~ my story ~

I was born Janice Mae Irvine, in Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia, in 1942. I left school at fourteen and enrolled in a secretarial course. In 1960 I left home and travelled to Melbourne, looking for work. I worked for the Defence Department, The Department of Supply, and the Victorian State Tourist Development Authority. In 1964 I married Silvester Bostok and moved to Cann River in Victoria. I have three children, one daughter and two sons. One son is intellectually handicapped. We moved to Dungay, in the hills behind Murwillumbah in 1967. We bought a banana plantation and grew bananas. My husband and I divorced in 1981, but remarried in 1986. Today we are retired and still live on the property near Murwillumbah.

My interest in haiku was triggered in 1970 when an American pen friend sent me a Peter Pauper book of Japanese haiku in English translation. I had written some personal experience articles which had been published in the Australian Women's Weekly, as Reader's Stories. I had also been writing free verse. I found, however, that the short haiku poem from Japan (via the USA) had a greater affect on me than any longer verse that I had read at that time.

I immediately began to write haiku and to my surprise they were accepted for publication in American haiku magazines. My first efforts were not as good as I imagined, but by their acceptance I was encouraged to continue writing and studying haiku in English.

In 1972 I began to edit and publish the first magazine in Australia which was devoted to haiku. TWEED was published from Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales from 1972 - 1979. The reason for discontinuing TWEED was the lack of interest in haiku by Australian writers. TWEED was supported by many American haiku poets. I believe TWEED was simply before its time. There were not enough Australians writing and studying haiku to warrant the publication of a magazine devoted to the form.

Between 1980 - 1986 I studied and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in English Literature, from the University of Queensland. During this period I did not seek publication. Since 1988 I have, once again, been published in many international English language haiku magazines.

My other interest is sumi-e. I try to adapt some of its principles to my western sketches. Similar to the principles of haiku, sumi brush strokes are few and carefully placed. The use of white space is important to the composition of the painting, just as is the many words left unsaid in the haiku poem.

If anyone is interested in reading about the history of the development of haiku in English it is recorded in a book published by the Haiku Society of America, called: A HAIKU PATH -- 1968-1988. My own history and that of TWEED can also be found recorded in this volume.

I belong to the Haiku Society of America; The British Haiku Association; Ginyu, A Japanese Haiku Club; Paper Wasp haiku Group, Australia; The Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland Inc; and the Poetry Society of New Zealand.

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