1. Home
  2. Biographies
  3. James W. Hackett

James W. Hackett

James W. Hackett, 2009
Photo by Origa from her LiveJournal website

James W. Hackett (born James William Hackett, August 6, 1929, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.; died November 8, 2015, Haiku, Hawaii, U.S.A.), American Zen scholar and haiku poet. After discovering haiku in 1954, he devoted his life to the study of Zen and the practice of haiku. He especially valued the endorsement of and correspondence with the leading translators of the day, R. H. Blyth and Harold G. Henderson. He published 18 of his haiku in the first two issues of American Haiku (1963), but after the watershed year 1964, in which Blyth appended a large selection of the American’s work to his History of Haiku, a haiku of his took first place in the Japan Air Lines haiku contest, and he saw his Haiku Poetry, Vols. 1–4 published in Japan, Hackett turned away from American haiku publications and organizations. Thereafter he rarely participated in haiku gatherings and preferred to work in isolation and publish his work in a series of monograph collections (1968 to 1983). Hackett’s influential ars poetica, That Art Thou: A Zen Way of Haiku, was published in 1992 and is still accessible on The Haiku and Zen World of James W. Hackett website. From 1991 through 2009 he served as selector for the British Haiku Society competition named for him, the James W. Hackett International Haiku Award. A Traveler’s Haiku: Original Poems in English, featuring work written on Hackett’s travels around the world, appeared in 2004. Hackett last resided in the town of Haiku, Maui, Hawaii.

Note: This is an abstract of a longer biographical article to come.

Updated on November 27, 2021