William J. Higginson
Brief Biographies for All Occasions
Like most writers, I have a varied background. In addition to the writing and publishing, my major work over the years has included giving public readings of my poetry and translations, presenting lectures and keynote addresses, teaching a range of subjects, and leading writing workshops. I am also noted for writing, translating, and otherwise dealing with the short poems known as haiku and associated Japanese-style writings. Below are professional biographies of various lengths relating to the linked activities mentioned above.
As Poet in Readings and Performances
William J. Higginson began writing and translating while serving with the U. S. Air Force in Japan. His From Here Press has published chapbooks by Allen Ginsberg, Ruth Stone, and others. His own books include poems, anthologies, and literary history. He has read his work, lectured, and conducted workshops throughout North America and Japan. (50 words) (to top)
“The Air Force made me a poet,” says William J. “Bill” Higginson. Born and raised in New York City and Bergenfield, New Jersey, he graduated from Southern Connecticut State College. The U. S. Air Force sent him to Yale to study Japanese; serving in Japan, he began writing and translating.
Back home, Higginson founded From Here Press, publishing poetry chapbooks by Allen Ginsberg, Ruth Stone, and others. Higginson’s own books include The Haiku Handbook, Red Fuji (translations), Paterson Pieces (poems), and Surfing on Magma (poems). Find him on the Web at http://www.2hweb.net.
Higginson has read his work, given talks, and led writing workshops throughout North America and in Japan. He has received awards from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Haiku Society of America. He lives in Summit, New Jersey, with his wife, the poet and fiction writer Penny Harter. (150 words)
Poet, non-fiction author, translator, teacher, and editor William J. “Bill” Higginson was born in New York City and raised there and in Bergenfield, New Jersey. He received his B.A. with honors in English from Southern Connecticut State College. While in the U.S. Air Force he studied Japanese at Yale and served two years in Japan, where he began writing and translating.
In 1975, Higginson founded From Here Press in Paterson, New Jersey, publishing poetry chapbooks by Allen Ginsberg, Ruth Stone, and others. Higginson’s own books include The Haiku Handbook, Wind in the Long Grass (an anthology for children), The Haiku Seasons: Poetry of the Natural World, translations such as Red Fuji: Selected Haiku of Yatsuka Ishihara, and several collections, including Paterson Pieces (poems), Death Is & Approaches to the Edge (poems and essays), and Surfing on Magma (poems). On the Internet, he edits the “Haiku and Related Forms” category of the Open Directory Project. His involvement with Japanese-style linked poetry is described on his web site at http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku.
Higginson’s poems and essays appear in numerous literary journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias, for example Blue Stones and Salt Hay, Under a Gull’s Wing, The Teachers & Writers Guide to William Carlos Williams, World Poets, An Exaltation of Forms, and Poets of New Jersey. He has led writing workshops for children and adults at schools and literary and arts festivals throughout North America, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festivals in New Jersey and the Border Book Festivals in New Mexico, and in Japan. He has taught high school English, mathematics, and Japanese, and has taught literature, composition, public speaking, and creative writing at Union County College, N.J.
Higginson’s work as a visiting poet in elementary and secondary schools and community arts programs has been documented in New Jersey English Journal and in Classics in the Classroom: Using Great Literature to Teach Writing (1999) and The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing (2000), both from Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
Higginson has received a translation grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, a fellowship in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and three Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America. He lives in Summit, New Jersey, with his wife, the poet and fiction writer Penny Harter. (400 words)
For information on my public lectures and keynote addresses, please see my listing on the "Speakers on Asian Topics" web site.
As Teaching Artist and Workshop Leader—Poetry and Nonfiction
William J. Higginson is a poet, literary historian, translator, teacher, and editor who grew up in New York City and Bergen County, New Jersey. He received his B.A. with honors in English from Southern Connecticut State College in New Haven, Connecticut. While in the US Air Force, he studied Japanese at Yale University and served two years in Japan, where he began writing and translating.
In 1975, Higginson founded From Here Press in Paterson, NJ, publishing poetry chapbooks by Allen Ginsberg, Ruth Stone, and other American and Japanese poets. Higginson's own poems, translations, and essays appear in numerous literary journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias. His published books include The Haiku Handbook (literary history and how-to), Wind in the Long Grass (illustrated international poetry anthology for young readers), Butterfly Dreams (electronic book of translations from Japanese, with nature photographs by Michael Lustbader), Paterson Pieces and Surfing on Magma (poems), among others. His ground-breaking books The Haiku Seasons and Haiku World will shortly appear in second editions dealing with nature and poetry and the global spread of interest in haiku in the Internet age.
Higginson has received a translation grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, a fellowship in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and three Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America.
Higginson chaired the English Department of the New Mexico Academy for Science and Mathematics in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he also directed a popular reading series featuring local and national poets, novelists, and writers of creative nonfiction. He has taught literature, composition, and creative writing at Union County College, NJ. He has worked as a visiting poet and non-fiction writer in schools and many other venues in North America and Japan. He is also in demand as a lecturer and workshop leader at national and international conferences. (300 words)
Since the Air Force introduced him to Japanese haiku, William J. Higginson has been writing poems and essays and translating poetry from a variety of languages. He’s been doing this for nearly forty years, in places as diverse as northern Japan; New Haven, Connecticut; northern New Jersey; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. (50 words)
Poet, translator, and literary historian William J. Higginson has been called “the guru of American haiku” and “haiku’s Clint Eastwood.” Higginson has translated, written about, and lectured on this short poem and its growing popularity worldwide. His own haiku and related writings helped establish the genre as a force in American poetry during the 1970s. His Haiku Handbook has been called “the standard work in the field” (Booklist), and still sells well more than 20 years after its first publication. Stone Bridge Press will shortly issue the second edition of The Haiku Seasons, his ground-breaking account of haiku’s origins and nature content. The book takes up the huge rise of global interest in haiku on the Internet. Higginson regularly reviews new haiku publications on his blog at http://haikaipub.wordpress.com/. He also edits the “Haiku and Related Forms” section of the Open Directory, the source for most other online directories and search engines. (150 words)
William J. Higginson is a widely published poet, author, lecturer, and translator. His books include poems, translations, and nonfiction, published in the United States, England, and Japan. His work also appears in many magazines, anthologies, and reference books and on the Web. Audiences from Quebec to California and Tokyo to Osaka have heard him read his work and speak on writing, publishing, and teaching writing. He has appeared on radio and television in the U.S. and abroad. He has a special interest in the short Japanese poem called “haiku” and the spread of haiku and related poetries to languages and cultures outside Japan.
Editor of Haiku Magazine from 1971 to 1976, in 1975 Higginson founded From Here Press in Paterson, New Jersey, and has published works by prominent American poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Ruth Stone, as well as modern Japanese haiku master Yatsuka Ishihara and others. He and his wife, the poet and fiction writer Penny Harter, are featured on a half-hour radio program in the set Poetic Forms, published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City.
Today, Higginson is best known as author of The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku, first published by McGraw-Hill and still in print after 20 years. His international anthology of haiku, Wind in the Long Grass, is part of a Silver Burdett Ginn reading program for elementary students. And his two books on the nature aspects and globalization of haiku and related poetries, The Haiku Seasons, and Haiku World, will soon appear in new editions from Stone Bridge Press.
After a decade in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Higginson directed a popular series of literary performances, he now lives in Summit, New Jersey, and visits schools throughout the New York metropolitan area teaching writing and performance skills. (300 words)