Living Legacy

  • Dimitar Stefanov
    (20 March 1932 – 19 October 2018)


    Dimitar StefanovDimitar Stefanov, a Bulgarian poet, writer, editor and translator, also known as ‘the doyen of Bulgarian haiku’, was born on 20 March 1932 in a small village near Dryanovo, Bulgaria. In 1950 he graduated High School in Dryanovo and then studied Czech and Bulgarian philology at the Charles University in Prague. After graduation he was editor and editor-in-chief of the literary section at Radio Sofia (1955-1969). In the following years he was editor to various newspapers and journals, among them the popular Plamak magazine and the Literary Front newspaper.

    Dimitar’s first collection of poems was published in 1957. He was the author of more than twenty books of poems, sonnets, essays; more than ten books for children. He translated mainly from Czech and Slovak languages. He was the first Bulgarian poet to publish his own book of haiku The Forest of Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето) in 1988. Dimitar also edited the first Bulgarian haiku anthology Rain Seeds (Дъждовни семена) in 2001 which included poems by ninety authors. This book played a great role in the popularizing of the haiku genre in Bulgaria.

    Dimitar Stefanov was founding member and chairman of the first organization of haiku poets in the country - the Bulgarian Haiku Club. It was founded in 2000, when Jim Kacian and Dimitar Anakiev visited Bulgaria to organize the Haiku Movement in the Balkans. Later this organization was renamed to the Bulgarian Haiku Union (BHU). Dimitar Stefanov died on 19 October 2018 at the age of 86. He left a rich legacy as a poet, essayist and translator. He has translated over 50 books of poetry and prose from Czech, Old Czech, Russina, and Serbian, and with verbatim text - from Old French, Hindi and Japanese. Some of his books have been translated in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, England, and Slovenia. He was also presented in haiku anthologies, almanacs and magazines in many European countries, in Argentina, India, the United States and Japan, in more than twenty languages.

    Awards and honours:

    • the Czechoslovakian Peter Bezruc Award in the late 1960s;
    • awarded the National Prize for Literature "Racho Stoyanov" in 1989;
    • Hviezdoslav Prize for Translation of Slovak literature in 1998;
    • an honorary diploma of the Ministry of Culture for his contribution to the development and promotion of Bulgarian culture in 2005;
    • a Golden medal of the Slovak Foreign Ministry;
    • award from the Bulgarian Union of Translators for his translation of Old Czech Satires from the 14th century;
    • Honorary member of the Independent Writers' Club – Bratislava;
    • the Doctor honoris causa of the World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC );
    • In 2012 he was appointed an honorary citizen of the town of Dryanovo.

     

    Haiku books and anthologies:

    • The Forest of the Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето). Opiti za haiku, Sofia, “Bulgarski pisatel”, 1988; reprinted in 1994;
    • Innocent essences (Невинни същности), haiku, 1996;
    • Autumn Thrills(Есенни тръпки), Matsuo Basho Library, Serbia, 1996, tr. by Dimitar Anakiev;
    • Non-flickering Blue. 303 haiku (НеприМИГващо синьо. 303 хайку), Hristo Botev, Sofia 1999;
    • Rain Seeds (Дъждовни семена),
    • Both of us. Haiku in Bulgarian, English and Russian (Двамата с тебе. Хайку на български, английски и руски ), 2003;
    • Ptitsata(Птицата),
    • Invisibilities (Невидимости), haibun , Sofia, 2005;
    • All that. 40 poems and 40 haiku (Всичко онова. 40 стихотворения и 40 хайку), Sofia, 2012.

     

    Selected haiku:

    Bees searching through
    yellow dandelions.
    Spring is here.


    In the full bucket
    trembling
    full moon

    (The Forest of the Dandelion (Гората на глухарчето), Bulgarski pisatel, Sofia, 1988)

    *

    Cold moon –
    shadows within shadows
    along the snowy road.

    (Knots, The anthology of Southeastern European haiku Poetry, edited by Dimitar Anakiev & Jim Kacian, Tolmin, 1999)

    *

    A seahorse!
    A seahorse! My kingdom
    for a seahorse!


    You and I
    were kids
    last millennium


    The moon is drawing
    silky rustle
    from the mulberry tree.

