Verónica Marjon van Bruggen

NaHaiWriMo daily writing prompter for July 2024

1. How did you get started with haiku?

I started with haiku a little over ten years ago. I was a member of the “We Love Poetry” group, owned by David E. (DE) Navarro. I think that group doesn’t exist anymore, although I still have several friends from that period. Apart from being my mentor in writing free-verse poetry, DE interested us in haiku. He now owns another Facebook group, “Pure Land School of Haiku.” Although I have lost a lot of contact with him, I know that my interest and love for haiku started there. For the last two years I got hooked by NaHaiWriMo and The Daily Haiku. I try to do two haiku every day in both groups. I also post a longer (free verse) poem or short story on Facebook with copies in the 13 writing groups that I belong to.


2. Tell us more about yourself.

I am Verónica Marjon van Bruggen, born in The Netherlands in 1941, which at that time was at war with Nazi Germany. That influenced my early childhood significantly. The whole family lived for safety reasons together (also with a hidden young Jewish couple) so my first five years I grew up in the house of my grandparents with four grandparents, lots of uncles and aunts, and my mom . . . but I didn’t even know I had a father (for his safety and my own) until Liberation Day. After the war my father made sure I had a classical education. I went to the best Lyceum in the neighborhood, studied old Greek and Latin for two years, and Dutch, German, English, and French for six years, including literature studies in all four languages. My love for writing started there, encouraged greatly by my grandfather, who was C. J. A. van Bruggen, in Holland a very well-known writer himself. He wrote eight philosophical fiction works (none translated into English) and he translated Shakespeare’s King Lear and Hamlet for the Dutch theater. That last activity convinced me that I should be a poet. Over the years I found my own style, which now focuses on free verse. I have always written in English, a language in which I feel I can express myself best.

I have worked in 1001 jobs, and started studying when I was already 43 years old at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on sociology, psychology, and anthropology. At the time, I had two young children, a full-time job, an impossible first husband who did nothing to help me with daily house chores and didn’t work. So, after four years of study, I couldn’t cope any longer. I divorced, bought a houseboat, and lived as well as I could with my daughter. I never stopped writing. Two years later I met my second husband (Italian), sold my houseboat, and moved with him to Mallorca, Spain in 1989.

For six years now I have been a widow, still live in the house that we built together, and now have a lot of time to write stories, to write poetry, to grow in writing haiku. I worked here in Spain as a public relations officer for a huge international hotel, which I loved doing. All my six languages plus my studies were a great help. I am retired now since I turned 65. I love traveling, reading, classical music, in particular opera, receiving and visiting friends, and having night-long interesting discussions.

Accomplishments? I used to think that was important. Many earlier poems were published in literary magazines and anthologies. But now? No, not anymore. I like it that a great many people read what I write and comment on it. My published work has been read by only a handful of people. But what I post directly on Facebook and share in my groups is read by many (I have 5,000 friends and some 400 followers) and . . . no nerves, no disappointments, no refusals. I don’t submit for publication anymore.


3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?

NaHaiWriMo is a happy and safe place to try my haiku. It’s a place to learn more about this fascinating art, to practice and better myself, to read what others do, and to do all this among friends. The same goes for The Daily Haiku. They also work with prompts.


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

Read about it first. There is plenty of excellent information about what haiku is and the techniques used to write haiku. NaHaiWriMo offers a lot about the subject. Then: Don’t get discouraged. Try, post, make mistakes, listen to comments by others, try again. It will go better and better in time. And please forget about the rule that English-language haiku always has to be 5-7-5 syllables. Give more importance to the other elements (read)!


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

Here are three unpublished poems:


a pitch-dark night

biking through the fields

home glows safety


what if she were

denied writing poetry?

she can’t imagine


early morning birds

sing their hearts out

to lighten the day