William J. Higginson

From his wikipedia page:


William J. Higginson (1938–2008) was an American poet, translator and author most notable for his work with haiku and enku, born in New York City.


He served for two years at Misawa Air Base in Japan in the early 1960s. Upon return to the US he completed his undergraduate studies, obtaining a BA in English at Southern Connecticut State College in 1969.  He edited Haiku Magazine from 1971 to 1976, and ran the literary From Here Press, which published titles by several well-known authors, including Allen Ginsberg, Elizabeth Searle Lamb, and Ruth Stone.


Higginson's experience in Japan led him to conclude "the 17 sound structure of Japanese haiku did not translate into 17 syllables in English" and in his translations therefrom stressed more upon "the order of images, the grammar between them (or lack thereof) and the psychological effect of the poems".

Higginson's aim was to "bring haiku, full bore into the heat of our own time and place"

and make it "a contemporary living art" whilst still remembering that "in Japan they talk of composing haiku rather than writing them."


The primary purpose of reading and writing haiku, Higginson thought, "was in sharing moments of our lives that have moved us, pieces of experience that we offer or share as gifts".


His three major works, The Haiku Handbook (1985), Haiku World (1996), and The Haiku Seasons (1996), all continue to sell well with internet booksellers, while The Haiku Handbook is one of the most widely read English-language haiku books.

Titles by Author

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