NaHaiWriMo

February 6, 2021

It’s already February 6, but if you haven’t started your haiku-a-day for National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo), it’s not too late to catch up!

First, go to NaHaiWriMo and have a look at the mind-bending number of options Michael Dylan Welch has provided there. If you’re overwhelmed, and not already a haiku pro, the Haiku Checklist offers a good introduction.

If you’re looking for prompts, Michael provides this month’s daily prompts on this Facebook page and you’re encouraged to share your haiku on the main NaHaiWriMo Facebook page (simply Create Post, type in your haiku, and click Post). (By the way, daily prompts are a year-round thing, with guest prompters each month. Many of the prompts from previous years have been archived on the Daily Prompts page and the remainder will be added, Michael assures us, eventually.)

Also note that there will be two global NaHaiWriMo poetry readings: Saturday, February 27, 2021, 6:00pm Pacific, and Sunday, February 28, 9:00am Pacific.

For more inspiration, listen in to Tom Maxedon’s NaHaiWriMo radio interview with Natalie Goldberg and Michael Dylan Welch talking about haiku.

Happy haiku-ing!

if it’s February…

February 1, 2020

This is a guest post by Michael Dylan Welch.

If it’s February 1, it must be time for National Haiku Writing Month. This year is NaHaiWriMo’s tenth anniversary, and it’s hard to believe it’s been thriving for a decade.

NaHaiWriMo was inspired by National Novel Writing Month. I first did NaNoWriMo in November of 2010, and thought at the time that there ought to be a national month for haiku and that February would be perfect — the shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry. The goal was to write at least one haiku a day for the entire month. And so I set up a website and a Facebook page and started spreading the word that we’d begin on February 1, 2011.

On that very first day, someone asked if there was a prompt they could follow, so I came up with “hands” as the first prompt, and we were off. Following the daily prompts was optional, but they provided inspiration for hundreds of people that first month.

At the end of February 2011, participants said they didn’t want to stop, so I’ve arranged for guest prompters each month since then. The NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook immediately became a year-round place for haiku inspiration — and of course you could also use the prompts to write any kind of poetry. The Facebook page now has more than 3,100 likes, with poets participating in many countries around the world. The #nahaiwrimo hashtag is also popular on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social media channels.

Since 2020 is our tenth anniversary year, I’d like to celebrate some highlights from our history.

The first thing that many people notice is our logo, with the numbers 5-7-5 with a red slash through them. Clicking that logo on the website leads to an essay on why counting 5-7-5 syllables is a myth for English-language haiku, despite how widespread that belief is. The logo is deliberately polemical, to make people think about how there are more important targets for haiku than just counting syllables — targets that are nearly never taught in schools and that are unknown to the general public. Counting syllables is the most trivial of haiku’s disciplines. I hope the logo (and the ensuing conversation) has done some good shaking up haiku misperceptions, though it has also had the effect of offending some people who remain attached to syllable counting.

In addition to the daily prompts, I started creating haiku-related memes. These sought to poke a bit of fun at haiku (and misperceptions thereof), with the intention that we not take haiku too seriously (and yet seriously enough). Many people shared these memes on Facebook, which helped to promote NaHaiWriMo. Here, for example, is a set of memes with a Simpsons theme.

In March of 2012, NaHaiWriMo was the subject of a “group interview” of sorts, about how NaHaiWriMo worked. The results, from many voices, appeared in the online journal Notes from the Gean. This interview serves as a snapshot of the way things were in those early days.

Later the same year, NaHaiWriMo published a free ebook, With Cherries on Top: 31 Flavors of NaHaiWriMo, featuring selected poems inspired by 31 different daily writing prompters for the month of August 2012. The book also features dozens of my fireworks photos. Follow this link for more details, including links for free downloads.

In 2014, a new feature of the NaHaiWriMo community was short interviews with each of the daily writing prompters. The interviews show the broad international support that NaHaiWriMo receives. Prompters are always reminded to make sure their daily prompts are posted to the Facebook page before the day begins in New Zealand! This international aspect of the community is emphasized in many of the comments about NaHaiWriMo.

