Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Vincent Tripi

Vincent Tripi

This profile of haiku writer, Vincent Tripi, was researched, written and created by Kay Millikin.

Kay Millikin's study on Tripi's haiku.

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

  Waving back
    at the poppy fields
        the retarded child
by Vincent Tripi

Sample Haiku

  Beside the waterfall . . .
    opening with all its blue
        the bellflower

  The turtle’s plash
    just around the corner
        a river Baptism

  Winter evening—
    grandma's recipe for bread
        among my poems

  Left open wide
    at the centre
        the butterfly book

  White lilac scent—
    the dollhouse at the window
        with its window open

Author's Bibliography

between God & the pine. 1997.

Haiku Pond. San Francisco: Vide Press, 1987.

…the path of the bird. Wisconsin: Hummingbird Press, 1996.

somewhere among the clouds. 1999.

Other books by Tripi:

On My Mind

Snow Falling on Snow


Raking Sound

The Butterfly’s Weight



Biographical Background

Tripi gives only a few biographical statements in his books. One sentence I believe sums up the author best: "Vincent Shankar Tripi keeps books by their color, has been known to hoard morels, and goes barefoot as much as he can" (Haiku Pond). Tripi has taught Yoga and meditation since 1980, and worked for 15 years with children in group-homes and residential treatment centers. In his 1997 book between God & the pine, Tripi stated he was living in San Francisco, California, but today he could be anywhere where trees and a pond exist. From what he has revealed of his age in Haiku Pond, he should be around 58 years old today. He lives a very spiritual lifestyle, reveling especially in the work of Henry David Thoreau.



Reader Response Essay

With me the same cloud      out of the covered bridge

The transcendentalist movement in literature, which Tripi draws heavily on, was popularized by writers such as Thoreau that practiced transcendentalist ideals in their life and writing. Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature defines transcendentalism as the belief in "the essential unity of all creation, the goodness of humankind, and the supremacy of insight over logic and experience for the revelation of the deepest truths" (1128). Clearly Tripi adheres to these beliefs in his writing. Almost all of his haiku have a feeling of unity between creatures, even between a cloud and human meeting again outside of a bridge. This transcendentalist style gives Tripi’s haiku a very spiritual feel, connecting the reader with a larger spiritual feeling in the world. For this reason his haiku are also provoke much emotion and feeling from readers.

Tripi has numerous collections of haiku, and almost all that I have read in some way relate a feeling of belonging in the universe. He also focuses on the pleasant sides of people, with the innocence of the retarded child, the person at the river being baptized, and the poet reveling in grandma’s bread recipe. In this way, he borrows the transcendental feeling of inherent goodness in all people. Also, he uses the transcendental idea of intuition over logic in almost all of his haiku: the child who believes the poppies are waving back, the walker who enjoys taking a walk with a cloud, and a turtle sharing his part in a baptism ceremony. All of these notions are not logical, for a turtle "logically" would have no idea what a baptism is, and a child "logically" would know that poppies do not really wave to us. Much haiku I have read relishes this concept of the intuitive over the logical, for when we are logical we block out the simple parts of the world that are going on around us. In his transcendental images and emotions, Tripi shows the joy we share in our ties to the universe with other creatures. When an author can acknowledge the simple details in life, such as a cloud up in the sky, or a playful poppy, then her haiku becomes so much more vibrant and full of life. This, I believe, is Tripi’s greatest element as a haiku writer.

See Kay Millikin's complete essay on Tripi.


Additional Web Links and Resources

(to be added later)


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