    (Non-flickering Blue (Непремигващо синьо). 303 haiku, Hristo Botev, Sofia 1999)

    *

    cold moon –
    shadows within shadows
    along the snowy road

    (Shamrock, issue 1, 2007 - transl. by the author)


    village
    bit by a blizzard
    then bandaged up by it

    (Shamrock, issue 1, 2007 - transl. by Ludmila Kolechkova and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

    *

    coming from fog
                                 the bird flies through fog
                                                 fading into fog

    (Innocent Entities (Невинни същности), Sofia, 1996; Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing by Gabriel Rosenstock, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)

    *

    Лятната луна
    – но защо и животът? –
    в последна четвърт.


    The summer moon
    - But why is life as well? –
    in its last quarter.

    (Haiku Svyat (Хайку свят) #1, 2013)

    *

    Пеперуда,
    прикована с карфица –
    нова Голгота.


    A butterfly
    fixed with a pin –
    new Golgotha.

    (The Leaves Are back on the Tree, International anthology, Athens, 2002, ed. Zoe Savina; Beyond Words/Отвъд думите, bilingual haiku anthology, Farrago, Sofia 2018)

    *

    Със жълти човчици
    дрянът лови
    февруарски снежинки.


    With little yellow beaks
    the dogwood catches
    February snowflakes.

    (Beyond Words/Отвъд думите, bilingual haiku anthology, Farrago, Sofia 2018)

    Sources:

  • Mitsuhashi TakajoMitsuhashi Takajo

    (24 January 1899 – 7 April 1972)

    One of the great Japanese haiku women poets Mitsuhashi Takajo was born on 24 January 1899 near Narita, Chiba.  She was a haiku poet of the Shōwa period. She was an admirer and disciple of Akiko Yosano. She got married in 1922 and started writing haiku under the influence of her husband, but then later turned to experimental haiku along with other women poets. By 1936 she became part of a group that founded the short-lived Kon (dark blue) publication and in 1940 had the collection Himawari or Sunflowers published. In 1953 she became involved in Bara (薔薇, dt. "Rose") - a progressive magazine of avant-garde poets who allowed experimental haiku. She has been referred to as a religious ascetic or one who led a life of asceticism and spiritual concentration. She is said to have written works of self-alienation of the vanishing of the empiric Ego in the Void, which according to Kenneth Rexroth “resembles Kierkegaard’s rather than the Buddhist concept.” A statue of her is at Shinshoji Temple. Back in 1964, Blyth, in his History of Haiku, identified her as "the chief woman writer of haiku in Japan."

    Her last collection, in 1970, dealt somewhat with death as she had been ill for years.

    She is also placed as one of the "4 Ts" of Japanese female haiku poets, the other three being Tatsuko Hoshino, Nakamura Teijo, and Hashimoto Takako.

    She died on 7 April 1972.

    Haiku collections:

     

    • Himawari (向日葵, dt. "Sunflower") in 1940;
    • Uo no hire (Fins of a Fish)
    • Hakkotsu (白骨, dt. "The Bleached bones") in 1952;
    • Shida-jigoku (歯朶地獄, dt. "The Fern Hell") in 1961;
    • Buna (ぶな, dt. "Beech"), 1970.

    Selected work:

    climb this tree
    and you'll be a she-devil
    red leaves in the sunset glow


    up on a hydro pole
    the electrician turns
    into a cicada

    (Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, by Makoto Ueda, Columbia University Press, 2003, pp.109-110)

    *

    winds of autumn -
    water less transparent
    than the fins of a fish

    (Haiku Mind, Patricia Donegan, Shambhala Publications. 2008, p.195)

    *

    O bird’s singing!
    The dead walk
    on the plain of the sea.


    The hair ornament of the sun
    has sunk
    into the legendary sea.

