Alison Williams

NaHaiWriMo daily writing prompter for June 2012 and December 2014

1. How did you get started with haiku?
I discovered haiku by accident. I happened to find the Shiki online discussion list and some of what I saw caught my attention. I wanted to join in and I had a go, but soon found that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. The first haiku I had accepted for publication appeared in Blithe Spirit (the journal of the British Haiku Society) in 1998. Haiku has helped to keep me grounded in the real world and there’s always more to discover about this deceptively simple poetry.

2. Tell us more about yourself.
I’ve always been drawn to the concise and minimal. My exploration of haiku and related forms has developed along with my exploration of a generally minimalist lifestyle. In Southampton, England, I now live in a 32 square-metre (344 square-foot) studio and have no car, television, microwave oven, or dishwasher. My interest in alchemical symbolism also fits in with this, alchemy being the search for the essence of all things—the quintessence. I blog my haiku and tanka at Miso Soup.

3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
Sharing is such an important part of the haiku experience and NaHaiWriMo has grown into one of the main sharing forums. The experienced and the novice are welcome and can learn from each other. I take part in February each year and try to drop in occasionally in other months too.

4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?
Read as widely as you can and be open to different points of view but try to find a mentor or guide who you respect and want to emulate. It helps to have a “north star” when navigating new waters.

5. Please share three of your favourite or best haiku.

also emerging
from the darkness—
winter trees

midday heat
a doll hung up to dry
by its hair

storm clouds—
the deep red of the rose
in his tattoo