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What is single-line poetry and what do we publish?

English-language haiku, tanka, and other short poems often have line breaks that create tercets, quatrains, quintets, or other line configurations. Japanese haiku, however, are often printed in a column to create a vertical single-line poem. The poem of a single line is not a new technique, but a traditional presentation of haiku made new again in English.

Unlike poetry with line breaks, single-line poetry does not rely on physical enjambment to enhance the meaning of the poem. As such, one-line poetry can have more than one break in syntax to create multiple meanings. Single-line poetry can be a slippery lizard or a long-necked swan. 

The single-line poetry published in whiptail includes monostich haiku, one-line tanka, poetic fragments, and one-line micropoems. The poems can be one word in length up to a column’s width, written horizontally, vertically, or as a concrete poem in any shape a line may take. When used, punctuation should be purposeful. No titles, please, except for sequences or multi-ku. 

What is NOT single-line poetry?

Single-line poetry is not a sentence of prose. Single-line poetry is not a multi-line poem placed onto one line. The form should serve a purpose in the delivery of the poem.


Single-line Poems:

Line” From A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch on

Single-line Haiku:

whiptail monoku series” articles at The Haiku Foundation by Kat Lehmann and Robin Smith

Haiku: Walking the Fine Line” by Kat Lehmann and Robin Smith

From One-line Poems to One-line Haiku Part One: The Invitation” by William J. Higginson

The Shape of Things to Come: Form Past and Future in Haiku” by Jim Kacian

one-line haiku” by Marlene Mountain

Monoku: Historical Perspective and Experimenting with Structural Style” by Pravat Kumar Padhy​

Travelling the single line of haiku” by Alan Summers

Nanoku (4 words or less including poemwords):

whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 5: As the Now Takes Hold (November 2022)

Single-line Tanka:


whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 5: As the Now Takes Hold (November 2022)

Vertical and Concrete Single-line Poems:

whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 7: Shape-Shifting (June 2023)

Sequences Using Single-lines:

Hatching a Kinetic Sculpture” a zipperku sequence by GRIX (Robin Smith) and Kat Lehmann


Into the Undefined” a zipperku sequence by GRIX (Robin Smith) and Kat Lehmann

Multi-ku Using Single-lines (some use obvious single lines and some do not but were included as there are so few examples of multi-ku):

Controlled Chaos” a series of Meandering Haiku by Robin Smith


Sudo-ku, a multi-haiku form created by Kat Lehmann


Trailblazers Contest 2023 Winners (John Pappas, GregoryPiko, Julie Schwerin)

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