Sunday, October 12, 2008

William J Higginson: in memoriam

Holding the water,
held by it -
the dark mud.

William J Higginson
(photograph © 2001, 2008 gerald england)

From K is for Katikati Haiku Path.

Five weeks ago on Wordfield’s Haikai Pub William J Higginson (Bill to his friends) wrote
Sorry—illness has me offline for some time.
Sadly Blogging Along Tobacco Road yesterday posted news of his death.

Although I never knew him personally, he and I exchanged letters and emails over many years. He contributed to The Art of Haiku.

A lot more will doubtless be said over the coming weeks and months about this giant of a man in the world of haiku.

For now, my heart goes out to his wife Penny and all other members of his family.

One of his links in the renku The Click of Mahjong Tiles composed as a result of his involvement with the haikutalk group is:

he thickens the water
mixing medicinal herbs

Bye Bill and thanks for everything.


  1. We have lost a gentle haiku soul. I always read his comments, articles and haiku with a sense of learning.
    In his death, we have lost an international voice.
    R K Singh

  2. We have truly lost an amazing human being. Bill gave so much to the world of haiku literature, and to those people just starting out to love haiku.

    Bill, you were, you are, a very lovely generous kind-hearted man who walked the earth for us.

    the rain
    almost a friend
    this funeral


  3. I met Bill for the first time in January, at the AWP conference in New York. He was as amiable as I always imagined. He's done so much for haiku; I'm sad to learn he's gone.

  4. There hasn't been anyone within the
    haiku community that has taught me
    so much about a genre, life & love
    as Bill has.


    H. Gene Murtha
    PS: this is one of Bill's favorites of mine, he said it
    reminded him of David & Galiath.

    Berlin Wall
    a smooth stone
    in my pocket

  5. Over fifty years I've written privatly in various forms. Since reading Mr. Higginson's work, four or so years past, I've begun writing haiku/senryu, and have become less private... who knows why.

    sad dog
    visits each day
    this head stone.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. It is with a deep sense of loss that I write these thoughts on the passing of a pioneer and exemplary haiku poet. I'm sure he will be eulogized and rightfully so on both sides of the Pacific and his contributions to the genre will be long and properly remembered.

    His book is the very first one I bought to learn and study haiku. Thank you Bill!

    in the fog
    the last call
    of the loon

    full of life
    the regal oak succumbs
    to ravage of nature

    Vic Gendrano

  8. Bill,
    Thank you for showing me glimpses of your world. I have enjoyed your poetry and your urbane humor.
    Your Friend,
    Princess Haiku

  9. Very touching, Gerald. I'm sorry for your loss. He will obviously be sorely missed.

  10. I cannot say enough how saddened I am by this news, how much Bill meant to me personally, or how important he and his writings about haiku meant to me and to the haiku community worldwide. I will miss his friendship and leadership in haiku poetry. This is a profoundly sad day for me and for all haiku poets around the world.

    Michael Dylan Welch

  11. So sorry to learn of his passing. I read much of what he wrote and felt I learned with each page. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.