    (Women Poets of Japan by Ikuko Atsumi; Kenneth Rexroth, New Directions, 1977, p. 80)

    *

    春水のそこひは見えず櫛沈め  三橋鷹女

    shunsui no sokoi wa miezu kushi shizume

    not able to see
    spring water’s bottom…
    I sink my comb

    (from “Haiku Dai-Saijiki” (“Comprehensive Haiku Saijiki”), Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyo, 2006)

    *

    口中一顆の雹を啄み火の鳥や

    Kōchu ikka no hyō wo tsuibami hi no tori ya

    A hailstone held
    in its beak,
    the firebird soars

     (From Mitsuhashi Takajo Zenkushū (Collected Haiku of Mitsuhashi Takajo, 1976)

    *

    老いながら椿となつて踊りけり

    oinagara tsubaki to natte odorikeri

    as I get older
    I will become a camellia
    and dance and dance

    秋の蝶です いつぽんの留針です

    aki no choo desu ippon no tomebari desu

    I am an autumn butterfly
    I am just one pin

    (Tr. Gabi Greve)

    Sources:

  • TanedaTaneda Santōka (種田 山頭火)

    3 December 1882 – 11 October 1940

  • Tom TicoTom Tico

    May 15, 1942 - February 4, 2016
    Tom Tico's Legacy Biography

  • Max Verhart

    (14 January 1944 – 17 April 2018)

    Max Verhart was born on 14 January 1944 in Heerlen, Netherlands and resided in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Southern Netherlands. His has been interested in haiku since 1980. He wrote haiku both in Dutch and English and has published haiku and linked poetry since 1995 in various journals, anthologies and internet sites like Woodpecker, Lynx, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Ginyu, The Art of Haiku 2000, etc. He has also published essays on haiku in the journals Vuursteen and Kortheidshalve since 1996. His work has been translated in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, and USA.

    Max attended a number of international haiku meetings: in Great Britain (1999), Slovenia (1999), the Netherlands (2003), Germany (2005, 2013), Sweden (2007), Belgium (2010, 2014, 2015), and Poland (2015). He served as the President of the Haiku Circle Netherlands (Haiku Kring Nederland) (1999 - 2003); European director of the World Haiku Association (2001 - 2002); Member of the editorial staff of The Red Moon Anthology (Red Moon Press, USA) since 2002; Editor of the Dutch/Flemish quarterly Vuursteen (Flint) (2003 - 2009) - the oldest still existing haiku journal in Europe which had been founded in 1981 together with the Haiku Centre of Flanders HCV (Haiku-centrum Vlaanderen); Foreign Correspondent Co-editor of Modern Haiku (2007-2-13); Owner of 't schrijverke(whirligig), a Dutch publishing house since 2005. From 2010 to 2015 Max edited, in cooperation with Marlène Buitelaar, Norman Darlington (Ireland) and Klaus-Dieter Wirth (Germany) the bilingual (Dutch and English) haiku journal Whirligig.

    It is probably no coincidence that after a serious illness Max left this world on 17 April 2018 – the International Haiku Day. And although he will be missed by all of us in the various haiku communities around the world, his legacy will live on. As his friend and fellow haiku poet Klaus-Dieter Wirth wrote in Max Verhart’s obituary for Frogpond 41.2, one of Max’ greatest “concern was to collect everything published documenting Dutch haiku poetry to preserve it for posterity. And, to his great joy, he finally, in 2016, succeeded in finding a worthy home for his archive material: the Flemish Poetry Centre (Poëziecentrum Vlaanderen) in Het Toreken (Little Tower), a medieval guildhall in the central marketplace, Vrijdagmarkt (Friday market), in Ghent.”

    Books Published:

    • Zijn met wat is [to be with what is; haiku in Dutch] (Sintjoris, Sint-Denijs-Westrem: Belgium, 1993);
    • een beetje adem; [haiku in Dutch] ('t Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen: Netherlands, 1998);
    • some breath [haiku in English] ('t Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen: Netherlands, 1999);
    • geen woord teveel / not a word too much [haiku, bilingual] ('t Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen: Netherlands, 2000);
    • smoke signals [nine rengay with Betty Kaplan] ('t Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen: Netherlands, 2003);
    • [to be short; in Dutch] ('t schrijverke, 's-Hertogenbosch: Netherlands, 2005);
    • Zwölf Monde / Twaalf manen / twelve moons [rengay With Horst Ludwig, trilingual] ('t schrijverke, 's-Hertogenbosch: Netherlands, 2005);
    • [haiku & haiga in English] ('t schrijverke, 's-Hertogenbosch: Netherlands, 2008);
    • Bleek bosvogeltje [white helleborine; a novel in Dutch] ('t schrijverke, ’s-Hertogenbosch, 2009).