In September of 2017, NaHaiWriMo published its first printed anthology, Jumble Box (from Press Here), with artwork by Ron C. Moss. The collection presents poems inspired by each of the daily prompts from February 2017. The book was shortlisted for a Touchstone book award from The Haiku Foundation.

One of NaHaiWriMo’s most ardent supporters from the beginning was Johnny Baranski. After he died, in January 2018, NaHaiWriMo held the one-time Johnny Baranski Memorial Haiku Contest, complete with cash prizes.

Of course the biggest highlight is the sharing of hundreds of thousands of haiku by a growing community of poets. Many poems have followed the prompts, but it’s also fine when they don’t. And not everyone who participates even posts online, which is also fine.

NaHaiWriMo eagerly celebrates its tenth anniversary in February 2020, and invites your participation, whether you’re on social media or not. Just pledge to write at least one haiku a day for each day of the month. And since 2020 is a leap year, that means 29 haiku. Are you up for the challenge?

Learn more at www.nahaiwrimo.com. Follow this link for more about haiku and some of its misunderstandings (start with “Becoming a Haiku Poet”).

Personal Aside: For those who might live near Kirkland, Washington, I’m the writer-in-residence at the Kirkland Library this year. Starting on Thursday, March 26, 2020, I’ll be leading a monthly writing critique group on the fourth Thursday of most months. Please bring writing to share. I’ll also be giving a presentation on Mary Oliver and her theme of attention on Earth Day, April 22, and a presentation on “forest bathing” and haiku in July. See my other events here. One of those events is another iteration of Poets in the Park in Redmond, with poetry performances on July 25, and workshops on July 26, with a theme of travel. Watch for more details soon.

Coming right up: February

January 29, 2019

The shortest month brings more than Valentines. It’s National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and it’s the LetterMo challenge. Surely there must be some way to tie those two together?

And while it may be short, there’s more to February than meets the eye. Do your part: celebrate.

it’s back!

February 1, 2018

Yes, it’s February, and that means it’s National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). Here’s the scoop from Michael Dylan Welch:

The idea is to write at least one haiku a day for the entire month of February — the shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry. Most of the action takes place on Facebook and on Twitter (#nahaiwrimo). The NaHaiWriMo Facebook page provides daily writing prompts (find them in the Notes tab), which you are free to follow or not. You are encouraged to post your haiku to the main NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook — and share them on your own timeline, on Twitter, and on your blog or website. And please feel free to encourage others to try National Haiku Writing Month too (hey, NaHaiWriMo is more fun with friends). And no, haiku don’t have to be 5-7-5. Write on!

send some peace

January 12, 2017

Peace Poetry Postcard

February, which is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) is also Peace Poetry Postcard Month. Sign up, write a peace poem each day and mail one a day to a name on your pre-assigned list. Prompts will be posted on Facebook if you need a jump start.

To sign up

  • Send an email to worldpeacepoets [at] gmail.com
  • Use the subject line Peace Postcards
  • In the body of the e-mail include your name, mailing address, city, state, country and Zip or postal code

Write poems. EASY.

one more for haiku

February 25, 2016

Halebsky - Tree LineWith just a few days left in National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo), there is still room for inspiration. To that end, poet Judy Halebsky, author of Tree Line and Sky=Empty, will present “From Haiku to Collage, a Body-Based Poetics” at Hugo House in Seattle on Sunday, February 28, 2016. See the full description on the Hugo House Events page.

P.S. Though Hugo House is slated to move to temporary digs adjacent to the Frye Museum while a new Hugo House is constructed, that move won’t happen for a few months yet and readings and events continue to be held at the 11th Avenue location on Capitol Hill.

haiku update

February 22, 2016

Jenny Holzer - Meijer Gardens

With National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) well under way, it seems a good time for an update…

In the “poetry walk” and “poetry map” category, we’d have to add the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 158-acre sculpture and botanic garden includes the newly-opened Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. Designed by Hoichi Kurisu and the firm Kurisu International (who also designed the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon), the DeVos Garden includes “For the Garden,” a commissioned work by the artist Jenny Holzer. Thirteen hand-carved boulders display text that Holzer selected from across the distinguished traditions of Japanese literature from the 9th century to the 20th. To see more, visit the garden (!) or go to Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, click on Highlights, then For the Garden, and scroll down for a description and link to a downloadable PDF with photos and poetry credits.

