Richard Gilbert ~ Editor
Richard Gilbert (b. 1954) rebuilt his first car and motorcycle (a Honda 750) at age 17 listening to Frank Zappa, Bert Jansch, Morton Subotnick, Ravel, delta blues, 50s-60s jazz, and WPKN (Bridgeport, CT). Majored in math/computer science and music at a nameless Connecticut university, worked in the electronics industry and as an engine rebuilder for some time, transferred to Naropa University (Boulder), where he studied and hung out with beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Gary Snyder, et al.; composed sonic ur-scapes; became a Tibetan Buddhist meditator. Performed in and produced conceptual art multi-disciplinary presentations as poet, videographer, electric guitarist; undergraduate thesis on Japanese classical haiku, received a BA in Poetics and Expressive Arts. Went to a Buddhist seminary in 1984, and returned to Naropa for an MA in Contemplative Psychology. Into the early '90s, he was a clinical adult outpatient psychotherapist at Boulder Community Mental Health Center. In 1988 he entered The Union Institute & University doctoral program, received a Ph.D. in Poetics and Depth Psychology in 1990, and took an important trip to Chaco Canyon resulting in the performance poem Big Bird & the Great North Road, set to music by composer/session-guitarist John March, which received airplay around Los Angeles and Denver; became a divemaster in 1991 and nearly moved to the islands; instead, a garage in LA: rebuilt a wrecked 1981 BMW R100RS, playing mostly acoustic guitar and listening to KCRW and KPFK, while working in post-production audio, sleepless in tiny, dark, soundproofed rooms strewn with old pizza. After some month-long meditation retreats, returned to Denver and worked in Community Television as a director/producer. Five years later, nearly became a Buddhist monk, but moved to Japan in 1997, pursuing a passion for Japanese haiku, research, translation, home, and for living above the poverty line.
In March 2008 he published the book and DVD-ROM, Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspective (Red Moon Press, 306pp.). The DVD contains the 'gendaihaiku.com' website, which presents subtitled flash-video interviews with notable gendai-haiku poets. In 2006 he engineered the shakuhachi and koto CD, Silent Letters, Secret Pens ( cdbaby.com/cd/jeffcairns ), and is now completing construction of BigFish Recording Studios, whose main goals are to preserve the lineage of musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments (in whatever manner), record local musicians and explore sonic and technological possibilities. Haiku have most recently appeared in NOON: Journal of the Short Poem, 6 (Autumn 2008) and around 80 academic papers have been published in the last decade, mainly on haiku, learner autonomy, and EFL software development. Richard can be seen riding around Kumamoto on a 2003 Suzuki SV1000S (a 1000cc twin), when not in his office at the Faculty of Letters, Kumamoto University. He looks forward to riding Yakushima Island next year.
Copyright 2009: Simply Haiku