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:
reaching for a red apple
on a gray morning
For the day 5 prompt of the Poet Asides PAD Chapbook Challenge, I wrote a shadorma, since I was in the mood for counting syllables again. The shadorma is a 6-line poem with syllable counts 3-5-3-3-7-5. The prompt was to write a “broken poem”, and I immediately thought of the pioneer cemetery I visited last month, when I was at Seabeck for a haiku retreat. It took a few tries to make the syllable count come out right, but I finally got it.
the last rays
of afternoon sun
pieces of headstone lying
amongst wild salal
I keep thinking I should do a post on the Seabeck haiku retreat, as I have been home for a week and a half already! Seabeck– where to start? Thanks to Google, I knew exactly what it would look like, so there was no surprise there, but pulling into a parking space in front of the main lodge and seeing a gardener actually using a rake instead of a leaf blower to remove leaves from the steps of the porch immediately told me I was in the right place. It was a wonderful long weekend of writing renga, rengay, and haiku, socializing, buying piles of cool new haiku books, eating, taking ginko walks, visiting an old (circa mid-1800’s) cemetery, walking on the beach, hanging out on a rock and watching birds criss cross the sky above the lagoon, learning to identify a cormorant, eating some more, walking some more, listening to presentations, participating in my first anonymous haiku workshop, leading my first anonymous haiku workshop, making weathergrams, making various kinds of books, including one with Japanese stab binding (thanks to the expert instructions and patience of Tanya McDonald), meeting lots of new people, and even learning most of their names. Everything was wonderful, including, surprisingly, the weather, so now I am hooked, and plan to make it a yearly event! I can’t say for sure what the highlight for me was, but certainly one of the highlights, and the icing on the cake to an already lovely weekend, was being selected by judge Susan Constable to receive the First Prize Francine Porad Haiku Award! I feel both honored and humbled, and it only serves to make me want to write more, more, more! 🙂