Michael Dylan Welch

NaHaiWriMo founder and daily writing prompter for February 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 (interview written in 2014)

1. How did you get started with haiku?

I first learned about haiku in a high school English class in 1976, and I’ve been writing them ever since. It helped to be named after Dylan Thomas, which gave me an awareness of poetry for as long as I can remember. Haiku continues to inspire me because of its power of implication, and its depths of meaning and potential complexity despite its surface simplicity. More importantly, the worldwide haiku community is a wonderful thing to be part of.

2. Tell us more about yourself.

I live with my family in Sammamish, Washington. I have an MA in English and work as a technical editor and content manager. I’m also the poet laureate for the city of Redmond, Washington (a paying gig). I am passionate about downhill skiing, racquetball, travel, photography, reading, books, and my kids. I have more than 10,000 books, but just two kids (ages 8 and 10). I’ve begun to document my writing life at my www.graceguts.com website, and you can read more about me here.

3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?

As its founder, I just thought it would be interesting to encourage the daily writing of haiku, and thought to pick the shortest month of the year to celebrate the world’s shortest genre of poetry. People seemed to like it, and participation and awareness has grown every year since I thought of doing this in 2010. What means the most to me is how much NaHaiWriMo matters to each and every participant, and that their daily writing lives have been changed by this little adventure.

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

Read the standard books of and about Japanese and English-language haiku. Then read more. Support your fellow poets by buying their haiku books. Study them. And write as much as you can—every day, if possible, or as much as your time allows. Carry a notebook in your pocket so you have no excuse for not writing down what you notice, even if it’s just seeds for haiku. And with that notebook in your pocket (take it out frequently!), don’t be surprised if you start noticing things to write down more and more often. Okay, I guess that’s more than just one piece of advice.

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

spring breeze—

the pull of her hand

as we near the pet store

first star—

a seashell held

to my baby’s ear

summer moonlight

      the potter’s wheel