Canada

  • Amann, Eric W.

    Eric AmannEric W. Amann

    (16 January 1934 – July 2016)

    One of the most influential figures in the formative years of the haiku movement in Canada was Toronto medical doctor and poet Eric Amann. He was born in Munich in 1934. In 1952 Eric and his family emigrated to Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1953, Eric was drafted for the Korean War and escaped to Winnipeg where he stayed with family friends from Munich. He earned his medical degree in 1961.

    As many other poets in the 1960s Amann's interest in haiku was sparked by the six volumes written by R.H. Blyth. After reading and writing haiku for several years, Eric Amann edited and published the first Canadian haiku magazine Haiku from 1967-1970. Under Amann’s editorship Haiku rapidly became one of the most influential North American periodicals, publishing experimental as well as classical work. After a hiatus of seven years, during which he engaged in other kinds of writing, in 1977 Amann returned to haiku with a new magazine Cicada (from 1977-1982) which immediately achieved a similar status. The same year Eric Amann, Betty Drevniok and George Swede founded the Haiku Society of Canada, which later in 1985 was renamed to Haiku Canada. Eric served as its first president during 1977-79. In 1979 Eric Amann also published one issue of konkret [a journey into the concrete and visual].

    In the preface to the 1986 edition of The Haiku Anthology, Cor van den Heuvel wrote that “Haiku and Cicada [were] perhaps English language haiku's most influential magazines [and that they] are still unsurpassed for excellence in both content and design, though both have ceased publication.”

    Eric W. Amann sadly passed away in July 2016 and left a huge void in the international haiku community.

    While writing about the significant achievement of one of the pioneers of English-language haiku, Richard Stevenson states: “For Eric Amann, the ideal is to capture the ‘ah experience’ or ‘a mood of serene calm and beauty.’ The form may vary from the traditional three-line, 5-7-5 syllable count to the one-line portrait; it may even be stretched to include the "mutational possibilities" of senryu, vertical, visual, and sound haiku.” – (Richard Stevenson in Canadian Literature, Spring 1985)

    Publications:

     

    • Plastic Flowers [a collection of poems] (1964);
    • The Wordless Poem , Toronto: Haiku Society of Canada, 1969;
    • No More Questions, No More Answers, [a collection of one-liners], 1980;
    • Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann, 1966-1979. George Swede, Editor. High/Coo Press, 1983;
    • The Space Between, George Swede, with Eric Amann, LeRoy Gorman, (Glen Burnie, MD, USA: Wind Chimes, 1986);
    • Eric Amann’s work appears in all three editions (1974, 1986, and 1999) of Cor van den Heuvel's The Haiku Anthology.

    Selected haiku:

    Winter burial:
    a stone angel points his hand
    at the empty sky

    (1978 Eminent Mention Award, Modern Haiku)

     

    Withered winter tree;
    its barren boughs reflected
    in the sick man’s eye

    (1979 Eminent Mention Award, Modern Haiku)

    *

    Anaesthesia:
    the last deep breath
    takes the whole world away!

    (Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann 1966-1979, (High Coo Press, 1979)

    *

    A morning of snow:
    listening to the muffled sound
    of the blind man’s cane

    (Modern Haiku 10:1, 59)

    last day of autumn:
    and still the sunset lingers
    in a one-way street.

    (Modern Haiku 1:1, 6)

    New Year’s morning:
    a sober newsman
    repeats the casualties.

    (Modern Haiku 2:1, 18)

    Softly falling
    on the names of the dead:
    spring rain …

    (Modern Haiku 1:2, 5)

    The long walk back:
    — A tiger lily
    Points the way …

    (Modern Haiku 6:3, 9 (a)

    The old Ford truck —
    still clinging to it:
    last summer’s leaves …

    (Modern Haiku 1:2, 17)

    *

    deep inside your mouth      no more questions no more answers

    (Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann, 1966-1979; High/Coo Pr (Jun. 1983); p.50)

    deep penetration       the bedside candle quivers lightly in the moonlit room

    (Ibidem, p.51)

    wild raspberry taste       on the tip of your tongue

    (Ibidem, p. 52)

    *

    Billboards
       wet
          in spring
             rain…

    Snow falling
       on the empty parking-lot:
          Christmas Eve…

    A night train passes:
    pictures of the dead are trembling
    on the mantelpiece

    (The Haiku Anthology, editor Cor van den Heuvel, 3rd edition, Norton, 1999; pp.2-4)

    *

    The starlit sea

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    (Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann, 1966-1979; High/Coo Pr, 1983; p. 37)

    More haiku at:

    http://terebess.hu/english/haiku/amann.html

    Sources:

    1. http://performance.millikin.edu/haiku/writerprofiles/EricAmann.html
    2. http://www.haikucanada.org/home/about.php?style=1&page=1001
    3. http://www.brickbooks.ca/a-history-of-haiku-in-canada-in-two-parts-by-terry-ann-carter/
    4. http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=1804
    5. http://www.litkicks.com/OnWesternHaiku
    6. http://www.modernhaiku.org/MH-Archive/authorsA-D.html#a

    Essays and articles on the works of Eric Amann:

  • Constable, Susan

    Susan Constable

    Born 1943 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Living in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada

  • Fraser, Laryalee (Lary)

    Laryalee (Lary) Fraser

    August 22, 1940 – October 16, 2013

  • Gordon, Chris

    Chris Gordon

    Born 1966 in Toronto, Canada
    Living in Eugene, Oregon, USA
    http://antantantantant.wordpress.com
    Contact the poet

  • Kocher, Philomene

    Philomene Kocher

    Born in Wiarton Ontario, Canada
    Living in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    http://www.singinginthesilo.ca
    Contact the poet
  • Read, Dave

    Dave Read


    Born 1970 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    http://davereadpoetry.blogspot.ca

  • Seguiban, Carl

    Carl Seguiban

    Born in Zamboanga City, Philippines
    Living in British Columbia, Canada

  • Strange, Debbie

    Debbie StrangeDebbie Strange

    Born 1955 in Canada
    Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Debbie Strange is a maker of poems, music, photographs, and art. She has an affinity for birds and water, and feels most at peace when exploring nature with her husband. Debbie's creative passions are her solace and salvation, connecting her more closely to the world and to herself.
    website: http://www.debbiemstrange.blogspot.ca


     

  • Swede, George

    George SwedeGeorge Swede

    Born 1940 in Riga, Latvia
    Living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    http://georgeswede.com/
    Contact the poet
    Hear the poet read

    (work from 1975 to 2010 inclusive)

     

     

  • Yin, Anna

    Anna YinAnna Yin

    Born 1970 in China.
    Residing in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
    website: http://annapoetry.com


    Anna Yin is Mississauga’s Inaugural Poet Laureate with six poetry books. Anna won the 2005 Ted Plantos Memorial Award, two MARTY Awards and the 2013 Professional Achievement Award from CPAC etc. Her poems have appeared on Arc Poetry, New York Times, China Daily, CBC Radio etc. She teaches Poetry Alive.