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

(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)


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:



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