In 1999, the estate of noted American haiku poet Nick Virgilio entrusted the Rutgers University–Camden English Department with the safekeeping of the poet’s uncollected papers. Included in this cache of material were letters, stacks of contributor’s copies, various ephemera and a wealth of miscellaneous writings: essays or fragments on the writing of haiku poetry or on the nature of the haiku art. Perhaps most excitingly, the Virgilio Archive, as we have come to call it, was found to contain multiple drafts of some of Nick Virgilio’s better known poems, as well as hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of unpublished and therefore never before seen haiku.
Over the course of the last 2 years, Rutgers graduate students and faculty members have worked to conserve this valuable archive. This website will showcase the fruits of those efforts. Its purpose is twofold: first, to preserve the poetry of Nick Virgilio, all of which is now out of print, and to share his considerable achievement with as wide an audience as possible; 2) to serve as a center for the scholarship of haiku and related poetic forms, such as tanka, senryu, renga and haibun, with a particular emphasis on English language poetry.
Because of the goals of the Nick Virgilio Poetry Project and the sheer volume of material contained in the archive, this website will grow slowly but steadily over the coming months and years. We will be uploading new content regularly. For now we have posted a brief but representative sampling from Virgilio’s now out-of-print Selected Haiku; an extensive list of links to other haiku and Japanese poetry-related sites, along with several pieces of scholarship, including a substantial haiku bibliography.
We invite you to visit this website regularly and to contact us regarding the contribution of materials for inclusion on this website and to receive periodic updates about the NVPP and its evolution. –Tom Hartman, Editor