poems are especially rich in a sense of domestic relations, love, family,
pets, profession, surroundings. Lee Gurga is very much a Midwest poet,
an Illinois poet. Not only are its seasons, weather, and temperatures
plentiful in the poems, but the hay, bales, stubbles, barns, distant train
sounds, ponds, herons, hidden bird's nests, and typically Midwestern people
are present. And the poet comments on them in the usual understated Illinois
manner, slightly laconic, though without an Edgar Lee Master's cynism
or a Carl Sandburg's slamming in of harsh impressions.
February 26, 1998
Gurga was born and raised in Chicago, and currently lives in Lincoln,
Illinois. He first became interested in haiku in 1966, but he did not
start publishing until 1987. He was soon receiving awards for his haiku,
and High/Coo Press published his first collection, a mouse pours
out. He co-edited the Midwest Haiku Anthology (with Randy
Brooks). Gurga has received the first prize in haiku competitions in
the United States, Canada, and Japan. In 1998 he was honored with an
Illinois Arts Council Poetry Fellowship for his work in haiku.
active member of the Haiku Society of America, he served as Vice-President
in 1991 and again in 1995-96, and served as President in 1997. As leader
of HSA he was instrumental in organizing the International Haiku Conference
in Chicago in 1995,and in 1997 he led a delegation of prominent English-language
haiku writers and editors to the second joint Conference in Tokio. He
is currently associate editor of Modern Haiku, the longest-running
journal of haiku and haiku studies outside of Japan..
collections of Lee Gurga's haiku include :
& Out of Fog, (Press Here, 1997)
Nine Haiku, (Swamp Press, 1997)
dogs barking, (Lidia Press, 1996)
The Measure of Emptiness, (Press Here, 1991)
a mouse pours out, (High/Coo Press, 1988)
In and Out
of Fog and Fresh Scent won first prize in
the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards.