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John W. Sexton

John W. Sexton

Born: May 06 1958 in London (of Irish parents), United Kingdom
Resides: Republic of Ireland
E-mail: latearrivalonearth (at) eircom (dot) net

I’ve been dedicated to poetry as an artistic expression since my nineteenth year. Many poets over an eclectic international register of poetry have influenced me from the beginning, for I have always read poetry of all kinds voraciously. From the very start of my personal poetry journey, haiku was always something that inspired me, but my exposure to it in the early days was exclusively through translations in English of the classical Japanese poets; largely Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki and Chiyo-Ni. I was blissfully unaware of any literary movement of contemporary haiku in English outside of the five-seven-five tradition. This ignorance continued for the first twenty-seven years of my poetry career, in which I not only wrote and published five-seven-five haiku, but often used the five-seven-five stanza as a verse form for longer-form poetry. This situation changed for me in February 2004 when I attended a haiku workshop facilitated by Irish haijin Gabriel Rosenstock, who introduced me to contemporary haiku practice and under whose spell I immediately fell. From that moment I embarked on an intense haiku apprenticeship under Gabriel’s direction, and within two years had published haiku, senryu and tanka in all of the major haiku journals and have since appeared in many anthologies. After this I progressed to haibun and then into gendai and minimalist experimentation, and over the years have also developed a hybrid form of gendai/scifaiku, which have been published internationally in many leading literary and experimentalist journals. A brief manifesto of this hybrid gendai/scifaiku, under the title of “Transcending the Mortal Universe: Scifaiku as Compressed Signal”, first appeared in The Weary Blues issue 6. I now divide my haiku practice between both purist haiku and this experimentalist approach, although the haiku and senryu in the Registry below are largely in the traditional manner.

Awards and Other Honors:

Sexton’s haiku high above won first prize in The Munster Literature Centre Haiku Competition 2004, judged by Gabriel Rosenstock; rising slowly was shortlisted for The 2004 Basho Festival, selected by Patricia Donegan and Shokan Kondo; winter crows won second prize in The Munster Literature Centre Haiku Competition 2005, judged by Gerry Murphy; a still morning won a Highly Recommended prize at the Samhain International Haiku Competition 2006, judged by Gabriel Rosenstock, Cathal O Searcaigh and Ion Codrescu. Winner of the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007 for the poem The Green Owl . He was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry in 2007. Winner of The Five Words International Poetry Competition 2016 for the poem The Dancehall on the Summit of the Bloodiest Head of the Twenty-Six-Headed Giant. He has also been shortlisted for many other prizes and awards, including: Nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award 1983, for the short story Blackthorn; Shortlisted in the An Post Book of the Year Awards for 2018, under the Listowel Writers’ Week / An Post Irish Poem of The Year Award 2018 for the poem The Snails.

Books Published:

Selected Work
a still morning
the cuckoo naming itself
out of sight
the pungent spray
of next door’s ginger tom―
camellias opening
morning sun
field too small
for the horse’s shadow
singing until only 
the distance can hear him 
rain all day long . . .
with each bite
sunlight from the apple
one breath
on the dandelion clock . . .			
I set my garden


“a still morning” - Shamrock Haiku Journal no. 31, 2015; “the pungent spray” - Frogpond Vol. 32, no. 2, Spring/Summer 2009; “morning sun” - The Heron’s Nest Vol. VII, Number 2: June, 2005 & Moonset, Autumn/Winter 2008; “singing until only” - Simply Haiku, Summer 2005, Vol. 3, no. 2; “rain all day long” - Haiku Scotland, issue 18, 2008; “one breath” - Haiku Spirit Online (Ireland) 2005 & Between The Leaves: New Haiku Writing From Ireland, Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Arlen House Publishers, 2016.

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