The first NaHaiWriMo event in February of 2011 was an unqualified success, greatly exceeding my expectations. Participants posted many thousands of poems to the NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook, and also added comments and encouragement, quickly building a warm community of haiku writers. On the first day, one participant casually asked me if I might provide daily writing prompts, and immediately poets began writing haiku based on the prompts I posted, in addition to the other haiku they were already writing. I also posted occasional discussion questions that received enthusiastic response, adding an educational benefit to the site (it’s always good to balance the head and the heart in haiku). In all, the Facebook page received 64,516 individual views of the various poem postings and comments in February, engaging nearly 500 monthly users. Many poets also created their own NaHaiWriMo blogs, or posted their poems to their existing blogs. A search for “NaHaiWriMo” online will quickly lead you to lots of hits. Jessica Tremblay also started a French-language NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook, and posted a daily comic in her “Old Pond” series to both pages, each comic focusing on NaHaiWriMo (you can read them online). The Facebook page has continued after February without letting up steam, with prompts provided by guest prompters Alan Summers (March) and Melissa Allen (April). Everyone involved wants to see the prompts and community continue, and it’s been wonderful to see everyone’s poems—and to see many beginners not only take to haiku, but greatly improve their poems as a result of the community. I look forward to promoting NaHaiWriMo again in February 2012, no doubt with many more haiku and increased participation. My thanks to all poets who contributed their poems and enthusiasm throughout the month of February—and even those who participated on their own but happened not to share their poems. Just wait till 2012!
After the first NaHaiWriMo event ended on 28 February 2011, Haijinx magazine, edited by Mark Brooks, did a feature on NaHaiWriMo, including the following: