Haiku Spirit: The Passing of Janice Bostok

                   for Janice

into the blue
a crow flies
the direction of wind               


News came to me today of the passing of one of Australia’s greatest haijin (haiku master), Janice Bostok. Janice was and will remain one of the most important writers of English-language haiku and its related forms; her fifteen collections and numerous awards making her name synonymous with haiku worldwide. Her early work in Australia laid the foundation for the vibrant national haiku community we now enjoy. On a personal note, Jan’s work was profoundly influential on me. In the late 1990’s and through much of the next decade, she was a mentor to me and many others in the paper wasp group. She gave generously of her time and wisdom and was a magnificent teacher. When she offered to write the introduction to my first collection, A Zen Firecracker, I was thrilled, and tonight, reading over it again, I am reminded of her warmth and vitality.

I can say with unflinching certainty that her life and work will continue to be celebrated; her haiku light eternal.

If you have not yet had the pleasure, a fine selection of Jan’s work awaits you here


Filed under interviews/artist profiles, poetry

9 responses to “Haiku Spirit: The Passing of Janice Bostok

  1. I’m sorry to hear of Ms Bostok’s death. Although I am not as familiar with her work as I should, I have been able to be touched by it, and I am thankful as a result.

  2. LA

    Thanks G! Her light will shine on.

    a white cloud
    unfolds into more

  3. Most sorry to hear of hear passing..thanks for updating us here in the States.

  4. She sounds like a wonderful person and poet – sorry to hear about this.

  5. Liz

    Thank you for your comments on Janice’s passing. I am a relative, who is sitting here – googling her works to include in her order of service for the funeral. It would be lovely to include the two poems you have written for her above, if I could have your permission (Graham, and LA).

    • gnunn

      Dear Liz, I would be honoured if you chose to read these poems as part of Jan’s service. I know that Lee-Anne would also be honoured. Much love to you and your family during this very difficult time. We grieve and we celebrate…

  6. Thanks for posting this Graham, I’ve enjoyed reading Janice’s haiku in various journals. It is sad to hear of her passing but I like the way she and her work are celebrated.

  7. yes, she was an exemplary haijin — and not just in her writing. i’ll miss her spirit…one for janice:

    the river
    dark enough now
    to show the moon

  8. Janice was an amazing human, an amazing woman, and an amazing haiku, tanka, and haiga artist.

    We corresponded for years via snailmail, then Myspace, and her humour and modesty always astounded me, even in her most difficult moments.

    I was lucky enough to meet up with her finally at the official opening of the Katikati Haiku Pathway, in North Island, New Zealand, and we were inseparable.

    If it wasn’t for Janice there would be no Australian haiku movement of such standing in the world.

    My very best to a dear dear friend, you made a difference everywhere, and you made a difference for me, for which I can never thank you enough.

    Alan, With Words

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