Home Submissions Submission Guidelines Haiga - An Introduction
Haiga - An Introduction PDF Print E-mail

Submissions may include all styles of haiga from traditional brushwork to photographic and computer generated art, or other mixed mediums, but the haiku or tanka must adhere to the traditional s/l/s (s/l/s/l/l) metric schemata indigenous to haiku (tanka).

Haiga Submission Guidelines:

1. Submit no less than 10, previously unpublished, haiga.

2. Haiku or tanka words in English only (please use a clear, readable font) as well as the author’s name must be embedded in the haiga image. Do not include the name of the artist or photographer in the haiga image.

3. Images should be in JPEG format (600 x 800 pixels, 72dpi).

4. Title your haiga as your name_your surname_haiga1.jpg, etc.(for example: mary_craig_haiga1.jpg).

5. Submit your short, five line bio with a photo, as well as signifying your agreement to the conditions of acceptance using this haiga submission form.

For further instructions consult the submission guidelines.


Please also read:

What we are looking for in a haiga


Haiga is haiku painting. Hai refers to the poem or haiku and ga means painting. The form originated in seventeenth-century Japan and was used to decorate scrolls, albums, screens, and fans. You always find three elements in haiga: an ink-brush or watercolor painting, a poem or poems, and calligraphy. The form is characterized by a fresh and spontaneous rendering of ordinary, everyday life--very much in the haiku spirit--as well as by simple subjects, loose and fluid brushstrokes, and plenty of white space. It is usually very sketch-like with spare images expressed with just a few lines, little detail, and one or two colors for added visual interest. 

Excerpted from Berries and Cream: Contemporary Haiga in North America, An Interview with Jeanne Emrich by Michael Dylan Welch. Foster City, California: Press Here, 2000.


* * *

Traditionally this is a painting executed in the haikai spirit. Often it is in a spontaneous, rough, and abstract style. To it is added or juxtaposed a hokku [Japanese "opening verse" for a linked poem] or an independent poem, a haiku. Less commonly a poem that is not in such a form can be used.

  • Whether you start with the poem or with the art, remember that the intention is to make a whole greater than the parts: the art does not illustrate the poem; the poem does not describe the picture.
  • If you start with the painting, compose the poem to avoid mentioning what is in the painting. Let yourself be drawn into the painting first. Then step back from the experience of the painting, allowing yourself a larger perspective. Then write the poem.
  • If you start with the poem, compose the painting to avoid illustrating what is in the poem.
  • Revise the poem as needed before writing its calligraphy on the painting.
  • Sometimes the artist and the poet are the same person: in that case it is easy for you to redesign and modifiy both the picture and the poem.
  • In the interplay between the words and the image that occurs in revision not only might the picture or poem be altered, but an entirely new poem or sketch or painting might be started.
  • If the haiga is created by two different people, it may be better to begin by having the visual artist offer an image first, and then the poet responds. As always, mutual patience and respect will help the process.
  • And it may often be better to start with the poem. There is hopefully delight in the process, no matter which appears first.


Thanks to the poets Patricia J. Machmiller and Beverly Acuff Momoi 
for suggestions that have improved the above.


J. Zimmerman, reprinted from http://www.baymoon.com/~ariadne/form/haiga.htm.