    Selected haiku:          


    bare trees
    no other sound but
    falling snow

    (geen woord teveel / not a word too much; 't Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen: Netherlands, 2000)

    op het stille plein
    beweegt alleen de schaduw
    van het ruiterbeeld

    silent square
    nothing moves
    but the statue's shade

    (Modern Haiku XXXII:2 (2001)

    *

    spring rain
    the horse’s back
    darkens

    (Ehime: One hundred Haiku. Ehime Culture Foundation; Matsuyama, 2002)

    *

    burning holes
    in a bamboo cane –
    the scent of music

    (Frogpond XXVI/3 (2003)

    *

    yellow letters –
    love kept together
    by a string

    (shiki free format Kukai 2nd (Nov 2005); Jointure 84 (2006)

    *

    out of the haze
    the dog brings back
    the wrong stick

    (shiki kigo Kukai 1st ( March 2006); Letni Časi #30-31 (2006)

    *

    red clouds
    losing their colour –
    a crow’s screech

    morning haze
    time too is only
    a silhouette

    deep winter
    even that single star might be
    a milky way

    crematorium –
    the lobby smelling
    of humid coats

    (only the white; 't schrijverke, 's-Hertogenbosch: Netherlands, 2008)

    *

    trouwfoto
    mijn toekomstige ouders
    nog gelukkig


    zdjęcie ślubne
    moi przyszli rodzice
    ciągle szczęśliwi

    wedding picture
    my future parents
    still happy

    (Haiku Anthology - Second International Haiku Conference, Kraków - May, 2015)

    Some essays:

     

    Sources:

    We are very grateful to Klaus-Dieter Wirth who provided some information for this tribute!

  • Verica Zivkovic

    Born 1957
    Lived in Starcevo, Serbia
    Died December 10, 2014

  • William J. Higginson

  • John WillsJohn Wills

    (4 July 1921 – 24 September 1993)

    John Howard Wills was born on 4 July 1921 in Los Angeles, California. He received an MA degree from the University of Chicago in 1951, and a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1961. For more than two decades John taught American and English literature at universities in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee and during that time, he published critical essays on T. S. Eliot, Joseph Conrad, and other writers. After the death of his first wife, he married artist and poet Marlene Morelock (now known as Marlene Mountain). They worked together on several haiku projects with him writing the poem and her creating the artwork behind the poem – drawings and photographs.

    John’s earliest attempts at writing haiku were made in 1965 after Marlene showed him 'The Way of Zen' by Alan Watts. Actually his earliest haiku writing was influenced by his children's poems.  Later in 1968, a colleague gave John and Marlene some back copies of ‘American Haiku’ (which had published its last issue that May). John’s serious interest in haiku began after getting acquainted with the work of Nicholas Virgilio. As he wrote more and more haiku, his skills quickly improved and some early work appeared in 1969 in Haiku West, SCTH, Haiku (Canada), and Haiku Spotlight (Japan). Within that same year, John published his first two books - Weathervanes and Back Country. If one considers the poets publishing in early ‘American haiku’ as the first wave, John was among the second wave of  contemporary writers of English-language haiku and some of his earliest work did not follow the traditional rules. He had a very unique style of writing and according to some haiku experts there was a certain iambic meter to his style, almost like a musical flow in his haiku. Encouraged by his wife Marlene Mountain who was one of the first English-language haiku poets to write haiku regularly in a single horizontal line, John wrote some 'one-line' haiku which were later published.

    In 1970, John spent the summer studying haiku in Matsuyama, Japan, under a research grant from Georgia Southern College, and in 1971, he moved with his family to Tennessee. They lived on 100 acres in the mountains of Tennessee and named their land "Sweetwater." Much of his best work was written there and he would be called by some the greatest nature poet writing haiku.

    By the end of his life, John Wills had published more than 800 haiku and nine books. His haiku were published in journals and anthologies and his work still appears in articles and essays written by a new generation of haiku poets, as well as by his contemporaries who continue to cherish and admire his work. John Wills died on 24 September 1993.


