Review: Haikubes

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , June 21st, 2011

by Kelly

by Kelly

I was very excited when I unwrapped my box of Haikubes!

What a perfect tool for undoing writer’s bloc, I thought. Or, I thought, what a fun conversation starter to haul out when friends come over.

The box is full of dice-like cubes. Most of the cubes are filled with words you can use to compose haiku. There are, though, two cubes that offer direction.

For example, to get the game going, you roll the “direction” cubes. You might end up with directions to write a haiku about “a vision for” “my romantic life.” Or maybe the directions will tell you to write a haiku about “a desire for” “my work life.”

However, shortly after opening my Haikubes and dumping them out all over the floor, I started to wonder what was going on with the word choices I was finding.

I kept picking up cubes, searching for words that would help me compose a haiku about “a reflection on” “my childhood”, but instead of finding anything that would help me craft a poem about my growing up years, I kept finding words like “anal” and “oozing” and “lurid.” Exactly what kind of childhood did the makers of Haikubes think I’d had???

Okay, okay. There were indeed plenty of words I could have used to write a haiku about my girlhood, like “brother” and “gleeful,” but after zeroing in on all the words I’ll call “suggestive,” I just couldn’t get my head out of the gutter!

And I get it. As a conversation starter, Haikubes is guaranteed to get a bunch of friends laughing. All it takes is a glass of wine to make the combination of the words “finger”, “ass,” and “ouch” seem outrageously funny.

But sitting at home, by myself, in my office, looking for a way out of my writer’s bloc, Haikubes just didn’t feel very accessible.

Or maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Maybe Haikubes did indeed get me out of my writer’s bloc funk. After all, here I am typing up words about it.

For me, the verdict is still out on Haikubes. I never was able to compose a haiku I liked with its cubes. So instead of sharing a haiku I wrote out of Haikubes, I’ll leave you with a picture of a bunch of the cubes and let you see if you can craft one you like.



  • 1

    Nice comcept but they could have chosen different words to make it family-friendly. It will be fun to play with friends. Cheers.

    Comment by Chris — June 21, 2011 @ 8:22 am

  • 2

    As a game I agree it sounds fun but I have always felt these random word generator methods of composing haiku play on many people’s perception of haiku as being strange disjointed koans. Here’s an example of the first one that came up for me from the haiku generator on They do offer the caveat calling it a “whimsical little pseudopoetry machine”…

    cackling abyss sails
    redly, abandonment pulls
    praying goats mutter

    I’ve also seen the refrigerator haiku word magnets with a couple dozen words on the ‘fridge that you can slide around and compose a daily ‘ku from.

    Comment by Michael Baribeau — June 23, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  • 3

    I agree with your comment, Michael, about haiku games extending the idea that haiku is an odd combination of words arranged simply to fit the correct syllable count — like as long as it’s 5-7-5 and “mysterious” it counts as haiku.

    But I must say, I am partial to magnetic haiku. Probably because it was invented right here in my hometown of Minneapolis.

    Plus, the word choices there (while limited, of course) aren’t as bizarre as what was in Haikubes.

    See review of magnetic haiku:

    See interview with inventor of magnetic haiku:

    Comment by Kelly — June 24, 2011 @ 4:10 am

  • 4

    I received my Haikubes today and am highly disappointed. I thought that whomever thought up this concept had a grasp of haiku and would’ve used season words (kigo) and words such as clouds, rain, etc that are found in traditional haiku. Maybe there’s a way to use a sharpie to add my own words! Too expensive for what the product is–hoped to use it as a family game but I’ve hidden it from the kids. Sigh.

    Comment by JC — July 31, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  • 5

    thank you for your post. i thought my 10yr old would like these…appreciate knowing that it comes w/ suggestive words i’d like to avoid exposing him too.

    Comment by kelly — November 28, 2012 @ 8:40 am

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