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2023 Whole Life Soaps Haiku Contest

2023 Whole Life Soaps Haiku Contest


Update: This contest is officially closed. We look forward to reading all of the entries. The winner will be announced no later than July 15, but sooner is always a possibility.

Thank you and good luck.



I can't believe how fast 2023 is already slipping by us like pine pollen and dust through the boards of my front porch.

I've been spending too much time thinking about my own mortality lately. I turned 51 in December, had my first angina attack, and now I am taking high blood pressure medication. Where did my healthy youth go? When did this old man move into my body? But that is the cycle of life, right. What's young grows old, and what's old eventually passes on.

With that said, it is time for our annual haiku contest where I, a local soap maker in the San Gabriel mountains of southern California, am calling for your observational thoughts of nature in the form of a haiku.

This year's theme is Aging and the Cycle of Life.

 The natural world, if you are keen to pay attention, offers many critical insights regarding how we age, what happens when we die, and the inherent beauty of this simple physical process, one which inspires so much fear and anxiety, but one that has been occurring without change since life began.

Your task, should you choose to enter, is to write a haiku on how how aging and the cycle of life are reflected in our natural world.

Enter here

If you've never written a Haiku before, just remember:

1. Your haiku should aim to convey a moment of insight, probably from something you’ve observed, either in the world or in your mind and heart. 

2. Write your haiku using a just a few lines. Traditional Japanese haiku use mora, which are spread across a few lines. In English, writers attempt to translate this concept into a rigid syllable structure, but there is not a direct correlation between the two concepts, as a single mora may contain two, three, or four syllables. Simply put, using seventeen syllables may actually make your haiku too long, in the traditional sense. So try to avoid the syllable game that many native English speakers learn in elementary school. If you really must focus on syllables, I would suggest using no more than 17 syllables across all three lines. But fewer is preferable, and likely more correct.

3. Write with directness, using clear images.

4. Find a way to break the haiku into two parts, with the second part creating a contrast or surprise after the first one.

5. Nature should be part of the poem, either setting up the contrast or completing it. Poems without this will not be considered.

Finally, it's important to read haiku to get the feeling of the haiku structure. Whether you search the internet for examples or buy a book of Haiku poetry, reading examples is still the best teacher.

Contest Rules:

1. Past winners are ineligible

2. One entry per person

3. Entries must be received by May 20, 2023 at 5:00PM PST to be considered eligible.

4. Submissions may be entered alternatively via US Mail. Send to Bill McConnell c/o Whole Life Soaps, PO Box 3082, Wrightwood, CA 92397. Additionally, contestants may submit a contest entry in-person at Whole Life Soaps retail store located at 6013 Park Dr, Wrightwood, CA 92397. Submissions must include first and last name, a valid email address, a phone number, a current mailing address, and a typed copy of the haiku entry. We are open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am - 5:00pm.

5. Winners will be announced no later than July 15, 2023. Winners will be announced via this blog, via our Instagram page, and via email to all contestants.

7. Contest rules may change at anytime. 

Last updated 4/3/2023

Continue reading

2022 Soap Haiku Winner

2022 Soap Haiku Winner

Haiku Contest Update

The 2023 Haiku Contest Winner

The 2023 Haiku Contest Winner


Barry Childs

my Whole Life Soap bar
gets between my teeth
wash your mouth out, son


Silence in me destroys my accumulated fear in the years of non-belonging.

Jackie Chou

I just submitted an entry. I’ve realized that I put down an incomplete mailing address. Hope you could contact me via email.

Miranda Merrill

Cheeto dust on fingers,
Outside all day until dinner,
Sunsets land on graves

Dmitri Richardson

Blossoms bloom and fade,
Time’s breath paints seasons of change,
Nature’s eternal.

Richard Spencer Jr.

Our nature flourishes
Until it ends
Only to start anew

Laura DeGrave

Quietly fell a bronze leaf
Sheltered seed green beneath

David Josephsohn

winter moon
the shadows and I
finally at rest


I can’t get into the electronic entry form because I don’t have a Google account and I can’t create one because I don’t have a cell phone, which they want to text me a verification code. Are you accepting entries posted here in the comments?

Jared Bernstein

When I received confirmation for the haiku I submitted through the “Enter here” link, my poem was placed on a single line. Did you receive the poem with the proper line breaks?

Faye Srala

butterfly on bloom
her radiant colors
laugh at my maturity

Nolo Segundo

reluctant leaves fall
from the old tree showering
an old man walking

Joy Lunardini

daffodils wilting
dawn bocks for geraniums’
big bash quaking true

Jordana Landres

The young and old experience
The gift and the price of time
Grief and joy converge there

Elaine Petty

Time moves ever on
Autumn leaves drift to the ground
Youth, once bright, fades brown

William Earnshaw

Can you ever love?
Or were you meant to be, sad
Flower, just adored?

Chris Rousseau

peony flowers -
blossomed out of youth
petal confetti falls

Janet Poindexter

Nature’s cycles spin,
Aging tells a story old
Life’s beauty within
Janet Poindexter
1141 S. Jackson Street
Seaside, OR 97138

Ansleigh Brown

Nature’s tomb’s a womb:
Graves are watered with tears shed;
There, new blossoms bloom.

Andrea Owens

Journey all to self
Longing for the promised land.
Dust, wind, and water.

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