for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

How I tackled Alan Summers’ prompts at NaHaiWriMo last May

Here’s a week of responses to Alan Summers’ prompts at the NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing MOnth, which Michael Dylan Welch created at Facebook three years ago). YES, definitely, a daily challenge to write haiku has cranked up my mind or better yet, like a fit body, oiled it to resiliency. Writing with a group on cyberspace without the politics of bodily presence and its complications of commitments, has also made me fearless about risking my inadequacies–this turned out to be the secret to finding out who I am as a haiku poet as my lines do reveal. But who this is, until now, I can’t put it in a word…perhaps you can! Here then for you to enjoy, I hope.

#05/07/13 (green/gold/gone )

lunar eclipse—
his eyes on her frayed
jeans front

shattered eye what’s left of her mirror

gold leaf saint—
his indifferent stare

#05/06/13 (found as implied)

petal gust–
the street flutist’s
scrambled notes

under her hat…
the missing stubbles

tunnel spigot …the broken loo

fan tail on second thought

pointed fingers his guilt in black nails

#05/05/13 (echo)

through a cross stitch
of their argument…
her echo

spring echo–
the baby confronts
a Buddha

he smiles to his own smile
his other smile

#05/04/13 (den)

the den mother’s back…
murmuring cubs

den of iniquity he finds his own sky

reeking of prey the fox’s den

#05/03/13 (curve)

the curve in her thighs wind chart

the river curves
out by rote

curved furrows a worried moon

05/02/13 (blue)

blue dawn…
the rain’s last phrase
on a glass pane

05/01/13 (asperity)

next I look…
the staccato scratching
of his rake

tea rings in my cup the grumbling darkness

on gravel
a day moon’s


June 11, 2013 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Haiku favorites of mine and of other poets from the 2013 NaHaiWriMo month

Dear followers and readers,

I’d like to apologize for a ‘long absence’ here. I could give you a thousand reasons but none would make up for the time that had flown by. In that flow, however, I had gathered more skies, more suns rising and setting, stars, fallen petals and laughing fishes, herons and gulls and countless sighs. And in them or because of such harvest, my haiku, tanka, haibun, and haiga have taken wing onto wind paths I couldn’t have imagined. Most of all, perhaps because I persisted, my haiku writing has grown stronger limbs with daily prompts at NaHaiWriMo (NHWM). Herewith then, like a ‘take home’ gift from a long trip are haiku by me and my choices by other poets during last year’s NHWM anniversary when founder, Michael Dylan Welch gives the daily prompt. He made us chose  favorites from ours and those of other poets–these are mine, of which I hope yours, too. Thanks so much for being with me all these years and for those who simply stumbled into here, welcome!


#04/02/13 (spice) 

First off, I’d like to thank you, Michael, for NaHaiWriMo, and for this year’s month, your concrete prompts that are so everyday, it was a challenge yet a joy to see them with a new eye. Second,  I’d like to say , “Many thanks, Pamela and Carole for choosing one each of my haiku for your favorite!!” Third, I wish to thank the many poets, a lot of them I’ve written with a haiku daily here (except for a few weeks that I couldn’t) for the past three years, flourishing in our community. Such joy to find not just a few of yours that resonate, nay, sun-splash on my way everyday. I’ve learned so much about and from you.

And now because I’m always overwhelmed and overjoyed, I cannot limit my choices to just one, of course,  except for mine. But I have gathered those of others as if they were mine, too! Indeed, as in one of the resources you posted here, Michael, haiku binds because we open up ourselves to and for its  lines. What greater bind is there than one that’s straight from one’s heart (spirit) and into another’s and into one’s own from another’s.


A favorite from mine though there’s about a dozen in my shortlist!


in curry rice, a past

she cracks open


Of others and like the process for mine, dozens in my shortlist!


orange blossom –

lifting her burqa

just enough


Eider Green


sleepless . .

the path from my bed

to the Pleiades


Sandi Pray


the secret door

to grandpa’s room

in grandma’s closet

wild roses


Stevie Strang


garage sale

my past fills

a stranger’s car


Michele Harvey



my rebellion 
taped inside 

a cardboard box


Scott Abeles            


father’s garage

the painted outline

of a missing tool


Bret Mars


a red mark

on her test paper . . .

