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Richard Gilbert

Richard Gilbert

Born: March 1954 in Westport Connecticut, USA
Resides: Kumamoto, Japan
E-mail: gilbert (dot) japan (at) gmail (dot) com

Most of my education has come from independent study, including reading, travel, and scraping for a living. At Naropa University (Boulder, Colorado), I studied and hung out with beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Gary Snyder, and others; and became a Tibetan Buddhist meditator. I performed in and produced conceptual art multi-disciplinary presentations as poet, videographer, and electric guitarist. My undergraduate thesis was on Japanese classical haiku, and I received a BA in Poetics and Expressive Arts. I went to a Buddhist seminary in 1984, and returned to Naropa for an MA in Contemplative Psychology. I worked as a clinical adult outpatient psychotherapist at Boulder Community Mental Health Center. In 1988 I entered The Union Institute & University doctoral program, and received a Ph.D. in Poetics and Depth Psychology in 1990, studying Archetypal Psychology with James Hillman. Upon graduation, I became a post-production audio engineer in Los Angeles for two years, then returned to Denver, and trained and took a post as director/producer at Denver Community Television for five years, while composing poetry. I moved to Kumamoto, Japan, in 1997, and from 1998 began teaching at university, publishing academic articles on Japanese and English-language haiku, and designing EFL educational software. I received tenure as an Associate Professor of British and American Literature, Faculty of Letters, Kumamoto University in 2002.

Awards and Other Honors: (Haiku-related): Grants: Research grants awarded by the Japan Ministry of Education (MEXT): 1) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, MEXT Kakenhi 18520439 (2006-08), supported the creation of research materials found at the Gendai Haiku Website (‘’); 2) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Kakenhi 21520579 (2009-12) supported documentary filming and book publication of the works and life of Kaneko Tohta (see “Books,” below); 3) MEXT Kakenhi 24520628 (2012-15) supports current research, including the translation of new scholarship related to Basho, additional poet interviews, and the publication of a bilingual textbook presenting topics in Japanese and English-language haiku for Japanese EFL university students.

Professional Activities: Co-judge of the Kusamakura International Haiku Competition, Kumamoto, Japan (2003-present). Founder and Director of the Kon Nichi Haiku Translation Group, Kumamoto University (2002-present). Founding Associate Member of The Haiku Foundation.

New & Continuing Projects: From 2008-2012, design and construction of BigFish (''), a state-of-the-art recording studio, whose goals are to preserve the lineage of musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments, and create artistic and educational media related to Japanese poetic culture (“Mission” Statement at ''); projects are ongoing. In 2006, audio engineer/mixer for the shakuhachi and koto CD, Silent Letters, Secret Pens (available at ''). For books published, see the next section.

Books Published: The first publication of the Kumamoto University-based Kon Nichi Haiku Translation Group was a bilingual edition of Presents of Mind, by Jim Kacian (2nd ed., Red Moon Press, 2006), awarded the Haiku Society of America's (HSA) Mildred Kanterman Award for International Collaboration (2007). In March 2008, publication of Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspective (Red Moon Press, 2008, 306 pp.) was awarded the HSA 2009 Mildred Kanterman Award for Haiku Criticism and Theory. In mixed media publication, the '' website presents subtitled video interviews with notable gendaihaiku (modern Japanese haiku) poets, biographical information and haiku translations. In 2011, publication of Ikimonofûei: Poetic Composition on Living Things (a talk by Kaneko Tohta, with commentary and essays. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 92 pp.), and The Future of Haiku, an Interview with Kaneko Tohta (with commentary and essays. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 138 pp.). In 2012, publication of Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta, Part 1, 1937-1960 (with commentary, essays and chronology. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 256 pp.), and Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta, Part 2, 1961-2012 (with commentary, chronology and encyclopedic glossary. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 250 pp.). The two 2012 Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta volumes were awarded The Haiku Foundation 2012 Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. In August 2013, publication of The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A New Theory of English-language Haiku (R. Gilbert, Red Moon Press, 132 pp.): A revised and much-expanded update of the decade-old essay, which first appeared (in North America) in Modern Haiku Journal 35:2 (2004). The book contains 275 haiku by 185 authors, and several new sections, including a comparative discussion of strong and weak styles of disjunction in excellent haiku, and a presentation of seven newly coined "strong reader-resistance" disjunctive categories. A rationale is given for the elimination of the term "gendai" in English-language haiku criticism, and a new term, "H21 haiku" is proposed as a suitable replacement.

Selected Academic Papers:  A selection of research papers, available at ''.

Articles and Other Publications: [1] "Plausible Deniability: Nature as Hypothesis in English-language Haiku," in Stylistic Studies of Literature (Kumamoto, S. and Hori M., eds.; Peter Lang Publishing Group (2008, 24 pp., available at:; presented at the PALA (The Poetics and Linguistics Association) 2007 Conference, published in the PALA Proceedings ( [2] "Yakushima Declaration: Our basis for an international haiku genre" [with Dimitar Anakiev], first published in Haiku Reality [Haiku Stvarnost] September 2007; available at: [3] Kigo and Seasonal Reference: Cross-cultural Issues in Anglo-American Haiku," Kumamoto Studies in English Language and Literature 49, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan (March 2006, pp. 29-46); revised from Simply Haiku (Autumn 2005, vol 3, available at: [4] “The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A Study of Disjunctive Method and Definitions in English-language Haiku.” Modern Haiku: An Independent Journal of Haiku and Haiku Studies 35:2, pp. 16-36, (2004, available at:

Interviews & Reviews: [1] “Typology & Poetry: Richard Gilbert Experiments” by Jack Galmitz, Roadrunner Haiku Journal 12.3 (2012, online); [2] A Brilliant Literature: Robert Wilson Interviews Prof. Richard Gilbert, Parts 1 and 2 - Simply Haiku 6:4 and 7:1 (Winter 2008 & Spring 2009, available at: &; [3] "The Spirit of Freedom: Aspects of Contemporary Haiku.” Richard Gilbert interviewed by Udo Wenzel, Haiku Heute 5:1 (Spring 2007, available at: [4] Interviewed by Robert Wilson, Simply Haiku 3:1 (Spring 2005, available at:

Selected Work
as an and you and you and you alone in the sea
dedicated to the moon
I rise
without a decent alibi
with you i the world
               i feel there is more f
hungover  -   ignoble
Jerusalem  -  cactus
pissing      -   the cats
the blood
the horse i was, left
to the woods
a drowning man
pulled into violet worlds
grasping hydrangea

Credits: "as an and" - Roadrunner 11:2 (2011); "with you i the world" - Roadrunner 12.2 (2012); "the blood" - Roadrunner 11:3 (2011); "dedicated to the moon" - NOON: Journal of the Short Poem, vol. 1 (Philip Rowland, ed., Tokyo: 2004); "hungo ver – ignoble" - Roadrunner 8:2 (2008); "a drowning man" - NOON: Journal of the Short Poem, vol. 1 (Philip Rowland, ed., Tokyo: 2004).

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