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!
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
sleepless . .
the path from my bed
to the Pleiades
the secret door
to grandpa’s room
in grandma’s closet
my past fills
a stranger’s car
my rebellion taped inside
a cardboard box
the painted outline
of a missing tool
a red mark
on her test paper . . .
Michael Dylan Welch
as her corsage
Haiku Elvis—Carlos Colon
the sound of moonbeams,
Ted van Zutphen
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:
a puppy looks at me
for a nod
a nesting moon rusts
on cloud mist
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
…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 www.nahaiwrimo.com
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.
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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.
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)
and i but a wave leaping
to touch the sky
#28/02/12 (haiku generator)
arrows seduce, strut
deliveryman quacks, meaty
pure dogs extrude, cool
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.
ticklish below his navel
the Center of Man
through a wig
grazing her sparse brow
winds blast to dust
its face and mine
his unshod feet
of her perfumed tears
as it uncoils
a thickened queue
at the quay
not quite the red roses
Sierra Madre mist
our highways to nowhere
doused with stain remover
i lose count
his icy voice
on a glass
unfolds his hat
a falcon soars
hers or a mourning dove’s?
waitingtobouncetoaboil stone soup
NaHaiWriMo Fb wall #06/03/12 (prompt: food by Judith Gorgone)
closer to nothing
under its shrinking shadow–
Ooops!! 5-7-5, sorry Michael! Didn’t mean to. But just to share for now…
*brick and mortar tower in my hometown where according to legend, a Spanish royal guard could ride on horseback through the stairs inside of it, bearing the red and gold colors to the third window. This baroque tower built on ‘obras pias’ (alternate tribute of hard labor by the natives) in the 1800s completed toward the end of that century, was known to be the tallest in the archipelago so much so that its domed tip could be seen towns away and the toll of its enormous bells could be heard amid the raging South China sea. Its top window broke during a massive earthquake in the 1930s (can’t recall the exact date) with its dome humbled onto the fracture. With each earthquake, quite frequent in the Philippines, the dome would be crunched lower and lower until another strong one pushed it off its precarious perch to fall on the ground. Ruins of its first window from its base of brick and mortar are all that remains.
the lotus the pond
and the sky
on tear-stained cheeks
cleansing over and over
March 30 NahaiWriMo profile (facebook)
Wish you were here!
Today, I’ll be with Vicki McCullough, Jessica Tremblay and Angela Naccarato–we of the Vancouver Haiku Group–and YES, Michael Dylan Welch at Van Dusen Gardens here in Vancouver, BC for the opening of Sakura Japan Days. We have a table for haiku enthusiasts or for those just curious at the Floral Hall. We expect to follow ginko walks with Michael as well as lead some ourselves. He will be on stage for a haiku reading tomorrow. I’ll be there again tomorrow. We also expect to pin on a wall curtain selected haiku we’ve written on Japan.
Wish you were here!
wondering who you are
eclipse–she changes her alias
in the morning
her puppet voice
in person his voice thinner
The National Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) continues on the facebook site. Causing such frenzy among haiku writers of all stages–the masters and beginners encouraging and liking each other–its admin decided to keep it going. Michael Dylan Welch created the magnificant site in February. Alan Summers took over last month (March) to give the daily prompts, perks with great uplifiting words on the haiku and the poet, and some instant workshop with lessons. Melissa Allen (note my badge: ‘She, Red Dragonly, is my friend’) tackles this month’s prompts, as well as the rest, and I’m sure more of what often made the postings rather ‘wild’. Go get a facebook account and join in!