Indian summer


Michael Dylan Welch



as her corsage


Haiku Elvis—Carlos Colon



the sound of moonbeams,

playing rocks


Ted van Zutphen

June 3, 2013 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is ‘zoka’? (Prompt at NaHaiWriMo: My response, added comment and Alan Summers’ reply)




15/10/12 (prompt by Scott Abeles: zoka)

Zoka is defined as “the process of creation, transformation, and destruction in nature”. The presence of “zoka” separates “object-based” haiku from “activity-based” haiku. Indeed, some argue that an object-based, zoka-free poem is not, by definition, a haiku.

Not quite sure I get it but here are my attempts at a response to the prompt:

sniveling wind
a puppy looks at me
for a nod

oak shadow—
a nesting moon rusts
on cloud mist

autumn stillness
a doddering mosquito’s
(Comment I added) 

Honestly, the prompt almost made me sleepless as the term, ‘zoka’, intimidated me but I wrote three, in case, any might be the right response to the prompt. This happens every time I’m confronted with Japanese terms. And yet, as I’ve been resistantly dealing with my doubts whether or not I’ve been writing haiku, I realized like the other evening, some of what I’ve tried to put in lines are quite ‘zoka’.

Learning more of this poetry form is constantly challenging given the many ‘voices’ that spangle the haiku-sphere. I do read and hear them as ‘voices’ rather than this and that ‘form/term’ because as in any art, each line for me, is of the writer’s/artist’s world.

Again, this too, had confused me when first reading haiku. It was a challenge to be ‘objective’ (stripped of the personal or hints of it as perhaps I misunderstood), a view quite alien to Poetry as I know. But I’ve persisted and still do bravely write haiku the way I filter a seeming sea of knowledge on it from a mosaic of my own lenses. I wonder though if it’s valid, ‘voice in haiku, I mean.

(Alan Summers’ reply)

Yes, all debates such as this do enlighten greatly. Thanks for the discussion. And thanks for the challenge, Scott!

Honestly, the prompt almost made me sleepless as the term, ‘zoka’, intimidated me but I wrote three, in case, any might be the right response to the prompt.

It made you write some good haiku using that prompt. Sometimes too easy prompts do not push us into stretching.

You should never feel uncomfortably intimidated, just enough to stretch those writing muscles.

In fact I’ve observed you, and many others, become incredible writers of haiku, in various styles, through NaHaiWriMo prompts, thanks to MDW!

This happens every time I’m confronted with the Japanese terms. And yet, as i’ve been resistantly dealing with my doubts whether or not I’ve been writing haiku, I realized like the other evening, some of what I’ve tried to put in lines are quite ‘zoka’.”

Exactly! What’s good about the NaHaiWriMo page is that we are all in this together, and out of that support there has been some incredible work.

When I did my recent prompt courtesy of MDW, I was astonished how many fine, not just good, but very fine haiku I had to reduce to the nominated number for the forthcoming anthology. And it was a difficult prompt too!

You can always use Google or Bing to search these terms out. I have a huge database backed up on my computer for the benefit of my workshops.

You can always email or FB message if you are not sure. We are always learning, so I keep up to date as much as possible, and have a useful set of resources.

Learning more of this poetry form is constantly challenging given the many ‘voices’ that spangle the haiku-sphere. I do read and hear them as ‘voices’ rather than this and that ‘form/term’ because as in any art, each line is of the writer’s world.”


Again, this too, had confused me when first reading haiku. It was a challenge to be ‘objective’ (stripped of personal perception as perhaps I misunderstood), a view quite alien to Poetry as I know. But I’ve persisted and still do write haiku the way I filter a seeming sea of knowledge on it from a mosaic of my own lenses.”

You have a remarkable style and voice in haiku, it’s a privilege to know you and read your work.

I wonder though if it’s valid, ‘voice in haiku, I mean. Yes, all debates such as this do enlighten greatly. Thanks!

Having a voice in poetry is what we all aspire to, and so I’d say we can also have our own voice in haiku. After all Basho wanted his students (and in a way, we are his students too) to go their own way in haikai literature, not to copy what he had done.

We don’t know what he’d like or dislike but I think many of us would be both surprised and delighted that he’d like certain developments and progressions in haiku. Alan Gibbons

January 26, 2013 Posted by | background, comment, haiku | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

An invitation to NaHaiWriMo…

…at the NaHaiWriMo Facebook site: In exactly eight days, the shortest month, February, begins. Aptly so timed when it started two years ago, National Haiku Writing Month (NHWM) as an event for the short poetic form, will be in full blast once again! As if we, who joined the first time, have let up because we haven’t long after February was over and the rest of the year unfolded and on to now. 

