• Filipova, Sofia

    Sofia FilipovaSofia Filipova

    (24 December 1930 – 17 January 2022)

    Sofia Filipova was born in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria on 24 December 1930. She held a degree in Bulgarian philology from Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ and a PhD from the Research Institute of Education. She has further specialised in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Filipova has worked for many years as a teacher in Bulgarian language and literature in the National School for Ancient Languages and Cultures ‘St Constantine-Cyril the Philosopher’ in Sofia, and was Research Associate in the Department for Methodology of Literary Education at Sofia University.

    Sofia Filipova was a Bulgarian poet, editor, and literary critic; retired professional educator. In 1993 she wrote and introduced the first collection of tests in Literature for the 7th grade in the Bulgarian educational system, which marked the beginning of the new system for checking and evaluating knowledge. In addition as a study aid, she authored educational film scripts for Bulgarian classics like Geo Milev, Yavorov, and Hristo Smirnensky, which were screened at schools, and her monograph "Formation of an aesthetic attitude to a literary work" (1975; 1986) became a kind of textbook for teachers of literature, directing the construction of a broad view of literary phenomena, combining literary studies with aesthetics. Since 2014, she has been a permanent member of the jury at the "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" International Foundation for selecting the most prominent teacher of Bulgarian language and literature for the year. For her long-established service in the field of education and culture, Filipova has received a number of certificates "Merit for Bulgarian Education" (from the Union of Bulgarian Teachers, the Union of Bulgarian Writers, etc.), medals and honours, incl. the Order of Cyril and Methodius - 2nd degree from the State Council of the Republic of Bulgaria.

    She was the author of a ground-breaking Речник по стихознание (Dictionary of Verse Studies, 2004; reprinted in 2010), and has written numerous articles, and essays on haikai poetry, reviews, monographs, textbooks, and poetry collections. In 2008 Filipova co-founded, together with Angelina Vasileva, the Sofia Autumn Salon of Poetry and was co-editor of its electronic magazine Поетични страници (Poetic Pages). She was co-author together with Alexandra Ivoilova of the poetry collection Отгласи (Resonance, 2009) – a renga-like questions and answers. In 2019 Filipova published her solo poetry collection Жажди (Thursts, Sofia).

    Sofia Filipova was a long-standing and very energetic member of the Bulgarian Haiku Union and served as its chairwoman (2014-2020). In 2013 she initiated the BHU journal Хайку свят(Haiku World) and was its editor-in-chief (2013-2022). In addition to haiku and related forms, the journal publishes theoretical articles on the aesthetics of haiku, announcements about new haikai books, events and various contests. In 2016 Petar Plamenov and Sofia Filipova held a conference on the theme “Wind Bearers—Aesthetics and Philosophy of Haiku Poetry” at Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’. Although already in her early 90s, Sofia Filipova continued to work on essays, reviews and book/textbook prefaces, edited with passion the BHU journal and had regular meeting with the Bulgarian haiku poets. She died in her home on 17 January 2022 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    Selected haiku:


    И ето пак листа

    ръждиви, златни, жълти …

    А ние – същите ли сме?

    And here are the leaves again

    rusty, golden, yellow...

    And we - are we the same?

    Sofia Filipova


    есенните клади –

    по пътя ни обгарят.

    They flare up

    the autumn bonfires –

    they burn us along the way.

    Alexandra Ivoylova

    Толкова крехък е пътят

    под нашите стъпки.

    Ще издържи ли?

    So fragile is the road

    under our feet.

    Will it last?

    Sofia Filipova

    Отронва се камъче.

    Звънти пропастта.

    Още стъпка …

    A pebble rolls down.

    The chasm rings.

    One more step...

    Alexandra Ivoylova


    (Sofia Filipova, Ivoylova, Alexandra. Отгласи (Resonance); Sofia, 2009).


    mournful sun

    peeps through the window

    vague memories


    we swallowed snowflakes

    until we were full

    we did not choke


    only one fish

    on the plate

    plenty for a lifetime

    (Отвъд думите/Beyond Words, bilingual haiku anthology, BHU, The British Haiku Society, Haiku Club-Plovdiv; Sofia, 2018),


    two seagulls dancing blues

    among the glasses

    of our last night gin


    little seashell,

    how could you hold

    such a deep echo

    (Морето/The Sea, bilingual haiku anthology, BHU; Sofia, 2021)








    Хайку свят, issues 5-6/2019-2020, publ. by Iztok-Zapad, Sofia, 2020; pp.167-168.

  • Oreč-Gavran, Zdenko

    Zdenko OrečZdenko Oreč-Gavran

    (1930 ̶ 2021)

    Zdenko Oreč-Gavran was born on 20 April 1930 in the town of Zvečevo, Croatia. He founded the Ludbreg Haiku Meetings (Ludbreški haiku susreti) in the town of Ludbreg, northeast of Zagreb. This gathering of haiku poets has been held every year since 1997 and is open to the public. The first Haiku zbornik - Ludbreg was published in 1998 and included materials from the 1997 gathering. Until 2003 miscellanies were published privately by Oreč-Gavran. The Miscellany was a major publication where poets were invited to contribute haiku to the annual publication, and the selected work was published in the Haiku Miscellany.

