The Uist Haiku Project

Uist Haiku is a collection of short poems (“haiku”) and accompanying images (“haiga”), focused on life in Uist.

The poems and associated images will be made available through the UAA website and social media. We will also produce at least one printed booklet of poems and images

The project is managed by the Uist Writers Group and the Uist Arts Association. The project will initially run for a year,  beginning in April 2021,


What’s a Haiku?

Haiku originated as one of the forms of Japanese poetry. Traditionally, its length is 17 syllables, arranged in lines of 5-7-5 syllables, and having a thematic reference to nature. However, haikus written in English tend to be more variable in length (to account for the different length of English syllables) and in theme.

For our purposes, we’ll consider a haiku to be any poem of 2 or 3 short lines and which share the haiku style.

The best way to understand the nature of haiku is to read some. Here are some suggested online haiku and haiku-writing guides. But here are 6 basic rules for writing a Haiku (taken from Jane Reichhold’s guide):

  1. Write in three lines that are short, long short without counting syllables
  2. Make sure the haiku has a fragment and a phrase
  3. Have some element of nature [includes human nature and activities] 
  4. Use verbs in the opresent tense
  5. Avoid capital letters or punctuation
  6. Avoid rjhymes



What’s a Haiga?

Haiga is the Japanese name for a painting (often by the poet) that sometimes accompanies a haiku.Our resource page lists some examples.

We are looking for an image which illustrate or comment on the poems. Or which might inspire someone else to write a poem.  A good image might have some narrative content or some specific emotive quality. It might display some contrasting elements. Or it might have an unsettling, mysterious aspect.

Your image can include the text of your haiku or you can supply the text separatrely.Experiment!

The images can be photographs, original graphics or images of your own artworks (eg photographs/scans of drawing, paintings, sculpture).

We are also intested in historical photographs of island life.


What’s a Gaiku?

Gaiku are Haiku which are written in Gaelic. See our resources page for more information

We are hoping that the short-form of the poems will be a good fit for the old local traditions of Gaelic township verse and semi-improvised waulking songs. Similarly, traditional Gaelic proverbs and other Uist-specific Gaelic idioms have their own specific set of metaphors and cultural references. We hope it will prove interesting to contrast these with poems on similar daily life topics within the same environment but from Uist residents with an English-speaking background.

How can I participate?

You must be a resident or former resident of Uist (defined broadly as Berneray to Barra).

You can submit poems, images or both. All must be your own work, or submitted on behalf of the owner. Poems may be in English or Gaelic.

Please submit your images in the jpeg format. We will optimise these for web display and will get in touch with you if we need a higher quality version for use in our printed booklets.

All submissions will be looked at by our editor before they appear on our website. Submissions will be used, with accreditation, on the UAA website, UAA social media accounts and in UAA print publications.


Any questions?

Contact us at