Long after we’ve taken on the challenge of writing a haiku a day, we kept on at the NHWM Facebook site. From the rather small group we’ve started we’re almost a thousand now, I believe, that have turned into an enthusiastic and supportive community. I’m not only glad I stayed, I’m hooked!

haiku has not only intensified my writing, it has sharpened my senses to everything around me: the wind, the sky, clouds and the moon, the scent of evenings, the feel of wings, a slight twitch in an eye, a pasted wisp of hair on wan temples, etc. etc. of hummingbirds and  raccoons and failed meringue. This concentrated poetic form has helped me see through ambiguities faster than I used to. And the wonder never stops with each three lines or one-or two-line haiku that I compose. It’s not an exclusive experience, too. Each poet responding to a prompt everyday could attest to this.  And by the way, midway last year, Michael Dylan Welch put together our first anthology, “With Cherries on Top”, which I had posted here.

I invite you then, better yet, I challenge you to take it up; like I did, just take the plunge and see where it takes you. Check it out at

With Cherries on Top Cover - Small

January 25, 2013 Posted by | culturati news/views | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

when do I see/beauty I am not? (my haiku in English, French and Romanian)

when do I see
beauty I am not?
budding rose

quand verrai-je
la beauté que je ne suis pas?
bourgeon de rose

când voi vedea
frumuseţea care nu sunt eu?
boboc de trandafir

Translations in French and Romanian by Virginia Popescu at Virginia’s Selected Paintings and NaHaiWriMo #23/06/12 (prompt: mirror)

for Pierre-Auguste Renoir :
The Toilette, Woman combing her hair. c.1907-1908.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘twilight rain’, my second haiku award from the 2012 Haiku Now Contest

twilight rain
the blue heron mid-lake
somehow smaller

Alegria Imperial (Canada)
Commended, Traditional haiku
The Haiku Foundation’s 2012 Haiku Now Contest

…my first, ‘cherry blossoms’, from the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossoms Festival Haiku Invitational. Both awards with single entries. I credit this award, a real surprise–honestly unexpected not even hopeful, knowing who would participate in it–to the daily exercise I’ve hung on to at the NaHaiWriMo facebook site. The practice of writing haiku-a-day with prompts has greatly improved my understanding of haiku, hence, how I write it.

April 19, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

my anthologized poem featured as guest poet at Prose Posies for National Poetry Month

Thanks so much to Cara Holman for inviting me as Guest Poet at her blog, ‘Prose Posies’, for National Poetry Month on April 10, coincidentally the date when I first wrote this poem as a not-quite-sonnet, which I later worked on for submission to the Magnapoets Anthology. (Click on Prose Posies in my blogroll for Cara’s wonderful page of me and for the other daily guest poets).

To this We Wake


Scraps of purple on winter dawns

slung on arms of mornings

a sun awaiting for us

in between strutting seagulls

pigeons braiding shadows–

we snuggle.


We trace our days in dreams we

birth at dawn

when swatches of light

tickle us out to walk

on grounds of endearments our steps

have marked engraved by winds.


We step on

shredded blooms the seasons

gift us, stealing kisses, time on

halved imperfect whispers, wishes we rip

off the day, their ends we spangle on

skies, our secret into stars.


Yet we wake to another day– 

what lies deeper than frost farther

than slumber, closer

to the core where

seasons sleep: to this, to this

we always wake.


Butterfly Away, Magnapoets Anthology Series 3, 2011


About Me from Cara’s questionnaire: (in parenthesis, what I wanted to add but changed my mind as my words started to tangle)

Alegria ‘Alee’ Imperial

Originally from Manila, Philippines now from Vancouver, Canada, (quite a simple deceiving shift of footstool in the globe)

I met you at NaHaiWriMo (where we daily shared a haiku for the same prompt for a year among many other poets. Touched by your spirit, I left parts of me in brief phrases on your space.)

Seriously into poetry in 2005, (shortly after workshop courses in fiction writing, years after writing nothing of me in media work and journalism, years of dreaming only in verse)  

(I used to write more lyrical prose,) now mostly haiku, some tanka, and recently, haibun and also free verse when all three fail

April 16, 2012 Posted by | lyric poetry, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My first nine haiku at NaHaiWriMo

My first nine posts at NaHaiWriMo written off site and off prompt. It’s been a year and I’m still writing a haiku a day (no at least two now, more the past year). It’s been a really productive year. Haiku not only instilled the discipline in focus but especially in habit that I so needed. There’s more to say about NaHaiWriMo but for now, enjoy this first blush…


