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Having survived, I sought redemption for taking life for granted.I resolved to somehow express my new-found love of life, and to honor the omnipresent miracle of Creation. Spiritually reborn after a serious accident in the 1950s, my reverence for the reality of this eternal NOW led me to a Tao-Zen way of life.
At this point, however, Hackett virtually disappeared, apparently publishing nothing and making no public appearances for fifteen years.
He surfaced briefly in 1993 at the time his collection of haiku was republished in America, then submerged again for another ten years until he began to become moderately active in non-American haiku circles. At the time of his greatest fame, in the mid-1960s, his haiku were unquestionably among the best being written outside Japan.
Severe lacerations developed sepsis and caused him to be hospitalized for a lengthy period and slightly restricted in motor skills thereafter.
In any event, this event marked his turn toward the Tao, Zen, and, later, haiku. His wife Patricia was a music teacher with interests in musical anthropology. Hackett,” keynote speech, World Haiku Festival, Yuwa-town, Akita, 20–22 September 2002, Hackett Web site.
For me, haiku has always been more than a poetic form, or even a literary pursuit, but rather a Way of living awareness—an art of Zen. Charles Trumbull is a haiku poet and historian of haiku, past newsletter editor and president of the Haiku Society of America, editor and publisher of Deep North Press, organizer of Haiku North America 2001 (Chicago), and editor of Modern Haiku since 2006.
 It seems most likely that shortly after he graduated from college, Hackett was involved in a motorcycle accident and was thrown through a plate glass window. Later he and Patricia lived in what he dubbed a “garden house” he named “Zen View” at La Honda, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains midway between San Jose and the Pacific. Hackett was encouraged along his path into Zen and haiku by two of the founding fathers of English-language haiku, R.  These included (in issue 1:1) these now-classic haiku that appeared in print for the first time: The fleeing sandpipers turn about suddenly and chase back the sea! and this one, which was awarded First Prize in the maiden issue: Searching on the wind, the hawk’s cry is the shape of its beak. Hackett began to read Blyth’s books in 1954, during his early studies of Zen, and at a certain point, probably in 1959 (Hackett writes that he was “not yet thirty”), he sent a letter to Blyth in Japan inviting a critique of his work. It is not clear how many letters the two men exchanged in these five years or with what regularity or frequency. Hoyt’s attack on Blyth, a man whom Hackett idolized, was surely deeply distressing for the young American. Nearby lived three other poets, Christopher Thorsen, David Le Count, and Christopher Herold. According to Hackett, he corresponded with Blyth for five years, until the spring of 1964. Hackett explains why he wrote to Blyth: Significantly, it was not Blyth’s awesome erudition or his intellectual genius that caused me to contact him. After some six months of writing, I sent a collection of my haiku poems in English to Dr. Editors” Note: Part Two will appear in the Spring/Summer Issue, 33:2. I have found no evidence that Hackett ever held a salaried job; he seems to have been largely supported by his wife. Blyth especially was a strong proponent of a close connection between haiku and Zen. Apparently by the late 1950s Hackett had written a number of haiku and began to look for opportunities to publish them. Hackett” and signed his own letters “RHB.” To my knowledge Hackett has not made public any of his letters to Blyth. To the Zen masters for Zen; to the haiku authorities for haiku: by “weight,” by authority, by plain common sense, each separate study will lead to an inescapable conclusion—forget Zen in haiku. Hackett’s residence was usually given as San Francisco in the 1950s and ’60s. In the biographical sketch he provided for the first edition of ,  Hackett wrote that he discovered haiku in 1954 through the writings of R. Most likely through an announcement in the : eleven of his haiku were published in the first issue and eight more in the second (both dated 1963). Blyth was the defining influence in his writing and haiku aesthetic. The one identified as “First Letter” is dated simply “late 1950’s,” and the Final Letter” is dated [April? In one place he says that according to the family, Blyth did not retain his correspondence, so if Hackett did not keep copies himself, which seems likely, they may be lost. This essay probably followed the general outlines of the letter two years earlier that had upset Hackett and Blyth so much. by Charles Trumbull, New Mexico An abandoned board — shaping, sunning, becoming a Shangri-la for bugs. Among the more problematic poets associated with the begin- nings of the American haiku movement is James W. He catapulted to international fame in 1964 when a haiku of his took top honors among thousands submitted in the first Japan Air Lines haiku competition.  Hackett sent his work to Blyth, with whom he had begun a correspondence grounded in both men’s conviction that Zen and haiku are inseparable.In any event, in that letter Blyth proceeds to offer a rather stout critique of some of Hackett’s haiku: I feel that (the) one fault of your verses is that they contain too much material, that is, you must make them more simple. If so, I will be glad to go over them one by one, mutilating and disinfecting and extirpating them.” The second of the Blyth letters, dated 15 February 1960, that Hackett includes on his Web site suggests that Hackett had been circulating his haiku manuscript to publishers, but without success. In the novel , the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan. From this point of view, the following is excessively complicated and intellectual. The blocked line of ants Broadened to brief chaos . “I too feel troubled at the fact that your works cannot be published at present. As I have said before, I think your verses as good as, and sometimes better than those of the higher ranks of haiku poets in the past.” The last sentence of this paragraph certainly cheered Hackett. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. She taught music at all levels, elementary through university, until her retirement as professor of music at San Francisco State University.  They had no children, but Hackett was always surrounded by numerous pets—dogs, cats, birds, fish—that became frequent subjects for his haiku.