National Haiku Writing Month continues to grow in popularity
February is National Haiku Writing Month. I often compare the art of haiku to the art of playing harmonica—another pastime that I enjoy. Neither one tends to intimidate. To the contrary, their apparent simplicities make them inviting. Many have picked up a harmonica to squonk along to a tune, and many have taken a minute to break up their poetic thoughts into three lines.
But then comes a point when dabblers in these arts are confronted with a realization: To shine in either art is a lot harder than it looks. National Haiku Writing Month (it gets shortened to NaHaiWriMo) can help on both fronts. It can spur on a haiku newbie, and it can also provide a vehicle in which a seasoned practitioner can hone their skills.
Writing a haiku a day is all that’s required. And there is a NaHaiWriMo community on Facebook to help you do that. There you will find writers encouraging each other with daily prompts, or word suggestions, to build poems around.
NaHaiWriMo continues to grow in popularity year after year. In 2012, the NaHaiWriMo Facebook had somewhere south of 800 likes.
"National Haiku Writing Month continues to exceed my expectations,” said NaHaiWriMo founder and organizer Michael Dylan Welch. "We now have more than 2,250 likes on the Facebook page (with nearly a hundred new likes in the last week or so). Daily writing prompts inspire participants to write at least one haiku a day for each day of NaHaiWriMo, held in February each year since 2010—the shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry. The idea is to get into the haiku habit by making the writing of haiku a daily discipline.”
Why do that? For me, haiku often does a couple of things. It brings poetry into my everyday life, and at the same time, it exercises my brain.
I like to start my poems off like puzzles. Building haiku is almost like starting an experiment moving poetic chunks of words around ideas and watching its parts move in different directions as it twitches to life.
When writing is done daily, with discipline, another element creeps in: a kind of spirituality that is the result of paying attention to the little “Aha!" moments that happen when we step outside of ourselves and notice the world around us.
But we all have our own reasons for writing. The important thing is to keep going, and that is what NaHaiWriMo can do for us—prod us along against the backdrop of February’s bare branches.
In addition to Facebook, you can use #nahaiwrimo to see what others are doing on Twitter. The same hashtag will also work on Facebook.
NaHaiWriMo's Facebook can be found at facebook.com/pages/NaHaiWriMo/108107262587697.
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