National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo)–that’s what’s going on. I don’t know if we have to sign up and join a ‘marathon’ but I’ve taken it up anyway. What I have here for the past nine days though isn’t honest, I mean, not fresh–freshened up is more like it. I scrounged around for them from rejects of submissions and buffed them up. And so, the kigo is mixed–there’s autumn, winter, spring and summer here. Still, I know some of them or most of them aren’t ‘good haiku’ but like most of what I write, they transform into something else after a while. I don’t really write a haiku a day; when I do, it’s often up to ten or more. So, here are my take for NaHaiWriMO counted from day one. I hope to make the kigo right for the month of February in the next two weeks.

empty nest

View original post 75 more words

March 16, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

my stone soup haiku as Carlos Colon ‘concretized’ it (yet another NaHaiWriMo moment)

watingtobouncetoaboil stone soup ….my haiku at NaHaiWriMo in response to the food prompt of Judith Gorgone had so stimulated responses from fellow haiku writers, some on what to throw into the soup, but most especially on how the haiku might be turned into a concrete (innovative) poem by multi-published haiku poet, Carlos Colon. I had earlier posted my interpretation of a suggestion he posted on the comment space for my haiku at NaHaiWriMo and here two posts down. Here’s his, or what I had imagined but couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. I just love it, and I’m sure you would, too!  An extra note on what happens at NaHaiWriMo: gained friends like Carlos whom I wouldn’t have met in an ordinary ‘mortal ‘ way. Friends who care genuinely. Or would this sort of collaboration have happened? Gratitude, Carlos, is a word that means much more it reads or sounds.

March 11, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From NaHaiWriMo: my random February haiku selection (the first year anniversary)

We, members of the NaHaiWriMo community at facebook had a blast last month to celebrate one year of writing a haiku a day. Yes, It’s been a year since. Most of us have stayed (I took a break twice for a few weeks). I can say how much I’ve learned about haiku while drawing out my ‘haiku voice’. What worked for me is its kukai-like format where we responded to a prompt everyday. But unlike the other kukai I join (Shiki, Caribbean and Sketchbook) that gives some time for a writer to compose a haiku, at NaHaiWriMo, the window is only 24 hours. And once a post is shared, the reading as well as the ‘like’ or the silence and a comment, if merited, also appears just as fast. The energy has worked for me. I’ve gained the discipline I’ve always worked at. I’ve gained friends and kindred spirits, too! Most of all, I know more of haiku now than the years I tried to learn it on my own. Above all, I think I’m writing better haiku; proof of it is the increasing acceptance of my submissions in haiku journals. Do this random selection of my ‘anniversary posts’ last month on prompts by Michael Dylan Welch read better? Oh yes, I haven’t pared down my posts to one, but to two haiku from the three and more everyday last year. Honestly, I haven’t reviewed my files for fear of an avalanche! I hope you enjoy this selection and if you do, come over at NaHaiWriMo and give it a try. You can blame me if you stay.

#29/02/12 (leap/leap year)

spring gust

and i but a wave leaping

to touch the sky


#28/02/12 (haiku generator)

haiku gen:

arrows seduce, strut

deliveryman quacks, meaty

pure dogs extrude, cool


deliveryman struts

into a flock of ducks

missing zip code


#27/02/12 (bad, ‘huh!’ haiku)

email subject ‘none’

squiggles on blank screen

dancing a Swan Lake

…and I had the gall to submit these to Peggy Willis Lyles (The Heron’s Nest) who sweetly sent them back with a note, ‘pass on this one’ and more to succeeding submission calls (without fail) always 15 per suite of these ‘huh’ or ‘yikes’ haiku, none of which worked until she died.

#24/02/12 (x)


ticklish below his navel

the Center of Man


#23/02/12 (wig)

through a wig

grazing her sparse brow

first smile


#21/02/12 (umbrella)


this tight

our crossed-eyes 


#20/02/12 (talus)


winds blast to dust

its face and mine


#19/902/12 (sandals)

his unshod feet

the redolence

of her perfumed tears


#18/02/12 (rattle)

still bush

a rattling

as it uncoils


#17/02/12 (queue)


a thickened queue

at the quay


#14/02/12 (nachos)

Nacho Supreme

not quite the red roses

she wanted


#13/02/12 (mountain)

Sierra Madre mist

our highways to nowhere


#12/02/12 (laundry)

white lies

doused with stain remover

i lose count


#09/02/12 (ice)

so hollow

his icy voice

on a glass


#08/02/12 (hat)

the mime

unfolds his hat

a falcon soars


#07/02/12 (grief)

lingering wail

hers or a mourning dove’s?


March 11, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment