December 2011 NaHaiWriMo Writing Prompts
Selected by Stella Pierides, Neusäß, Germany
Garland or wreath
Tongue or mouth
Lighthouse or lighthouse beam
Breath or air
Additional PHOTO PROMPT: “Driving Rain Over Cliffs,” painting by Maria Pierides
Heart . . . or the lack of it . . . anything to do with this precious organ! One of Issa’s haiku I like:
in winter rain
toward the heart of darkness . . .
Translation by David Lanoue, from http://haikuguy.com/issa/search.php?keywords=heart&year. You can find more of Issa’s heart haiku there. There is also an interesting essay by Michael about “seeing into the heart,” vulnerability, and haiku.
Let’s visit a city, a village, monument, temple, river, lake, mountain . . . and name it! Write a haiku involving a specific place. Interesting essay on “The Value of Iconic Place Names in Western Haiku” by David Cobb at http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/node/587. It includes this haiku:
a man with a torch
goes looking for a name—
the Menin Gate
Gabi Greve introduces “Place Names of the World” with interesting links to follow at http://haikutopics.blogspot.com/2010/01/place-names-of-world-intro.html.
Write a recipe-ku (for a love potion, health problems, a celebration, witches brew, or just a tasty dish!)
Books or reading. And what has Issa got to say about it?
even while pooping
reading his almanac . . .
(written in 1823; translated by David Lanoue)
Write a haiku that tells a story. Here’s Issa:
at his tomb I tell my story
Translated by David Lanoue. See more here at http://haikuguy.com/issa/search.php?keywords=story&year. Also, if you have the time, you might like to have a look at Michael’s essay, “Haiku as History: The Ultimate Short Story.”
You are or were on holiday in Greece and this is how your haiku senses sing about or remember it . . .
Shamrock #17 had a Greek focus, with several haiku translated by its editor, Anatoly Kudryavitsky. You can find it at http://shamrockhaiku.webs.com/shamrockno17.htm. From the same issue is a haiku by Giorgos Seferis, translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky:
the statues returned
to another museum
Haiku involving color. I’d like to share a haiku I read today on the Haiku Foundation site Archive (Haiku Now! winning poem, first prize for 2011), by Tom Painting:
mother dyes her graying hair
the color of straw
Onions. Here’s an onion poem from Frogpond’s Museum of Haiku Literature awards for 2011, by William M. Ramsey of Florence, South Carolina:
how some things end—
in the market sack
Snow, ice, or freezing temperatures
Refuge, shelter, or sanctuary. One more Issa, from 1824, translated by David Lanoue:
ridge between rice fields—
the horse eats
the sheltering willow
Include a number in your haiku. Here’s a poem by Shiki (from http://worldkigodatabase.blogspot.com/2010/09/cockscomb-keitoo.html):
must be 14
More Shiki poems at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/shiki/beichman/BeiShik.utf8.html.
Let’s have some serious fun. Pick a genre from Michael’s essay “Ku-ku: Because You Can’t Have Enough Haiku,” and write a haiku in one of its suggested genres. Please indicate which one you’ve picked, such as chai-ku.
Solstice (what else?), cosmic time, longest/shortest day, cosmic light. A haiku I love by Svetlana Marisova:
incoming tide . . .
the writing fills
You can read more of her poems at the recently created page at http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=897.
All about trees. From frankincense trees, to olive and fig trees, eucalyptus, jacaranda, cinnamon, Christmas trees, take your pick! I saw this piece of news on frankincense trees: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16270759.
Write haiku for the haiku tree. Behind this NaHaiWriMo page a huge haiku tree. It is so big that you need to squint your eyes and polish your computer screen to see it and even then you can just make it out. Please help decorate it with your heart-felt haiku; add color to it with seasonal wishes to friends and family; seasonal pictures, references. On the other hand, if you can’t wait for the festive season to be over, hang a grumble-ku. Now’s your chance! (Meanwhile, here is something nice I found, a rengay titled “Christmas in the City.”)
Let’s make some noise today: bells, gongs, chimes, drums, anything . . . or just write louder than usual!
Taking stock of the season, of the year, of life . . . or just making soup! Memories, looking back, what was, what might have been. Here’s Issa, translated by David Lanoue:
over there is the year
And Buson, translated by Robert Hass:
fish the cormorants haven’t caught
swimming in the shallows
Gold, silver, or coins
Influence (other poets or poems)—write a haiku based on or influenced by another poet’s haiku. I know, I know, we are always under someone’s influence, but still! Anything goes, except “old pond”! If you are stuck for choice, have a look at the following link, the Haiku Foundation’s Montage Archive, where the work of haiku poets is juxtaposed in relation to a theme—for instance, “The Little Truths” at http://thehaikufoundation.org/montage/LittleTruths2009_10_04.pdf. Or, pull on “The Frayed Rope: A Favourite Haiku.”
Old year–New Year: Resolutions, reviews, predictions. Do you make or keep New Year resolutions? Are you making any predictions of what might happen in the New Year? Would you like to remember or review a public event one last time? This is your chance.
I hope you have your dancing shoes ready. Today’s prompt is . . . dance. Dance in your haiku (where else?). The only limitation is . . . I can’t think of a limitation. No music? Switch on Facebook, dial NaHaiWriMo and go! Happy New Year!