Devin Harrison

NaHaiWriMo daily writing prompter for April 2015, December 2016, and April 2019

1. How did you get started with haiku?

I first got interested in haiku in 2013 although I have been writing regular poetry for years. My favorite poets are the ones who excite me, and like flowers, they can be found in the oddest places. Of course I enjoy the classical writers, especially Masaoka Shiki, but I am also interested in pushing the edges of the form. A contemporary writer I admire is Alan Summers.

2. Tell us more about yourself.

I presently live in Duncan, British Columbia after spending much of my life abroad, mostly in the United States and Southeast Asia. I am an inveterate traveler. I received a degree in Asian studies from the University of Toronto and have taught for much of my life. I was also a therapist for about twelve years. I try to live a minimalist style. My needs are simple.

3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?

NaHaiWriMo has been very important for me in that I’ve established a discipline of writing from the prompts on most days. I compare it to a musician practising scales and arpeggios in order to increase his skills. Also, NaHaiWriMo gives me insight into the many different interpretations of writing in this form.

4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?

Challenge yourself. Experiment—keep the form vibrant—take risks with your writing. Avoid clichés, or writing the same poem over and over. If ideas or wordings sound familiar to you, they are. Others have written them before.

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

a dense fog—

he cannot find

the words for it

glassy pond

viewing my past lives

in the ripples

outside the temple—

sweeping the street with its trunk