Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Eric Amann

Eric Amann

  the names of the dead
sinking deeper and deeper
into the red leaves
by Eric Amann
(1978 Yukuharu Grand Prize, Haiku Journal)

Biographical Background

Eric Amann, Canadian haiku poet, first became intrigued with haiku in the 1960’s. At that time he was a medical intern and many of his haiku have reflected his medical work. There are two primary periods in which Amann wrote haiku. The first period spanned from 1966 to 1969 and the second period from 1976 to 1979 in which he also wrote The Wordless Poem. Cicada Voices, edited by fellow Canadian haiku writer George Swede, is a collection of Amann’s work containing haiku throughout both of the writing periods mentioned.

Throughout both periods, Eric Amann’s haiku has proved to contain a resonating theme of sadness and portrays the "fleeting nature of life," comments fellow Canadian haikuist, George Swede. Amann continues to capture traditional themes in rather unordinary ways. Most of his haiku deal with objects that are play a part in the twentieth century technological environment.

Also see Jay Schleppenbach's biography of Amann:

Eric Amann Web Biography


This profile of haiku writer, Eric Amann, was researched, written and created by Kathrin Walsch.

See Walsch's essay:

Exploring the Zen Tradition of Haiku
Through the Work of Eric Amann

Also see Jay Schleppenbach's biography of Amann:

Eric Amann Web Biography

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

Author Awards
  Winter burial:
a stone angel points his hand
at the empty sky
by Eric Amann
(1978 Eminent Mention Award, Modern Haiku)

  Withered winter tree;
its barren boughs reflected
in the sick man’s eye
by Eric Amann
(1979 Eminent Mention Award, Modern Haiku)

Author's Books

The Wordless Poem, 1978

No More Questions, No More Answers, 1983

Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku, 1979



Amann's Zen Approach to Haiku

Although most of his haiku consist of three lines, No More Questions, No More Answers, published in 1980, is a small collection of single line haiku by Eric Amann. Amann has also dabbled with some visual haiku art. However, most of his visuals have been a failed attempt to portray anything close to his mastery of the textual haiku. Eric Amann, like every haiku poet, has done experimentation with form using various indentations and punctuations.

There is something truly unique that must be addressed when examining the work of Eric Amann. Amann has adopted a very developed philosophy of the importance regarding the connection of Zen in haiku. Haiku "deals entirely with the here-and-now, with nature, with intuition arising from immediate sense-experience, with the ordinary sights and sounds of this world." Within The Wordless Poem Eric Amann examines the interwoven relationship of Zen and haiku. With terms such as wordless, suchness, nothing special, season word, selfless, and oneness Amann describes the characteristics of haiku as they apply to basic Zen principles. Amann’s obsession with the Zen philosophy has spilled into his haiku work time and again.

Previously an editor of two haiku periodicals, Haiku and Cicada, Amann only supported and selected those haiku with characteristically Zen attributes for final publication. Throughout his own work Amann portrays a very Zen selfless approach omitting himself from the haiku and presenting the reader with incredible imagery to dive into. His unique Zen approach to haiku has made a significant contribution to the haiku society of the world.


Additional Web Links and Resources

Haiku Canada – founded in 1977 by Eric Amann, Betty Drevnoik, and George Swede

Haiku Society of America

What is Zen? – a website outlining the Zen philosophy


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