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William Seltzer

William Seltzer

Born: September 22 1934 in New York New York, USA
Resides: Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, USA
E-mail: wseltzer (at) westnet (dot) com

After writing traditional poetry in high school and college, I first began studying, reading, and writing haiku in the mid-1950s under the influence of Donald Keene's Japanese Literature: An Introduction for Western Readers (New York: Grove Press, 1955) and several courses on haiku given by Harold J. Isaacson at the then New School for Social Research in New York between about 1956 and 1958. A book of my poems was published in two editions in 1958 and 1959, both including a section, Haiku Studies, containing 12 haiku. This work has been identified as being among the early examples of published haiku written in English (C. Trumbull, Modern Haiku, Autumn 2005, Vol. 36.3). Thereafter, from 1960 thru 2011, I worked as a demographer and statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau, the Population Council, the United Nations, and Fordham University. During this period, and with particular intensity thru 1987, I continued studying and writing haiku. Although I did not submit any haiku for publication in these years, I did complete two as yet unpublished books of haiku. In 2012, after my wife and I relocated to a retirement community in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, I resumed writing haiku intensively and began submitting haiku for publication with some success, drawing on both my current and earlier haiku.

Awards and Other Honors: "A thin film of wind," Honorable mention, American Academy of Poets, Collegiate Division prize at the University of Chicago (1955).

Books Published: Poems (New York: Rustam Press, 1958; Voyages Press, 1959).

Selected Work
almost spring
under a cold grey sky
white snow drops
purple linaria 
one shoot weighed down by
a bumble bee
day long spring rain
even the artificial turf
seems greener
autumn mist – 
somewhere beyond the familiar
one hundred pine trees
summer coolness – 
one breath of honeysuckle
has crossed the world
A winter pond
more than a frog is missing
kiregi kana

Credits: "almost spring" - Shamrock Haiku 25 (Spring 2013); "day long spring rain" - Modern Haiku 44.3 (October 2013); "summer coolness" - The Daily Mainichi (8/31/2013); "purple linaria" - World Haiku Review (Summer 2013); "autumn mist" - Shamrock Haiku 25 (Spring 2013); "A winter pond" - Modern Haiku 44.1 (Winter-Spring 2013).

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