John has yet
to publish a book or even a chapbook of his own works. Hes
in the process of looking for the right publisher.
His work has
appeared in works of other Authors such as in Jim Kacians
Red Moon Anthologies of the best English-language haiku for the
years 1996, 1999 and 2000.
received stone frog, American Haibun and Haiga,
Volume II, published this year by Red Moon Press, which contains
two of my haibun."
Reader's Response Essay on Dunphy's Haiku
at the works of John Dunphy, one might notice that he tends to focus
on aspects such as sexual and child abuse, homelessness; apparently
non-haiku themes, testing the traditional definition of haiku. One
might argue that his works are in fact senryu: structurally identical
to haiku, but has a much more flexible content, in particular discussing
human emotions and relationships as opposed to nature themes.
So are these
The one element that his work lacks is the satirical element that
is prevalent in senryu. His works seem to portray toughness through
adversity, overcoming the odds that one faces. When faced with this
question, Dunphy responded, "I suppose that many - perhaps
most - of my poems would properly be classified as senryu rather
than haiku. Quite frankly, I could care less about the classification
issue. I let the critics worry about that. Im too busy writing."
the range of haiku.
that, while he is "enraptured with nature," he wants "haiku
capable of embracing all of life: the seamy, as well as the sublime
. . ." He states his essential goal in these words: "If
I accomplish nothing else in life, I want to revolutionize haiku
by taking it out of the woods and placing it deep within the human
heart." Dunphy writes about what he knows and what he has lives.
"My background has left me intimately acquainted with alienation,
anger and pain. I consider myself a brother to all the exploited
and outraged of the world." He is "a voice to those who
can no longer speak, or who have never been able to speak for themselves".
a prolific author of prose articles for magazines and newspapers,
and those pieces also deal with social justice issues. Many of
my poems perform the same function. Im a humanist activist
and believe that I have a moral responsibility to join in the
struggle to better the condition of humankind. I speak out in
my poetry as well as my articles."
He states that
he "appreciates nature and consider myself an ardent environmentalist,
but writing nature poetry simply doesnt appeal."
In the exact
words of John Dunphy:
To be brutally
frank with you, most nature haiku bores me to death!" I satirized
such verse as "tra-la haiku," which I defined in my
"this is our life/no more brain" sequence with Marlene
Mountain (Raw Nervz Haiku 3:3) as "insipid, boring nature
poetry, as in the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la."
In an earlier sequence with Marlene (RNH 1:1), I called nature
haiku "haikuzzzzz," which means I find this poetry so
damn boring that its sleep-inducing. Much of the haiku establishment
will never forgive me for either characterization, but lack of
candor has never been one of my flaws.
classifies Dunphy's haiku of the heart, they powerfully convey experiences
and feelings not that far from any of us. He captures many controversial
issues and "revolutionizes" them into a writing scenario.
For example, suppose two individuals to find themselves in poverty,
but also in love with one another. They manage to find a "romantic"
evening at an expense that is unfortunate to suffer, being forced
to live on the streets and eat in the local soup kitchen of the
is clearly a profound writer, tackling topics that one cannot expect
to read about. He clearly extends out of the "norm," from
what is expected of haiku and moves the reader to think about the
unspeakable. His works concentrate on the darker side of human life
and bring them into a "new light." Both he and his works
continue to have profound effects on the haiku community and critics.
He is an avid humanist, having profound effects on the humanist
rally by bringing these themes to the public eye. We can only wait
and see what other pieces John Dunphy will bring us in due time.