About the World Haiku Review Archives

The archives of the World Haiku Review from 2000 to 2006.

About the WHC

Honorary President: James W. Hackett, US
Chairman & Founder: Susumu Takiguchi, UK
Development Advisor: Debra W. Bender, US
Policy Advisor: Mitsugu Abe, JP
Educational & Regional Director: Paul Conneally, UK
Spanish Director: Carlos Fleitas, UY
Japan Directors: Yasuomi Koganei, Takashi Nonin, JP
Academic Director: Daniel Gallimore, UK
Beginners Director: An’ya Petrovic, US
Multimedia Director: Ray Rasmussen, CA
Art Director: Kevin Ryan, UK
and WHC Advisors, worldwide

World Haiku Club and World Haiku Festival

Founded in 1998, the World Haiku Club has planned, organized and now runs the World Haiku Festival 2000 which is in its finale, the London Mark II Conference of May 2001. The Festival began with the “Prologue to WHF2000” in 1998 with various haiku-related events and in 2000, it ushered various programs “for real”, first with the launch of our website and mailing lists on the Internet on 1 January. It culminated in the six-day London – Oxford Conference of August 2000, a resounding success. In May 2001, following the “Epilogue to World Haiku Festival 2000 & Advent of JAPAN 2001”,  events of the WHC will be held under the banner of the “World Haiku Festival”.

With the two main themes, “Challenging Conventions” and “Charting Our Future”, the WHC/WHF started something new in the world haiku scene. Participation in the WHC activities is on an individual basis, though the Club is supported by numerous organizations and haiku movements.

World Haiku Festival 2002: September 2002 – Akita, Japan
“In Honour of Rogetsu, Shiki, Basho & R. H. Blyth”

World Haiku Review

We are now pleased to announce the creation of a new world-wide haiku magazine by the World Haiku Club for its members and for those who share our aims and aspirations in all corners of the earth. This quarterly publication is based on a completely new concept in aims, scale and scope and initially issued on the Internet. Called World Haiku Review, this on-line magazine is the organ of WHC and as such, is comprehensive in coverage and large-scale in size, embodying WHC’s philosophy.

Contemporary haiku is enjoying unprecedented prosperity and popularity. However, it is also in a state of flux and confusion. World Haiku Review will address all key issues of haiku today in addition to providing an ideal outlet for Members’ oeuvre. In so doing, the magazine will carry on the two main themes of the World Haiku Festival. It will re-examine all these issues in depth and give them critical reappraisal. It is therefore not the place for the faint-hearted or prejudiced. It is, however, for all those open-hearted and genuine lovers of haiku. World Haiku Review will treat readers and contributors fundamentally on an individual basis, although they will enjoy benefits from WHC’s friendly relationships with numerous haiku and other organisations in the world.

The new magazine is created to stimulate innovations in haiku and haiku-related genres, while exploring lasting values and spirit of its long tradition. On all levels of competence and experience of the member poets, “World Haiku Review” aims at the highest standards and quality.


World Haiku Club eigohaiku

This “revolutionary” online project to teach the Japanese how to write haiku, especially English-language haiku, is a long-term project arranged by Mitsugu Abe, WHC Policy Advisor and Susumu Takiguchi in association with premier educational publishers in Japan. WHC has set up this cyberspace school in Japan where the “Haiku in English Class” is given to an increasing number of Japanese readers.  Programmes are introduced step-by-step for the Japanese participants

Mission Statement of The World Haiku Club

The World Haiku Club is a non-profit-making organisation, established for the purpose of creating a world-wide network of haiku poets through which to help disseminate and develop haiku, and also to raise standards and quality of the genre. The WHC seeks to establish a synthesis between tradition and innovation (“fueki-ryuko”) as well as a balance between different schools of thought. Therefore, WHC is a broad church not siding with any specific organisation nor supporting any single poet. WHC maintains friendly and co-operative relationships with other like-minded organisations and individuals, united with them in the common goal of celebrating and developing the world haiku movement.

