(Willem) J. van der Molen made a name for himself as a poet in
the nineteen fifties and sixties. Following a quiet period he
reappeared in the eighties, fully converted to haiku. In a period
during which most haiku in the west imitated Japanese classical
haiku, Van der Molen assimililated the spirit and characteristics
of haiku with his own personal poetics. Several volumes of his
haiku, with titles like 'Geeft 't leven terug?' (Does life give
back?) and 'Op een grasstengel klimmen' (To climb a blade of
grass) demonstrated his innovative approach.
For a time he was editor of 'Vuursteen' (Flint), the quarterly
publication of the Haiku Circle Netherlands and the Haiku Centre
Flanders, where his ideas were often at odds with those of the
other editors. In 1990 he started his own journal 'Kortheidshalve'
(For brevity's sake), which was dedicated to short verse in general,
but with haiku at its core. Both in essays and in poetry, the
journal spread Van der Molen's haiku vision, also giving ample
room to other haiku poets for whom, as was the case with Van
der Molen himself, Japanese haiku was certainly a major inspiration
- but not something to be simply mimicked.
It wasn't until the late 90's, when the notion of world haiku
was gaining momentum, that Van der Molen, because of his broad
vision, started receiving the recognition as a pioneer of world
haiku that was owed him. Sadly, he died in March 2002 at the
age of 78. The World Haiku Association is proud to keep his memory
alive by adding this page to its site, thus giving him some of
the international exposure he deserves.