Our next haiku update is a reminder that The Ferndale Arts Commission invites Whatcom County Poets to submit cherry blossom-themed haiku in celebration of this year’s Ferndale Cherry Blossom Festival (April 16 & 17, 2016). Each poet may submit two unpublished haiku poems. There are Youth and Adult categories and the winning haiku will be selected by Michael Dylan Welch. The submission deadline is Monday, March 14, 2016. For guidelines, see Call To All Whatcom County Poets and find the submission form on The Ferndale Cherry Blossom Festival page. For inspiration, see “Some Suggestions for Writing Haiku” on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational page.

And speaking of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, the 2016 Haiku Invitational will begin accepting haiku submissions (up to two unpublished poems) from around the world beginning March 1, 2016. The theme is celebration. Watch the Haiku Invitational page for information on how to submit.

Finally, we circle back to NaHaiWriMo. To encourage you to meet the goal of writing a haiku each day of February (29 in 2016!), NaHaiWriMo’s Michael Dylan Welch offers a daily prompt (Z-words!) on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page. Actually, the daily prompts continue throughout the year, with a guest prompter each month. You can see the collected prompts in the Notes section of the NaHaiWriMo page.
. . . . .
image from “For the Garden” by Jenny Holzer. Words by Mitsuhashi Takajo, translation by Makoto Ueda, © 2003 by Columbia University Press, from Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, edited by Makoto Ueda.

No 5-7-5This post comes courtesy of Michael Dylan Welch.

Have you written a haiku yet today? How about every day throughout the month of February? February is National Haiku Writing Month, also known as NaHaiWriMo — the shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry. The goal is to write at least one haiku each day for the entire month. It’s harder than it seems — are you up for it?

For more information, visit www.nahaiwrimo.com, where you can learn about the myths and realities of haiku (and why 5-7-5 syllables is a sort of urban myth for haiku in English). You can also get involved, along with 2,100+ others, at the NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook, where daily writing prompts inspire participants.

To learn more about haiku, visit “Becoming a Haiku Poet” and “The Burning Word: Getting Started with Haiku.” There’s also a NaHaiWriMo Facebook page in French, and in Bulgarian.

Whether you write in English or another language, please join us and write one haiku a day for February — National Haiku Writing Month.

If you’re not on Facebook, please follow @NaHaiWriMo on Twitter, and tweet your daily haiku to #nahaiwrimo. National Haiku Writing Month was founded in 2010 by Michael Dylan Welch.

[Ed. note: 2016 is a bonus year for NaHaiWriMo — there’s an extra day, so you can write 29 instead of 28 haiku!]

Ferndale poetry in bloom

January 16, 2016

Cherry blossoms

In anticipation of the Ferndale Cherry Blossom Festival (April 16 & 17) and in celebration of National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo, February), the Friends of the Ferndale Library invite you to attend The Art of Writing Haiku Workshop. Instructor Michael Dylan Welch is a nationally and internationally renowned haiku poet, expert, and judge of the Vancouver, B.C., Cherry Blossom Festival International Haiku Writing Contest. The workshop will be held at the Ferndale Public Library on Saturday, February 13, 2016, 1:00-4:30pm. It is free and open to all.

And there’s more… The Ferndale Arts Commission invites children and adults to submit designs for this year’s festival poster. See the details on the Call to Artists page. Submission deadline is Monday, March 7, 2016.
. . . . .
photo

countdown

February 27, 2015

countdownHow’s your haiku? If you were participating in National Haiku Writing Month and lost your way, you have a couple more days to catch up before NaHaiWriMo ends. Of course, the prompts will continue (including prompts for the month of March by Paul David Mena) and there’s plenty of other inspiring stuff on the NaHaiWriMo site, Tumblr and Facebook.

As NaHaiWriMo winds down, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is about to start up, with submissions accepted beginning Sunday, March 1, through Tuesday, March 31, 2015. If you live in Whatcom County, Washington, read the guidelines and send in your poems!

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