The WHC aims at maintaining free, civil, friendly and creative culture in our search for permanent poetic values (“fuga-no-makoto”), where the motto is “the maximum freedom of poetic expression within the framework of minimum restrictions”.

However, the WHC, as an organisation solely concerned with the creation and appreciation of haiku and related genres, is non-political, non-religious and non-faction and aims at avoiding all manners of prejudice. Any movements or propaganda activities in these areas are not allowed. Also, abuse of any sort is forbidden, including personal attacks and counter-attacks, blatant self-aggrandisement, unacceptable bad manners and language, or any form of negative haiku politics. WHC operates on levels which transcend national, regional or individual organisation levels.

As we study, re-examine and uphold the proven values of the past, our main focus is on the future, stimulating creative experiments, innovations and search for new horizons in haiku and related genres. In this light, WHC celebrates diversity, promotes individualism and local initiatives and champions new talent, while at the same time honouring universal commonality and achievements of the established poets.

In this spirit, our driving force is manifested in the two mottoes: “Challenging Conventions” and “Charting Our Future.”

Quotations Reflecting the Spirit of The World Haiku Festival

“The Conference resolved: –

to join in the international haiku movement in order to enhance the quality and standards of haiku and to increase effective communications among haiku poets throughout the world;

to respect and encourage diversity, individuality and regional initiatives;

to co-operate through specific events and activities with other haiku organisations, movements and individuals in order to put these aims into practice.” (The WHF2000 Conference Manifesto)

“… to those who respect and identify with Basho’s devotion to the natural world, divorcing haiku (and ourselves) from the reality and myriad wonders of natural Creation is a travesty, and worse. Ecological science has shown that the myopic anthropocentrism which has dominated Western culture for millennia is a dangerously limited view: one which humanity must grow from, if life on Earth is to survive.” (J. W. Hackett)
“The present anthology [KNOTS] is without doubt an important step on the way towards a new, different haiku. Its contributions to the renovation of this form lies in the originality of inspiration, strong personalities of both women and men who express the parts of themselves in this book, in their sharp talent provoking a slight loss of balance which shakes every certainty, every indifference, every conformity.” (Alain Kervern)

“Remember that the richness of haiku begins within the individual, combining a love of life and a love of literature with the experience of this moment. But it does not end there. Rather, haiku goes on to offer some microcosm of that combination of inner life and momentary experience of others through sharing the poem. And that sharing requires the best work we can do with the words of our own language, and the work of translators to make as much as possible of that poem available even beyond the borders of our own language.” (William J. Higginson)

“Poetry is like a free bird that knows no boundary, like seeds that are carried along by the wind, that grow, bloom and bear fruit where they find good soil without asking anyone’s permission” (Ion Codrescu)

“We are united in the common goal of celebration and development of international haiku movement” (Declaration by the Global Haiku Festival and the World Haiku Festival 2000)

“Some devoted poets of the world have yearned for haiku, this short poem that is at the forefront of world poetry and offers the highest level of completeness. Haiku provides a means for these poets to break free of this situation. The only way we can return haiku or poetry to the common people is by responding to the wishes of these poets.” (the Matsuyama Declaration)

“A way forward, which is our challenge in this new century, is to try and expand our imagination and open our hearts. That way, we can reach out to the sense and sensibility of haiku poets around the world. What is good in the Japanese haiku tradition can thus be combined with the new poetic values being generated in other haiku nations.” (Susumu Takiguchi)

The World Haiku Club, The WHF2000 London-Oxford Conference Manifesto, 25-30 August 2000

James W. Hackett, The Twaddle of An Oxonian – Haiku Poems & Essays, 2000, Foreword

Alain Kervern, KNOTS – The Anthology of Southeastern European Haiku Poetry, 1999, pp. 216-217

William J. Higginson, Personal Message to the World Haiku Festival 2000 London-Oxford Conference, 25-30 August 2000.

