OtherWordly Haiku

Presenting a cosmic collection of space-themed haiku

In a galaxy of words, the Termarians are desperate to escape the Lexiborgs’ grasp. Players ping, zap, and blast their way through quests. When they pause, a space-themed haiku appears out of the cosmos, providing a moment of reflection before returning to orbiting ciphers.

Poets of every species were invited to enter space-themed haiku in the OtherWordly Intergalactic Haiku Competition. The top 40 entries are incorporated into the game, serving to enhance its tranquility while acquainting gamers with the esteemed poetry form.

Congratulations to the contest winners and honorable mentions.

  • bioluminescence
  • I skip a pebble across
  • the universe
Debbie Strange
  • spacesuit
  • no choice but to make peace
  • with the itch
Tom Brinck
  • moonless night
  • the faint light of a ship
  • a long way out
Simon Hanson

Honorable Mentions

  • watching stars
  • I long for the one
  • my planet circles
LeRoy Gorman
  • starry sky
  • I forget to look for
  • fireflies
Vessislava Savova
  • event horizon—
  • the way
  • he drew me in
Seren Fargo
  • harvest moon–
  • I tell the visitors
  • we do not ripen fast
Darrell Lindsey
  • down to earth
  • the space elevator
  • plays old tunes
C.R. Harper
  • off world
  • first date …
  • her shields up
Sidney Bending

Official Selection

The following poets’ haiku were also selected for publication in the game:

assu, David Boyer, Debbie Strange, Deborah Guzzi, Jill Lange, Karen DiNobile, LeRoy Gorman, Nikolay Grankin, Olivier Schopfer, paul m., R.D. Bailey, Rajandeep Garg, Raquel D. Bailey, Robert Kingston, Simon Hanson, Susan Burch, Tracy Davidson, Tyson West, Valentina Ranaldi-Adams, Wendy C. Bialek.


David Oates

David Oates is a haiku poet, author, and teacher. He is the host and producer of Wordland, a WUGA radio program of poetry, stories, and comedy. He is the former producer of the Athens Poetry Slam. His books include Night of the Potato, Shifting with My Sandwich Hand, and Drunken Robins. He is a member of the Haiku Society of America and the British Haiku Society.

Nicholas M. Sola

Nicholas M. Sola is the editor of Four Hundred and Two Snails: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2018. His work has appeared in Akitsu Quarterly, bottle rockets, ephemerae, Frogpond, Hedgerow, Presence, Taj Mahal Review, and Three Line Poetry. He is a leading voice on the use of haiku in video games and the ways in which video games can influence haiku.

Deborah P Kolodji

Deborah P Kolodji is the moderator of the Southern California Haiku Study Group, California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America, and member of the Haiku North America Board of Directors. She has published more than 900 poems and four chapbooks. Her haiku collection, highway of sleeping towns, was accorded a 2016 Touchstone Distinguished Books Award.

About the Winners

Debbie Strange

Debbie Strange is a word weaver who composes tanka, haiku, senryu, and tanshi that reflect her reverence for nature. She has published two books of poetry, A Year Unfolding: Haiku and Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads, and her award-winning poems have appeared in a variety of publications. She is a resident artist for hedgerow: a journal of small poems.

Tom Brinck

Tom Brinck is the creator of the SciFaiku poetry form and author of the SciFaiku Manifesto. Both haiku and not haiku, SciFaiku infuses short form poetry with technology and a futuristic vision. He lives and works in Silicon Valley, where he leads multidisciplinary teams in designing innovative user experiences. Tom is also on the board of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.

Simon Hanson

Simon Hanson’s haiku are informed by Queensland’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and rainforest. He is co-author of Ancient Bloodlines: Australian Collaborative Rengay, and his work has been recognized across the globe, including with the Jane Reichhold Haiku Prize and the 2016 Snapshot Press eChapbook Award for Desert Stones. He is secretary of the Australian Haiku Society.

Prior Publication

  • Debbie Strange, "bioluminescence", Seashores, Volume 2, April 2019
  • Simson Hanson, "moonless night", Shamrock #35, 2016
  • LeRoy Gorman, "watching stars", Eye to the Telescope, Issue 1, May 2011
  • C.R. Harper, "down to earth", Star*Line, Fall 2017
  • Darell Lindsey, "harvest moon", Scifaikuest, 2009

About the contest

IDEA invited submissions to this haiku contest in April 2019. There were 970 submissions from 198 poets. The winning selections were scored by the three-judge panel.

Thanks for the help!

This collection was made possible thanks to promotional boosts from the Haiku Society of America, The Haiku Foundation, the New Zealand Poetry Society, Duotrope, Winning Writers, and My Haiku Pond.