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How to win at haiku

Timmy composes haiku

Timmy puts his haiku skills to the test.

You've been sending us Haiku. Dozens upon dozens of poetic nuggets streaming into our designated haiku inbox, all written with the hope that this haiku will be the one to win a $50 gift certificate. We totally understand. After all, a haiku is relatively simple to write, and if ten minutes wins you $50 it's time well spent.

Most of the time.

You see, we read all of these haiku, so we've seen a lot. There are great, snarky haiku with brilliant twists, sentimental haiku that make us sigh, and groan worthy haiku that make us shake our heads and chuckle.

To help you towards your shiny $50 goal (and to fill our inbox with more great haiku) we'd like to give you a list of the sorts of haiku that have been overdone, so that your hard work won't immediately fall into the non-winnars folder.

1. Haiku about winning the Haiku contest

When you're staring at the screen trying to summon the spirit of inspiration, it's not unusual to be inspired by what you see in front of you, or by the very goal you're trying to reach. However writing a haiku about how great we are and about how you really hope to win, while flattering, isn't usually newsletter worthy.  Unless, of course, you manage to capture the essence of writer's block frustration like Aaron did.

run ThinkGeekHaiku
Segmentation fault (core dumped)
I hate debugging

2. Haiku in binary or 1337

It's probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you see the words techie haiku. "Techie!" you may think, "That means COMPUTER LANGUAGE!".

Sadly, all of the spirit of a haiku is kind of lost when it's run though a binary or 1337-5p34k translator. Also, we know you used that translator. That's cheating. What is awesome is when a bit of brilliant math, science, or code is written into a haiku in context. That's a little more difficult, but the effort is seriously appreciated.

Here's a good math-ku:

Every other one
Is divisible by two
Now is that not odd?

3. Haiku that...aren't haiku.

You rebel! You sent us a bawdy limerick! That's utterly fantastic and we kind of love it, but it's not a haiku. We hate to place limits on your creativity, but it is a haiku contest after all.

There once was a war over current,
by two men who boasted all through it.
"To alternate's best!"
"No direct beats the rest!"
But we use them both now, so screw it.

This limerick is so great, for so many reasons. But it's not a haiku. Sorry Michael!

4. Haiku about everyone's favorite fandoms

This one is a little harder to pin down. It's not that we don't love Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek. We really, REALLY do. However we see a lot of haiku about TARDISes and lightsaber battles. If you're writing about everyone's favorite Doctor, try to delve into some of the more obscure themes, or reflect upon the way this world makes you feel as opposed to the images you see. Haiku were originally written in an attempt to evoke emotion, transporting the reader. There are so many resonant moments in our favorite stories that you can take us back to with just a few words.

Here's a great example:

Take me to the black
I am a leaf on the wind
My Serenity

Final Thoughts on Winning $$$ for Your Brilliant Techie Haiku

1. Give us a title in the subject line of your email. When we're scrolling through a big batch of emailed haiku, it's must easier to remember the brilliant one with the subtle physics joke if the subject line references it.

2. It's okay to send us lots of haiku in one email! Really! It's cool to break them out by subject if you're really on a roll, but we totally don't mind one email with six or seven haiku.

Remember. We love your spicy brains, and the wonderful things that come from them. We like each and every haiku, even the silly, intentionally bad ones. Why? Because they're from you, and because they fuel our creatvity-powered world domination device. So keep sending them in!

[ post a comment ]


meaningless icon! Sitting reading this, I feel exasperated. Haiku is hard dude.
BrianBrainGeek said this 2471 days ago.
meaningless icon! I wrote the greatest haiku the universe ever had the pleasure of experiencing, but TG does not feel the power of the ubiquitous microcontroller.
MyBaconRobot said this 2471 days ago.

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