Ion Codrescu, Rules of Form and Freedom of Spirit in Haiku, a key-note speech at the World Haiku Festival 2000

The Matsuyama Declaration, the Matsuyama Declaration, 1999, p. 88

The Global Haiku Festival & the World Haiku Festival 2000, the GHF, Decatur, Illinois, April 2000

Susumu Takiguchi, The Twaddle of An Oxonian – Haiku Poems & Essays, 2000, p. 1

William J. Higginson

A Personal Message for the World Haiku Festival

It is a good practice for any haiku poet to listen to beginners and non-haiku poets, for they bring in fresh ideas, new dimensions, unexpected reactions and innocent, but fundamental questions which are all good for non-beginners. This must be combined with the wisdom and advice of seasoned haiku poets. William J. Higginson is a doyen of haiku and related subjects but he also listens to voices of beginners and non-haiku poets.

Bill has kindly sent a message to the World Haiku Festival, which explains his personal standpoint in terms of haiku composition. The message provides us not only with an insight into his thoughts, but also with a beacon which could guide us in our quest for better quality, standards and contents of haiku. It also marks the first of a series of teachings and advice which we wish to feature in World Haiku Review.

From: William J. Higginson

To Susumu Takiguchi and Participants at the World Haiku Festival 2000

Greetings, Haiku Poets! May these days together give you a new sense of the one world of haiku.

Remember that the richness of haiku begins within the individual, combining a love of life and a love of literature with the experience of this moment.  But  it does not end there. Rather, haiku goes on to offer some microcosm of that combination of inner life and momentary experience to others through sharing the poem. And that sharing requires the best work we can do with the words of our own language, and the work of translators to make as much as possible of that poem available even beyond the borders of our own language.  I offer you my own credo as a poet, presented at the Global Haiku Festival in Decatur, Illinois, USA, last April:

First, I will write the poem that I need now, in the very moment of the writing. I don’t much care whether I’m writing from immediate observation, or from memory, or from some vividly imagined dream. But I must write under the impulse of the moment when I write. That much is clear. This may mean that at one time I am working desperately to capture the action at a birdbath in my back yard, and another to find the meaning hidden in some scrap of an elusive memory.  However it happens, the writing time is mine, and not under orders from others.

Second, as I have personally done since I first began to write haiku, I have looked over the haiku being written at the current time, which today means reading recent anthologies, the latest magazines, and a number of Web sites, and decided for myself what kinds of haiku I see out there and admire.  To support that work, as you well know, I write books about haiku, and try to give some shape to the kaleidoscopic haiku scene.  But at the same time, as a poet, I best support what I think is the best work being written by writing haiku that find common ground with that work – still in my own way, but with a sense of communion with like-minded poets.

Third, I underline again a theme that arose at that first Haiku North America conference, almost a decade ago: The biome that supports our very life on this planet is in danger of being destroyed by our own human ignorance and rapacious greed. To the extent that haiku involves an attempt to actually see the world as it is, haiku can witness both the delights of the natural world and the stupidity of some of our human activity in that natural world, which I remind you, is the whole world, including even this very room. So, once again, I echo Bashô’s cry: “Return to nature!” In poems, may I  never fail to demonstrate that essential haiku sensitivity to the world around me, build each by each, small shrines to the consciousness that says there is something larger, and more important, than this mere self that does all the looking and the scribbling.

May your sharing these several days enrich
your lives and your haiku practice!

hototogisu –
just as I glimpse him
he flies away

Written at Matsuyama, 11 August 2000

[Note: this message was sent to the World Haiku Festival 2000 London-Oxford-Conference 25-30  August 2000 and was read out at the Welcome Reception & Ceremony held at the Japanese Embassy in London on 25 August and also in a formal session at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford]

 The Issues of the World Haiku Review

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