Bill Higginson, a man who helped bring haiku and linked-form Japanese poetry to the English-language world, and who was an admired friend and mentor to scores of “haijin”, died today. Bill was a Poet, Translator, Author, Workshop Leader, Editor, and Teacher, and a charter member and past president of the Haiku Society of America, but the sum of the person and his work was much more than the parts. I was not fortunate enough to know Bill personally, but the affection and respect with which he is held by many of my haiku friends tells me how deeply he will be missed.
Holding the water,
held by it __
the dark mud
the tea water
from the sandy beach
I stumble into
As Curtis Dunlap noted at his Tobacco Road weblog this evening, just about every serious haiku poet has a copy of The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku (1985), which Bill wrote with his wife and collaborator, Penny Harter. It was my first introduction to the history and aesthetics of haiku. Bill’s love of renku and his many contributions to the genre can be seen at his Renku Home website. You will find a brief literary and academic bio, here, and much more at Bill’s 2HWeb “gateway” site.
Those who know Bill well will surely have much more to say about the haiku legend, the friend and teacher. His loving wife Penny sent a message to Curtis Dunlap today about Bill’s last day and plans for memorial services, which you can find at Tobacco Road.
Any of Bill’s friends, students, or admirers who would like to leave a message or a poem celebrating his life or mourning his death, is welcome to do so in our Comment section. [Because Comments are moderated, there may be a delay before yours is posted.] My most sincere condolences go out to Penny and the rest of Bill’s family, and to all of his friends.
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an almost-full moon —
we follow his footsteps
…. by dagosan (in mem., Bill Higginson, October 11, 2008)
— sunset over the Mohawk River, Schenectady, NY, October 11, 2008; by dag —