Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Dee Evetts

  chill night
after you the toilet seat
slightly warm
 
by Dee Evetts
endgrain, p. 21

Biographical Background

Born in 1943 in England, Dee Evetts first began writing haiku in the late 1960s/early 1970s. According to Evetts in an email interview, his first attempts at haiku were focused on the ideals of traditional haiku form, not senryu, and grew out of his studies in Zen Buddhism. His first haiku was published in Haiku Magazine in 1970. Evetts also worked in other forms of writing as a travel writer for the Times of London and for the BBC.

In the late 1980s, Evetts said he began to appreciate and cultivate his work in senryu. His major influences in haiku writing included George Swede, John Wills, and Cor van den Heuvel. In 1988, he published his first collection of haiku and other poems entitled A Small Ceremony. The following year, Evetts received acclaim from the World Haiku Contest and the Haiku Society of America Henderson Contest for select haiku poems.

In 1990, Evetts co-founded the British Haiku Society. Ironically, he moved to New York the same year and has lived there ever since. While in New York, he started the Spring Street Haiku Group in 1991 and organized the Haiku on 42nd Street project in 1994, which displayed the work of local haiku writers on movie theatre marquees. He also became an active member of the Haiku Society of America, even serving as vice president in 1993 and secretary in 1997.

Arguably his most famous collection, endgrain, was published in 1997 and received the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award in 1998. Since then, he published Home After Dark in 2002. His work has continued to consist primarily of senryu, as Evetts stated that approximately seventy percent of his poems are senryu.

In 1992, Evetts married the artist Alyson Pou. His major form of income is carpentry and cabinetmaking.

 

This profile of haiku writer, Dee Evetts, was researched, written and created by Meg Schleppenbach.

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

Introduction

The co-founder of the British Haiku Society, Dee Evetts has achieved recognition as writer of haiku and senryu in both the United States and England. Using humor as an essential tool for reaching his readers, Evetts’ senryu include emotional and psychological elements that move the reader beyond the primary image to reveal essential truths about human nature and feeling. Since his arrival on the haiku scene, Evetts has published several collections of his haiku, won numerous awards for his writing, and helped organize major haiku movements in both Europe and America.

 

Author Awards

1989-World Haiku Contest in Yamagata, special prize. Awarded for:

home after dark
through the window my family
of strangers

1989-Haiku Society of America Henderson Contest, second place. Awarded for:

after the rain
on my vegetable patch
a new crop of stones

1990-Boston Haiku Society Senryu Contest, first place. Awarded for:

with a flourish
the waitress leaves behind
rearranged smears

1998-Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award, first place. Awarded for endgrain.

Author's Books

Broken Flower-pots. Self-published limited edition. Linkoping, Sweden. 1970.

A Small Ceremony. From Here Press. 1988.

Endgrain. Red Moon Press. 1997.

Home After Dark. Hexagram Series, Kings Road Press. 2002.

 

Reader Response Essay

Why read Dee Evetts?:

Rejecting the rigid ties to nature of traditional haiku, Dee Evetts uses the form and brevity of haiku to project images that convey human emotion and feeling. His poems are self-described as "celebratory," and indeed they celebrate the elements of human nature by revealing those elements in both significant and, more importantly, insignificant moments. All of Evetts’ poems include images of people, or some implication of people. I enjoy the use of people in the poetry because I believe that emotional truth should be conveyed in writing, This emotional truth can only be conveyed with the use of humans themselves.

Evetts’ haiku are usually notable for their mention of a setting or pure emotion at the outset of the poem. Often, Evetts will simply list a setting and describe it further with the images of its significance in his poetry. He also uses humor in his senryu to perfection. Many of his haiku are laugh-out-loud funny, but they also have a mellow element when one reflects upon the meaning of the poem. Overall, Evetts style is humorous and introspective, and I believe he has definitely earned his place among the great haiku writers.

Sample haiku:

however close
we push the beds together
the gap between us

~endgrain, p. 18

how come
whatshisname
never speaks to me

~endgrain, p. 30

last grandchild
asks if she remembers
the dinosaurs

~endgrain, p. 10

 

Additional Web Links and Resources

Dee Evetts is available via email at deeevetts@hotmail.com.

Please use his email address with discretion.

 

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