February 2013 NaHaiWriMo

Back in February of 2011, Michael Dylan Welch, created the NaHaiWriMo daily haiku writing challenge on Facebook, as a way of encouraging haiku poets to develop a daily writing habit. The response was overwhelming!

Although originally conceived of as a one-time 28 day challenge, due to popular demand, NaHaWriMo has continued daily, with different haiku poets providing the prompts,  since February 2011. (I was the May 2011 prompter.) The number of participants has grown to over 1200; they range from new haiku poets, to those who have been writing for decades. All are welcome (there are newcomers all the time), and the NaHaiWriMo community is very supportive. This will be my third year participating. I will posting my haiku on the NaHaiWriMo FB wall, the HSA Oregon FB wall, and also here on my blog.

Michael has created a NaHaiWriMo website to provide  information about the challenge, including how to participate. February attracts the greatest number of participants, and the first four prompts have already been posted. (Prompts are generally posted one day in advance, to accomodate those in other time zones. This is an international community.)

Hope to see you there!

With Cherries on Top

If it hadn’t been for discovering NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) in February 2011, it’s likely that I’d still be writing haiku on the back of grocery store receipts and index cards. What a wonderful haiku community Michael Dylan Welch has created! I’m pleased to be part of this first showcase of haiku, put together from a selection of the August 2012 NaHaiWriMo prompts and responses. I was the Day 25 prompter (in honor of my father’s birthday), and got to select my favorites from that day for inclusion in the collection. In addition, the following haiku of mine were selected to appear:

leaving home
my first taste
of chili peppers
(Day 15 prompt: “chili pepper”, selected by Paul David Mena)

buying time
we feed the meter
another coin
(Day 26 prompt: “time”, selected by Jessica Tremblay)

blue moon
a half-remembered story
from long ago
(Day 31 prompt: “moonviewing”, selected by Alex Benedict)

The entire collection, With Cherries on Top, can be downloaded (for free!) from here.

31 Days 31 Prompters

I can’t resist a good writing challenge. For the month of August, NaHaiWriMo will have 31 different prompters in 31 days. To add to the temptation, there is even the possibility of an e-book being compiled at the end of the month, from each prompters’ favorite responses. In any event, I’ve taken enough of a break this summer from writing haiku. Time to dive right back into it!

You can read more about the challenge in this Facebook note, from NaHaWriMo founder Michael Dylan Welch.

Poet Showcase: Michael Dylan Welch

Name: Michael Dylan Welch
Born in Watford, England, and grew up in England, Ghana, Australia, and then Canada. Now living in Sammamish, Washington.

Blogs: www.graceguts.com




(among others)

How do you know Cara? NaHaiWriMo, Seabeck, HSA, etc.

How long have you been writing poetry? Since I was a child. I’ve also been writing haiku since I was a teenager, starting in 1976.

What kind of poetry do you write? Haiku, senryu, tanka, and longer poetry (mostly free-form), plus American Sentences and my neon buddha poems (which are short like haiku, but I don’t consider most of them to be haiku).

Please share a poem:

The Clarinet

First published in Mosaic #28, 1988, page 82 (University of California, Riverside). Also published in Sand Hill Review #4, Spring 2003, page 39.

A Londoner with
plays amiable
the Royal Festival,
command performance
His hatovercoatclarinet
are worn,
and the tired case lies
where naked
The music
across the Thames
through thin
and when the concert
waltz like the river by
to the sound
of a dreamy

A is for Apple

One challenge complete, another just beginning. February 1 marks the first anniversary of NaHaiWriMo. Although I’ve stepped out now and then to recharge my haiku-writing batteries, I have been fairly consistent about writing a haiku a day since last February. How do I love NaHaiWriMo? Let me count the ways… since then I have begun to feel more confident in writing haiku, made many haiku friends both online and in person, attended two haiku conferences and the annual Seabeck retreat, branched out and begun writing the related forms of tanka, haibun, senryu, and kyoka, had many publishing successes and contest placements, added dozens of books and journals to my haiku library, but most of all, have begun to feel like a valued member of the haiku community.

If you’ve been thinking of taking part in NaHaiWriMo, but not sure about the time commitment, the good news is that whether you choose to write one haiku, or all twenty-nine, you can still be part of the experience. More information about NaHaiWriMo can be found on Michael Dylan Welch’s NaHaiWriMo website.

And now, with no further ado, my first February 2012 NaHaWriMo haiku, as we work our way through the alphabet:

mid-winter blues
reaching for a red apple
on a gray morning

Haiku North America- Day 2

Starting on Day 2, I realized that what I really needed was a strategy not only to keep from overload, but also to maximize my experience. I have to admit that sleeping in was a huge temptation, but  I didn’t make all the effort to come to the conference just to catch up on my sleep! So with that in mind, I attended the 8 a.m. session of “Tai Chi Ch’uan– Waking Your Haiku Mind”, led by Don Baird. Now I’ve been doing Tai Chi for awhile, but I picked up two major tips that may seem totally obvious, but no one had ever told them to me before. The first was not to lock my knees while doing Tai Chi, something I discovered I do automatically, because I am thinking so hard about my breathing, and what my hands should be doing. The second was to start all movements with the legs; outwardly, that probably wouldn’t even be noticeable to someone looking on, but it makes a big difference in ease of movement. Afterwards, we wrote haiku, inspired by lovely photos taken by Don that were spread around the room.

slow exhale
at the tip of my finger
a butterfly

The conference officially began with opening remarks by Michael Dylan Welch, and a round robin reading of the HNA conference anthology Standing Still. You can read the intro to the anthology here, and a sampling of haiku from it (mine is the 3rd down) here.

