Author Biography

Lee Gurga
Lincoln, Illinois

Lee Gurga was born and raised in Chicago, but has spent most of his adult life as a dentist with a practice in the small Midwestern town of Lincoln, Illinois where he currently lives with his wife, two sons, a dog, and five haflinger horses.

In addition to his studies to become a dentist, Dr. Gurga studied mathematics, Asian studies, and dance at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. As part of his Asian studies program, he had the unique opportunity to study kabuki dance and tea ceremony under the direction of Shozo Sato.

Gurga first became interested in haiku in 1966, having found a copy of R.H. Blyth's translations of Japanese haiku on the shelf of a Chicago bookshop. Although he had been writing haiku on and off over the years, 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, in 1988. In 1992 he was co-editor of Midwest Haiku Anthology (with Randy Brooks), also published by High/Coo Press. This book received second place in the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for 1992.

Gurga has also received first place in several competitions including the 1996 Haiku Canadian Writers' Journal Haiku Contest, the 1996 Kusamakura International Haiku Contest, and the 1990 Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English Contest. He received the 1995 Ito-en New Haiku Contest Jury's Choice Award which resulted in a brief story in the U.S. News & World Report including a photo of his haiku printed on a can of Ito-en tea. In 1998, he was honored with an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Fellowship for his work in haiku. In 1999 he recieved first place in the Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America for his book of selected haiku, Fresh Scent.

In 1988 he became active with the Haiku Society of America and helped organize several 20th Anniversary gatherings in the Midwest. He served as Vice President of the Haiku Society of America in 1991 and again in 1995-96, and served as President in 1997. As a leader of HSA he was instrumental in organizing the HSA/Haiku International Association Joint Conference in Chicago in 1995, and in 1997 he led a delegation of prominent English language haiku poets and editors to the second Joint Conference in Tokyo. He is currently associate editor of Modern Haiku, the longest-running journal of haiku and haiku studies in English.

In addition to a mouse pours out, (High/Coo Press, 1988), the following collections of his haiku have been published: The Measure of Emptiness (Press Here, 1991), dogs barking (Lidia Press, 1996), In & Out of Fog (Press Here, 1997), Nine Haiku (Swamp Press, 1997), and Fresh Scent (Brooks Books, 1998) with Randy Brooks as editor.

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Brooks Books © 2001 Lee Gurga & Gretchen Batz