Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Nick Avis

  on thin ice
the young goose takes a drink
from its reflection
by Nick Avis


This profile of haiku writer, Nick Avis, was researched, written and created by Kerry Hammergren.

See her essay on Avis' range of form in haiku.

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

Biographical Background

Born in England, Nick Avis moved to Newfoundland in 1971. He now lives and practices law in Corner Brook. With a degree in both law and physics, he has also given seminars on poetry. He has read his work at conferences in Quebec, Ontario, California, and New York.

Author's Books

Bending with the Wind. Breakwater. 1993.


Reader Response Essay

The unique and brilliant haiku of Nick Avis has gone slightly unnoticed in the past. His distinctive style experiments with form and content making it truly original.

Nick Avis is possibly most famous for his romantic haiku focusing on relationships, however the extent of his haiku is much greater. He writes about nature, humans in nature and human nature. He writes both haiku and senryu and much of his poetry focuses on form.

Nick Avis writes many haiku which focus on elements in nature, similar to traditional Japanese haiku. The beauty of his home in Newfoundland is reflected in his vivid imagery. His haiku place the reader directly in the moment.

this time
she leaves nothing behind
the winter moon

Here is an example of one of Nick Avis’s well-known romantic haiku. Many of his haiku seem to focus on one particular woman in his life. As portrayed in his work, their relationship had many ups and downs. He writes about his love for her and their hardships. This haiku demonstrates their complex relationship. She has clearly left before and this time she takes all her belongings. The coldness and sharpness of the winter moon shows the finality and frigidness of her departure.

see the seabirds in the sky
       the seabirds in the sky
see       seabirds in the sky
see the       birds in the sky
see the sea         in the sky
see the seabirds

Nick Avis uses many variations in from. This haiku reflects his art and creativity. Each line is a different image, all relating to the sea, birds and sky. Some may not consider this poem a haiku because of its length and many images. It does not follow the conventional haiku rules, however Nick Avis’s haiku are not conventional.

This final haiku example demonstrates the extreme innovation and diversity and of Nick Avis’s work. He spells the word daffodil and shows the image of a daffodil. Some may argue that this is also not a haiku. However, it follows the rules of being a short poem with a clear image.
I think Nick Avis’s work is a great contribution to the world of haiku.

—Kerry Hammergren


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