    Books Published:

    • Weathervanes, published by Rhoda de Long Jewell ; (Sangre de Cristo Press, 1969);
    • Back Country, photographs by Marlene M. Wills. Partial funding: Georgia Southern College (1969);
    • river, drawings by Marlene M. Wills for Georgia Southern College (1970), 2nd ed. Elizabethton, Tenn. (1976); 
    • The Young Leaves: Haiku of Spring and Summer,drawings by Marlene M. Wills. Statesboro, Ga.: Georgia Southern College (1970);
    • Cornstubble: Haiku of Fall and Winter, Photographs by Marlene M. Wills. Statesboro, Ga.: Georgia Southern College  (1971);
    • 21 haiku greeting cards, haiku by John Wills, drawings/design by Marlene Wills, 1977, self-published, TN;
    • Up a Distant Ridge, Manchester, N.H.: First Haiku Press (1980);
    • Reed Shadows, Sherbrooke, Que./Windsor, Ont.: Burnt Lake Press/Black Moss Press (1987);
    • mountain, S.E. Publishing (1993).

     

    Awards and other Honours:

    • Appointed to the first Haiku Society Awards Committee (the Society accepted the committee's recommendations and added awards for Wills' books Back Country and river);
    •  Served on the first selections panel for Frogpond magazine;
    • First Honourable Mention, HSA Merit Book Awards for Reed Shadows;
    • John had 21 haiku selected for the 1974 edition of The Haiku Anthology, 36 haiku for the 1986 edition, and 40 for the 1999 edition.

     

    Selected works:

    The hills
        release the summer clouds
             one . . . by one . . . by one

    (Back Country, Wills J., (1969)

     

    the old field
    throbs with insects...
    summer moon

    (Frogpond 8:3 (1985)

     

    autumn wind
    the rise and fall
    of sparrows

    (Modern Haiku 18:1 (winter-spring 1987)

     

    the river
    leans upon the snag
    a moment

    (Reed Shadows, Wills, J.,Sherbrooke, QC.: Burnt Lake Press, 1987)

     

    dusk from rock to rock a waterthrush

    (Up a Distant Ridge (1980); The Haiku Anthology, Van Den Heuvel, Cor, ed. , New York: Norton, 2000, p.301)


    in an upstairs room
    of the abandoned house
    a doll moongazing

    (The Haiku Anthology, Van Den Heuvel, Cor, ed. , New York: Norton, 2000, p.304)

     

    i catch
    the maple leaf        then let
    it go

    (from Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart by Patricia Donegan, Shambhala Publications Inc, 2008)

     

    More of John’s early haiku at:

    http://www.marlenemountain.org/backward/limage/ftm8c_jwillshaiku.html

     

    Some articles, essays and interviews with John Wills:

    • Wills, John, "Depth in Haiku," unpublished essay (1974);
    •  van den Heuvel, Cor, ed., The Haiku Anthology, New York: Anchor Books (1974);
    •  McClintock, Michael, "A Conversation With John Wills," Modern Haiku 7:2 (1976), 6-8;
    • van den Heuvel, Cor, "John Wills and One-Line Haiku - I: A Troutswirl Simplicity", Frogpond 4:4 (1981), 30–33;
    • van den Heuvel, Cor, "John Wills and One-Line Haiku – II: One-Liners", Frogpond 5:1 (1982), 38–45;
    • van den Heuvel, Cor, "John Wills and One-Line Haiku – III: Three in One or One in Three", Frogpond 5:3 (1982), 38–46 [Correction in Frogpond VI;1 (1983), 45-46;
    • St. Jacques, Elizabeth, "The Importance of Rhythm in Haiku," Woodnotes 15 (1992);
    • Estevez, Efren, "Images of John Wills," Frogpond XXVII:1 (2004), 55-57;
    • Estevez, Efren, "Troutswirl: Art in the Nature Poems of John Wills," The Haiku Society of America Newsletter XXI:4 (2006), 12-13.

     

    Sources:

    http://www.marlenemountain.org/mminfo/mi_mmjw_books.html
    http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=7
    http://terebess.hu/english/usa/wills.html
    http://performance.millikin.edu/haiku/writerprofiles/RuffnerOnWills.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku_in_English
    http://www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/2010-issue33-2/essay2-miller.html
    http://www.modernhaiku.org/essays/RossEssay.html

     

    This profile was created in collaboration with John Wills’ wife the poet and artist Marlene Mountain. We appreciate her help in updating the available information on John’s biography and publications!