203days until
National Haiku Writing Month starts in February 2015

October 2012 NaHaiWriMo Writing Prompts
 

Selected by Scott Abeles

 

1

Jewelry, or a jewel of any kind.

2

Light.

3

Desks and desk-ku. Because some haiku folks must argue about everything, one hears occasionally the question of whether “desk-ku”—haiku written after the moment of observation, imagined in part or entirely—is truly haiku. Anyone with a passing familiarity with my poems who does not hold a concurrent belief that I possess super-powers or live in an alternative universe might guess my own view. I do not invite commentary on that debate, but rather ask you to strike a blow for the venerable, unfairly maligned desk! Thus, incorporate your desk, or whatever/wherever your writing space may be, in a haiku. Whether written based on present, past, or imagined observation is up to you.

4

Gravity.

5

Write a haiku incorporating an artistic masterpiece, whether it be a painting, song, poem, or what-have-you. Feel free to include a link to your masterpiece, if one is available.

6

Audience.

7

Gutter.

8

Crush. I like this description from the writer Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph: “A crush is a bedazzled and delicious projection stirred by the archetype eros. Once the cupid’s arrow flies there is nothing to be done about it. Nothing that is but to sit back, enjoy and, most importantly, to observe.” Whether it applies to our lovely neighbor, grocery bagger, librarian, or fellow NaHaiWriMo participant, let’s try a haiku inspired by one of the most aptly named phenomena we’ve got, the crush.

9

Graffiti.

10

Haiku Noir. Dennis Garrison, the publisher/poet, describes the subgenre of haiku noir as “at the farthest end of the spectrum of subject matter, dealing with that which is not generally considered to be proper subject matter for the classical haiku; for example: tragedy, loss, sorrow, depression, madness, terror, horror, anger, macabre humor, anti-heroism, crime, passion, the underworld/subcultures.” I’d add that, as with film noir, good noir, despite the darkness, is oddly attractive, even beautiful. I in addition to old masters like John Huston or Raymond Chandler, consider more modern practitioners of the dark arts like Martin Scorcese (Raging Bull) or Trent Reznor (Hurt).

11

Hometown.

12

Denim or jeans.

13

Steam.

14

Daughter.

15

Zokathe process of creation, transformation, and destruction in nature.

16

Blade.

17

Footprints.

18

Socially-conscious ku. In terms of social commentary, haiku may have an advantage as it is characterized by subtlety. Over-the-top poetic commentary doesn’t have the same punch (to me). Thus, for this prompt, if you find yourself writing “war is hell!” versus depicting, for example, a soldier flinching at a balloon pop, you may wish to consider a more subtle path. So, left, right, or in the middle, try a socially conscious-ku that shows but does not tell.

19

Echo.

20

Bone.

21

Horizon.

22

Being lost, literally or figuratively.

23

A wordless connection with another.

24

Tattoo.

25

Poet.

26

Forever.

27

Miracle.

28

Stranger.

29

Rebel or rebellion.

30

Flavor. The sense of taste doesn’t seem to get its due in haiku. Let’s give proper respect to this magnificent sense, with a flavor-ku.

31

A “monster” from your culture or country’s folklore. In the United States, today is Halloween, a time of goblins, ghouls, monsters, and the like. Every culture’s folklore has its monsters; in the U.S. we’ve got Big Foot, the Jersey Devil, Freddy Krueger, and more. Elsewhere we hear tales of abominable snowmen, the Loch Ness monster, Golems, and Chupacabras. Let’s include a cultural monster in our next haiku.