Whole Life Soaps

2019 Soap Haiku Contest

Bill McConnell

Once again, Whole Life Soaps is proud to sponsor our annual soap Haiku contest. This contest is in conjunction with the Wrightwood Literary Festival. This contest is free to enter, but only one submission per writer is allowed. Prior winners are not allowed to enter.

Entry is simple.  If you plan on attending the literary festival, you can submit a poem at the event, or you can stop by in person and submit a poem at our storefront in downtown Wrighwtood, CA. We are located at 6013 Park Dr. across the street from The Village Grind and Pacific Crest Zip Line.

If you are unable to attend the festival, you may email your haiku submission to wholelifesoaps@gmail.com

Update: All poems should be previously unpublished works.

Please write Haiku Contest 2019 in the subject line. 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.

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.

Past winners are ineligible.  Winners will be notified by November 30, 2019, 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.

As always, every writer believes they are an expert when it comes to writing Haiku, and I often get complaints about the winning poem 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.

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.