D’s Poetry : Haiku 62 : James Hackett

D’s Poetry is a living archive of all poetry penned by me, Divvya Nirula. Join me on this journey today as we discuss the life and work of James Hackett.

The glass was locked-tight,
Your serenity shouted,
Faith and Devotion.

Divvya Nirula

James William Hackett was born in 1929 in Seattle, Washington. He studied history and philosophy at the University of Washington. And subsequently studied art history from the University of Michigan. He is known for his adaptation of the traditional Japanese haiku in a modern western concept.

Hackett studied under Reginald Horace Blyth, the renowned author. Blythe was famously a lover of Easter (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) cultures, traditions and literature.  Like his mentor, Hackett perceived haiku and the process of penning these short verses as a kind of spiritual practice. One that required deep meditation as well as intuitive expression of thought. Though he never labelled himself a zen haikuist, his poetry is often categorised as such.

James Hackett fell in love with haiku early on in his literary career. And soon enough became one of the most important haijins in the world of English haiku. In fact, even the international award set up by the British Haiku society is named after him.

Haiku by James Hackett

Here are some of Hackett’s haiku – inspired by nature, and with a modern twist that is unique to his style of writing.

Frantic kitten!
the bitten thread won’t let go
of her rough tongue.

Sea horse no sooner
sucks in a fish, than he spits out
its whole skeleton.

Mountain loneliness
in every ripe blackberry
a smack of tartness

Spider strides right up
to the glossy lady bug,
stares – and flees.

With every gust of sun,
a halo of golden down
surrounds the hawk.

James Hackett

You are invited along on this journey of discovery and writing. For more poetry and verse by Divvya Nirula, please visit the archive for D’s Poetry.