January 2014 NaHaiWriMo Writing Prompts

Selected by Kat Creighton

Kat Creighton passed away suddenly on 15 January 2014, in the midst of her month of posting daily writing prompts. This shocked and saddened the NaHaiWriMo community, and many other poetry 
communities on 
Facebook and elsewhere.

Scott Abeles took over from Kat in posting daily writing prompts. The first half of the month consists of Kat’s postings, followed by a few comments from Michael Dylan Welch, and then comments by Scott, using haiku, tanka, and photo-haiga by Kat to honour her for the remainder of the month.

Click to enlarge each image.


Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the fourth year of NaHaiWriMo! I’ve been participating since the beginning and it has been so inspiring to see this group grow and watch the growth of the poets as well. A big thanks to Michael Dylan Welch for keeping it all together. Now on to the January prompts. All our prompts this month will start with the letter A. Keep in mind that it is not essential for the exact word to appear in your haiku. The prompt is just that . . . a suggestion, a jumping off point, the wind for your kite. Roll the word around in your head and let your muse take you where she will.








Azaleas (to chase away the snowstorm blues).


Abbey (or Abby).








Adam or atom (or both).




I posted the following announcement on January 10:

I’m pleased to announce a new feature on the NaHaiWriMo.com website: “Meet the Prompters.” It consists of a mini-interview with each of our monthly prompters, starting with January 2014. KAT CREIGHTON is our first participant, and you can read her answers to five brief questions. There you can also see a photo of Kat and three of her poems. I especially like what she says about how-to books on haiku!

See also the new Meet the Prompters page.












After the preceding prompt, posted on January 14, Kat fell silent. The NaHaiWriMo community wondered why she wasn’t posting daily prompts, and wondered what the prompt was for January 16. Then Scott Abeles posted the following prompt.


Absent. As several folks have nominated “Absent” as today’s prompt, let’s make it official.


The following was also posted by Scott Abeles.


Ambiguous. One more fill-in for Kat as the 17th arrives upon us.


On January 17, with a heavy heart, I [Michael Dylan Welch] posted the following message to the NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook:

I have some very sad news to report, that our monthly prompter for this month, KAT CREIGHTON, has suddenly passed away. A few moments ago I received a message from Pat Geyer, who had received the following message from Kat’s sister: “I wish I had some good news for you but unfortunately I do not. Kat passed away Wednesday overnight [January 15] of natural causes. Are you a friend through haiku group? If so could you kindly pass this sad news on.” I’m working with Pat Geyer to find out more and will pass that along as soon as I can. How chilling that Scott’s proposed prompt word for the 16th, since Kat had fallen silent, was “absent.” Here is the last poem Kat posted to her Facebook page, on January 14, the day before she died:

three quarter moon—
impossible to distinguish what is
from what isn’t


I posted the next prompt:

For our January 18 prompt, I’d like to suggest that we use the word “angel,” suggested by Margaret F. Rozenberg. For those who knew Kat Creighton, please also consider writing poems about Kat (if you wish), whether they’re angel poems or not. Please share as much as you feel moved to share.

We have lost one of our NaHaiWriMo family members this week, even while she herself was providing the prompts to inspire us all this month. Now she is inspiring us in a different way, as a haiku angel among us. Rest in peace, Kat Creighton, and know that you and your poems are deeply loved.


I then made this announcement (and after this all postings were by Scott Abeles):

I’m pleased to let you know that Scott Abeles will continue to provide the prompts for the rest of January. Scott will also be posting some of Kat Creighton’s poems for us to savour through the rest of the month. Thank you, Scott.


Appreciation. One more day to appreciate our friend Kat Creighton, or just the good things in our lives. Kat and I were Facebook friends, or perhaps Poetry or NaHaiWriMo friends. I don’t have to explain in this forum why such a relationship should be celebrated unabashedly, so I won’t. I will say I know Kat worked in a bookstore, had a white cat named Coconut, and wrote many exquisite poems, especially about her beloved Jersey Shore and its recent devastation. This poem of Kat’s is stylistically representative of many of hers—making use of the classic haiku “toolbox” to tell her own story, with hints of mystery, yearning, and the sea:

high water mark—
no way to measure
all that’s been lost

I’ll be posting some of Kat’s other poems, including tanka and haiga—forms in which she also excelled—during the remainder of the month, along with the prompts. Invite your friends, and may you write good poems.


Arithmetic, algebra (or other means of counting). Inspired by Kat Creighton’s poem from Notes from the Gean, Spring 2012.


Abandon. Inspired by:


Aphrodite, the goddess of love (or other goddess). Inspired by:


Answered/unanswered. Inspired by:


Ache. Inspired by Kat Creighton’s poem from World Haiku Review, April 2012:

late winter
the ache in my bones
as I lay them down


Apparition (a supernatural appearance). Inspired by:


After the storm. As noted previously, many of Kat’s poems considered the impact of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey. My favorite is following tanka/haiga. The choice to lengthen line four and set off “these people” with commas—an unusual decision—just before the haymaker of line five sends a fine poem into the stratosphere:

a full moon
over frozen fallow fields . . .
I wonder
how do they live, these people,
in a town without the sea

I should add that Kat’s poems “heat wave” and “midnight frost,” which gave rise to prior prompts, were published in Simply Haiku, Summer 2012.


Alchemy (the transformation of a substance of lesser value into one of greater value, such as turning straw into gold). Inspired by:


Apology. Inspired by:

I won’t apologize
for some days wishing
the clouds would sweep me up
and cuddle me in soft, white, fluffy

From Kat Creighton’s blog, My Ninth Life.


Absolution. Inspired by:

in the church
of all my beginnings
and me, this pilgrim,
here on my knees again


Alternative. Inspired by:

a dance
at the edge
of the tide
wondering if it’s too late
too make another choice


Afterlife. Inspired by:

over the edge
of a wooden boat
counting the moments
to ever after


Here is the last photo-haiga that Kat Creighton posted to NaHaiWriMo and to her personal Facebook page.

A memorial page for Kat has been made available