Then the hard choices really began in earnest. With three choices for the first session, I opted to attend “Monophilia: The History and Practice of One-Line Haiku in English”, where Jim Kacian did an excellent session on “the two-handed backhand of haiku”, to use his tennis analogy. I have yet to write a monoku myself– my next challenge, I guess– but have been enjoying reading them.

With no break, the next session I attended was “Celebrating 20 Years: Rengay Workshop”, presented by Garry Gay, where we got an intro to writing rengay, and received worksheets for writing 2 and 3 person rengay. We learned that while a rengay required adherence to a particular theme, it also needed to progress through space and time, with shifting points of view. Afterward, over lunch, five of us began attempting our first ever rengay (using the 3 person form), and got a respectable start on it.

After lunch, there was the first panel discussion, of “What Makes Canadian Haiku Canadian”, chaired by Terry Ann Carter, and with panelists Bruce Ross, Jessica Tremblay, and Michael Dylan Welch, where we learned more about haiku on the other side of the border.

We then proceeded to the Monorail station, and rode downtown, where we split into groups to see the sights. I saw Pike Place Market first, followed by the Seattle Art Museum, and had lunch with three others at the Copacabana, a Bolivian restaurant by the Market. We had to do a bit of power walking to catch the last monorail back so we could attend a haibun reading, featuring (among many others) Cor van den Heuvel reading from A Boy’s Seasons: Haibun Memoirs, and Eve Luckring’s video renku. I’ve been playing around with the haibun form a bit, and have five haibun that will shortly appear in Frogpond (2), Notes From the Gean (1), A Hundred Gourds (1), and VoiceCatcher6 (1).

I rounded out my evening with a panel discussion about “Developing Haiku Book Manuscripts”, chaired by Michael Dylan Welch, and with panelists: Jim Kacian, Ce Rosenow, Charles Trumball, and Don Wentworth. This left me with lots of food for thought, as I hope to put a chapbook together someday. This is not so much because I think the world needs another haiku book, but because I have so many haiku kicking around in my various spiral notebooks, and on my computer, that I feel a compelling need to organize them in some cohesive way.

To be continued…

Haiku North America- Day 1

I got lucky this year. The HSA 2nd quarterly meeting, and the biennial Haiku North America conference were practically in my backyard. Okay, maybe not in my backyard, but in reasonable driving distance (Bend and Seattle, respectively). Now I didn’t do anything cool like take photos this time around, but I do have the conference program, and thought I would do a post-mortem of the conference. As Michael Dylan Welch described it in his introductory remarks, trying to take in everything at the conference was a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. Besides the socializing, there were back-to-back sessions all day, every day, and often 2 or 3 presentations running simultaneously, necessitating difficult choices.

Upon arriving at the Inn at Queen Anne, I noticed two women on laptops in the garden, and speculated that they might be other conference attendees. I was right– they were Melissa Allen, and Debbie Kolodji, both of whom I more or less recognized from pictures I had seen of them online. Melissa has a tremendous series of posts on her “Red Dragonfly” blog about the conference, starting with her first post: “Poets in the Garden”, in which yours truly is featured.  🙂 Also, don’t miss her other posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 (the day I missed). Reading them is almost as good as being there! Another great blog write-up of the conference,  is “Old Pond Comics”, featuring the very delightful adventures of Kaeru at HNA, in comic form, by Jessica Tremblay.

Day 1 was really a blur for me, as I met so many other haiku poets, many of whom I knew from online, and struggled to keep their names straight. There was a ginko walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park, where I started working on my kukai submission, dinner, a dessert reception, and an open reading of haiku and senryu. I must admit to being a little intimidated, and almost didn’t participate in the haiku/senryu reading, but I’m glad I finally worked up the courage to read from my NaHaiWriMo posts (one haiku from each month). The atmosphere was totally welcoming. I see from the schedule that I missed the last session and the late night rengaywriting. Now having driven up, and being in my usual time zone, I can hardly plead that I was jet lagged, but still, I felt like I needed to regroup before the early morning Tai Chi session. To be continued…

urban kukai
we talk our way through
the intersection

NaPoWriMo Recap

With National Poetry  Month officially over, I figure it’s time for a recap.

On the NaHaiWriMo front, I completed the challenge, sometimes even posting more than one haiku a day. All of my haiku can be read on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page. In fact, even after three consecutive months of daily haiku-ing, some of us have not yet had enough, so NaHaiWriMo will be continuing throughout the month of May. And to add to the fun, I have been asked to be the guest prompter for May! All my prompts will be posted to the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page, as well as here on this blog. If you have not yet had the chance to join in the fun, check it out. And if you’re new to haiku, a great place to get started is by reading this article by Michael Dylan Welch, the founder and guiding force behind NaHaiWriMo.

I wasn’t quite as prolific this time around, with my fifth Poetic Asides PAD challenge. I only had time to write to about half of the prompts, and I posted even fewer to this blog. Still, I got some reasonable poetry out of it, and have enough poems to choose from, to submit for consideration to the Top Fifty List.