an expert when it comes to writing, and I often get complaints about the winning selection because it does not fit the 5-7-5 syllable trope that all of us learned in third grade. To be clear, I do not believe the 5-7-5 syllable haiku method is the only way to write Haiku; I will however, be looking for the turn (the Kireji) that creates a stark, emotional contrast.

The following represents what I look for in submissions:  According to poet Ken Jones, “Many of the best haiku present unexpected and contrasting images. These can arouse profound and subtle emotions and can convey layers of subtle meaning. The Western convention is to write haiku in three lines, but haiku of one, two or four lines are acceptable where that makes the best “fit”. Often the first line sets the scene, within which the second line makes an observation. The third line then presents an image contrasting with the second line, throwing our normal expectations out of gear, as it were, and opening up a wider perspective which may be both allusive and elusive.”

I look for that elusiveness, that contrast between joy and grief. When I started this contest, I made it a point to look for those layers of meaning. I also look for Haiku’s that aren’t simply about my soap. I prefer the poems that use natural elements to express an emotional contrast.

Good luck, and I look forward to reading your submissions.

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