Haiku Diem: Death March or Journey of Discovery?

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On October 16, 2010, writer Freeman Ng will post his 100th haiku in 100 days at http://www.HaikuDiem.com. On that day, more people will read it than he could have imagined on Day One.

Ng created the Haiku Diem website in July to document his attempt to write one new haiku every day, but the simple exercise has grown into something much bigger. There are now nearly 2800 readers subscribed to his Facebook page, Twitter feed, and mailing list. Each day’s Facebook posting draws between 50 and 100 “likes” and comments.

“An amazing community has grown up around the Facebook page,” says Ng. “People share their own poems. They debate the rules of haiku. They’re making connections with one another. I didn’t expect this when I started the page.”

The exercise has also had an unexpected effect on his perception of his own writing.

“I don’t produce work very quickly, and used to consider the few poems and stories I’d written as a scarce resource. Now I’m writing a poem a day. I long ago exceeded the total number of poems I’d written in all the rest of my life up to that point. Every time I write an especially good haiku, I think, ‘Wow, I wish I could save it for some future date when more people are subscribed.’ Then, a couple of weeks later, an even better one comes along.”

Ng is the author of two YA (young adult) novels that he’s currently shopping around to publishers, and hopes that being able to point to his loyal and growing readership on Haiku Diem will improve his chances of getting published. In the meantime, he wonders if he is not in fact already a published author.

“The Internet is changing what it means to be published. Every day, nearly three thousand people read my writing. That’s more readers than I might attract if I got a poem or short story into a small literary journal. If an author is defined as a writer who serves a readership, I’m a published author right now.”

How much longer will he continue the one-haiku-a-day regimen?

“Forever?” is his answer.

“When I started this, I had no idea what it would feel like by the time I got to this point. I thought it might turn into a death march. Instead, it just feels like a part of my life.”

The haiku rustle, green, yellow, or crisp brown. Look! Another one falls.


Freeman Ng
Haiku Diem