    Oreč-Gavran was also co-editor of the annual Haiku Calendar/Rokovnik and edited and published annual miscellanies of children's haiku. He was a member of the judging commissions for haiku and senryu. In 2006 he was awarded the annual Ludbreg column of haiku poets, transitional chalice for haiku poets. Besides haiku he was publishing prose, poetry and riddles in a number of journals and newspapers. He issued two collections of aphorisms and a book of puns from children's textbooks. He wrote haiku and senryu in Croatian and the Kajkavian Dialect. Zdenko Oreč died in Ludbreg in 2021.

    Awards and Other Honours:

    • Zbornik Haiku Konkurs 'AN4-2001'/Anthology Haiku competition 'AN4-2001';
    • Encouragement Award, Ito-En, International Haiku Contest (1997);
    • Second Prize, International Kusamakura Haiku Competition (1998);
    • Second Prize, International Kusamakura Haiku Competition (1999);
    • Marijan Čekolj i Marinko Španović: Otvoren put /Free Road: Antologija hrvatske haiku poezije [Croatian Haiku anthology] (Hrvatsko haiku društvo: Samobor, 1999);
    • 100 Croatian Haiku [An anthology for the Haiku Cards Game] (DHHP, Zagreb 2000);
    • Very good haiku, A-Bomb Memorial Day Haiku Meeting (2001);
    • Third Prize, International Kusamakura Haiku Competition (2003);
    • Second Prize, Kloštar Ivanić Haiku Contest, Croatian language category (2004);
    • Annual Ludbreg column of haiku poets award, Croatia, 2006;
    • Second Prize, International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, Japan 2008;
    • Commendation, Pumpkin Festival Haiku Contest (Ivanić-Grad, Croatia, 2015).

    Haiku/Haiga Books Published:

    • Rijeke šume (Rustling Rivers), Ludbreg, 1996;
    • Školjka u pijesku (A Shell in the Sand), Ludbreg, 1998;
    • Plodovi nesanice: 1991 (Fruits of Insomnia: 1991). Ludbreg, Croatia: published privately, 1999;
    • Neprolazni susreti (Unpassable Encounters), Ludbreg, 1999;
    • Olovka i kist (Pencil and Paintbrush), haigas painted by Rudi Stopar (Slovenia); haiku by Zdravko Kurnik, Zvonko Petrovic, Julija Ivic, Dusko Matas, Boris Nazansky, Zdenko Oreč, and Rudi Stopar; in Croatian, Slovenian, English and Japanese, Zagreb, 2010.

    Selected works:

    ona mu okrene leđa
    na mjesečini
    obrisi brda u porastu

    she turns her back
    in the moonlight
    the mountain contour expands

    (Encouragement Award, Ito-En, International Haiku Contest, Tokyo, Japan, 1997)

    ljetni pljusak
    pod stablo padaju cvjetovi
    na suho

    summer downpour
    under the tree-crown the blossoms
    falling into dry

    (Second Prize, International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, Japan, 2008)

    dostavno vozilo
    radi u snijegu ̶
    miris kruha

    a delivery van
    working in the snow ̶
    the smell of bread

    (Second Prize, the International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, Japan, 1999)

    ispiru sjećanja
    na prljavi rat

    with TV serials
    they are rinsing our memories
    of the dirty war

    (Awarded (very good haiku) at the 35th A-Bomb Memorial Day Haiku Meeting, Kyoto, Japan, 2001)

    sjemenke suncokreta
    u svoju sjenu

    sunflower seeds
    falling into
    their own shadows

    (Otvoren put/Free Road, An Anthology of Croatian Haiku Poetry, Croatian Haiku Society, Samobor, 1999. (Edited by Marijan Čekolj and Marinko Španović)

    zvonki udarac
    grane o krov auta
    ispraznio kafić

    resonant sound ̶
    a bough on the car roof
    emptied the pub

    (Haiku No. 21/22, The Assocication of Croatian Haiku Poets, Zagreb, 2004 (Edited by. D. V. Rožić)

    priđoh prozoru
    da pobrojim ptice
    one odlijeću

    I come to the window
    to count the birds
    they fly away

    (Ludbreški haiku zbornik/Ludbreg Haiku Miscellany, Croatia, 2015)

    ona miluje
    svoj mobitel a dečki
    čekaju rundu

    she is cuddling
    her mobile phone ̶ the boys
    ordered another round

    (Third Prize, „Afrodita“ erotic haiku/senryu contest, Ludbreg, Croatia, 2015 (Founded by Mirko Varga)

    crna trepavica
    na praznom papiru ̶
    otvorena zagrada

    a black eyelash
    on a blank paper ̶
    an open bracket

    (IRIS No. 15, 2021, Ivanić-Grad, Croatia), Haiku translated by D. V. Rožić



    IRIS International, Year 7th, No.7, 2021, Ivanić-Grad, Croatia

    This profile was created in collaboration with Djurdja Vukelić-Rožić and Stjepan Rožić, who took the photograph. We appreciate their invaluable help in preparing Zdenko Oreč’s biography.