Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Bill Pauly

Joe Kirschner & Bill Pauly
at the Global Haiku Festival

April 2000

  snowmelt ...
she enters
the earth on her knees
by Bill Pauly
1st, H.G. Henderson Award, 1991

Biographical Background

Bill Pauly was born in Davenport, Iowa, April 20, 1942. He has lived almost his whole life in the Midwest, which he loves. Bill graduated from Loras College in 1964 with a B.A. degree, major in English literature; received his M.A. from the University of Notre Dame (on a Peace Corp Scholarship) in the summer of 1968, in English Literature.

Between 1965-67 he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leon, West Africa, as a secondary school teacher of English and French. During the early 1970s he was self-employed as a writer, photographer, and candle maker.

Currently he lives in Dubuque, Iowa, with his wife Deb. For the past twenty-four years Bill has taught at Loras College in Dubuque; current course load includes Haiku Writing, Poetry Writing, Advanced Poetry Writing, and Composition. When he finds some free time, Bill enjoys reading, writing, photography, travel, gardening, listening to music, rabble-rousing, and shooting basketball.

This profile of haiku writer, Bill Pauly, was researched, written and created by Melanie Hayes, based on her personal interview and subsequent e-mail interviews. See her complete study on Bill Pauly:

Bill Pauly's Haiku:
A Reader's Response Study

Scroll through the entire profile, or jump to any section:

Author Awards

He has won several Haiku awards, most notably three First Prizes in the H.G. Henderson annual competitions. In addition to the featured haiku above, he won the Haiku Society of America's top award for:

First Place: 1983

heart drawn in dust
by the old Indian ...

First Place: 1981

old woman,
rain in the eye
of her needle

Author's Books

Bill’s poetry has been published in numerous small magazines and anthologies such as Bonsai, High/Coo, Janus SCTH, Modern Haiku, Seer-Ox, Sun-Lotus Haiku, The Windless Orchard, Thistle, and Tweed.

Beyond the haiku published in many haiku magazines and some anthologies,

Brooks, R., & Swede G. (Eds.). (2000). Global Haiku Twenty-five Poets World-wide.
Ontario: Mosaic Press.

Higginson W.J., & Harter P. (1985). The Haiku Handbook. Tokyo: First Kodansha International Printing.

Pauly, B. (1878). Time from His Bones. LaCrosse, WI: Juniper Press.

Pauly, B. (1977).Wind the Clock by Bittersweet. Illinois: High/Coo Press.


Reader Response Essay

Bill says that he enjoys reading any good haiku or non-haiku poems. He went on to say that there are many enormously talented writers out there. Most of his writing life has been spent becoming his own best critic, so rarely does he get others’ input on his haiku. Sometimes though, he gets a good suggestion from a student that he takes to heart and incorporates into his revisions.

The sense of season, he says, is pervasive in his life and his haiku, however, he does not feel compelled or constrained to include a kigo, or season word, in his haiku to make them haiku, nor does he hold his students to that requirement.
He has experimented with the "Wordless Poem," as Eric Amann calls it in the title of his book. However, most of Bill’s haiku use words. Sometimes he likes a minimal haiku. Bill says that his "eyeku" (his original term for a concrete haiku) in Higginson and Harter’s Haiku Handbook is not representative of his work at all. In fact, he wishes that he had a "regular" haiku in the book. An example of one of his better concrete poems can be found in his first chapbook, Wind the Clock by Bittersweet.

The following is a concrete poem from his book:


I found Bill’s story of how he was introduced to haiku very amusing and quite interesting. He says that he was introduced to haiku in the most amazing way that he can possibly imagine. In the early 60s at Loras College, he took two creative writing classes from Raymond Roseliep, now widely considered an American haiku master. Raymond was just learning about and trying the form at that time, as many people were. They were all writing 5-7-5s at that time, because that WAS haiku for all they knew in those early pioneering days. If Bill could find and was willing to show me some of his early "haiku," he says that I would see heavy commentary, not too much imagery, and strictly formulaic and awkward attempts to squeeze a sophomoric "message" into the strictures of the form. "Even Raymond wasn’t writing very good haiku then (ZAP!--was that a lightning bolt that just singed my butt?). But we found it fascinating and challenging, and grew to love it even more as we recognized how wonderful it could be when freed from the chains of absolutist rules. So . . . it was a bit like a relationship: it wasn’t love at first sight as much as curiosity and fascination, a getting-to-know-you process through which love for haiku bloomed slowly but deeply. Right now in my life, I can’t IMAGINE ever NOT writing haiku."

See Melanie Hayes' complete study on Bill Pauly:

Bill Pauly's Haiku:
A Reader's Response Study


Additional Web Links and Resources

If you want to learn more about Bill Pauly, then talk to Dr. Randy Brooks. He will be able to show you his first chapbook Wind the Clock by Bittersweet. However, after that you’re on your own. There is not much information available about him on the Internet, but there was a little. You will do best in your search if you go straight to the source, e-mail. There have been other helpful sources.

They include: (School e-mail address)

Mountain, M. (1979). One-line Linked Haiku: Old Woman’s Banjo. Internet:


haiku conferences haiku courses at Millikin Modern Haiku magazine
speakers & readings haiku competitions at MU student renga
student haiku projects published haiku by students links to haiku web sites
student research on haiku haiku by Millikin students directory of haiku magazines


2001, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site