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Wim Lofvers

Wim Lofvers

August 9, 1930 - April 24, 2007

Wim Lofvers was born in Sneek, province of Frisia, the Netherlands, and was the son of a general practitioner. He, too became a physician (a naval doctor in the former Dutch New Guinea and a general practitioner in Norway). He later took over his father's practice in Sneek. Lofvers first developed an interest in haiku in 1956 through the German book Vollmond und Zikadenklange (Full moon and sounds of cicadas). As a poet and publisher, he was especially known for his Radish series of 40 small volumes. From 1995-2002, he published Woodpecker, the most truly international haiku forum in the world at the time. He served four years as president of the Haiku Kring Nederland. In his last year (knowing it to be) he published SOMS weet ik het even (SOMETIMES for a moment I know), a collection of 650 haiku. In it he says he considers haiku to be “punched out moments”, whose perception at rereading “comes out again like a mammoth from the ice”. His reaching for spiritual depth in haiku was so straining that he once stated it physically hurt him. Yet his language is simple and clear—perhaps deceptively so, as he used haiku to reveal the coded messages he found in the phenomena surrounding him. His philosophy of life was rooted in anthroposophy, Buddhism, and zen.

Selected Work
 
longest day—
the spring bean’s tendrils
searching for a hold
 
as I mow them
I softly whisper
their Latin names
 
 
 
after years
hawthorn shoots I think
of my mother
 
change
still warm
from a hand
 
 
 
on the inner side
of fallen down beech bark
a coded message
 
Nobody around
I start a conversation
with the carthorse
 
 
 
the mopped floor
still holds the print of
your bare feet
 
in the depths
of the dog’s eyes
the wilderness
 
 
 
almost home
the old dog walks
a little faster
 
November mist
written in the field
a mole's message
 
 

Credits: [All haiku previously published in English were either translated by the author or authorized by him, except for “in the depth” and “on the inner side” which were translated by Max Verhart after the author's death. Several poems have been published in other publications than those ones mentioned here, but a complete list has not been attempted.] "longest day" – change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); “after years” - Haiku International; SOMS weet ik het even (SOMETIMES for a moment I know ('t Hoge Woord, Bakhuizen (2006); change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "on the inner side” – Haiku Society of America Newsletter (2007); change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "the mopped floor" - change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "almost home" - change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "as I mow them" - change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "change" - change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "Nobody around" - Woodpecker 1995:1; Modern Haiku 38:2 (2007); change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "in the depths" - Haiku Society of America Newsletter (2007); change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008); "November mist" - Woodpecker 1997:2; Modern Haiku 38:2 (2007); change (Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008).

Sources Biography: Marian Lofvers; The Haiku Society of America website/Obituaries; change (Kacian, ed., Red Moon Press postscripts series vol. 2, 2008).

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