Nick Virgilio - The Poet

Nick Virgilio was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1928. He grew up with his two brothers, Anthony and Larry, in Camden city. When he got out of the Navy in 1948, which he had entered after finishing high school, Nick worked around the country as a radio announcer before returning to Camden in 1958.

He graduated from Temple University in 1952 and was awarded a BA degree. In 1962 he discovered haiku when he came across a collection of English-language haiku by Kenneth Yasuda, A Pepper Pod, at Rutgers University. He devoted his life from then on to haiku. He was always bombarding his friends, including his parish priest, Father Michael Doyle, with new haiku, often prefacing each one with the phrase “What do you think of this one?” His book of poems, Selected Haiku, which was published in a second edition in 1988, was one of the most important books ever published by an American haiku poet. He died on January 3, 1989, while preparing to tape a CBS network TV show called “Nightwatch,” on which he was to discuss his favorite topic, haiku (adapted from Cor van den Heuvel, “Nick Virgilio and American Haiku: Creating Haiku and an Audience,” 1990).

Nick Virgilio reading next to Walt Whitman's grave in Camden, New Jersey.

Nick Virgilio reading next to Walt Whitman's grave in Camden, New Jersey.

out of the water ...
out of itself
— Nick Virgilio
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Big Camden legacy for man of few words (Courier Post, May 12. 2016)

Nick Virgilio, Walt Whitman, and the American Poetic Tradition: An Interview with Kwame Dawes (Rick Black, Frogpond 38:1, 2015, pp. 99-112)

Nick Virgilio and Haiku (Rick Black, Haiku Matters, April 23, 2013)
Nick Virgilio and Haiku II (Rick Black, Haiku Matters, April 24, 2013)

Featured Poet: Nicholas A. Virgilio (Alan Pizzarelli, Simply Haiku, Spring 2009)

On Western Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel, 2002)

Nick Virgilio's Obituary (New York Times, January 5, 1989)

Audio & Video

Father Michael Doyle On Haiku Poet Nick Virgilio (The Jersey Arts Podcast, 2012)

History of American Haiku Part III, The Haiku Anthology - with guest, Cor van den Heuvel  featuring a reading by Nick Virgilio (Podcast, Haiku Chronicles, 2009)

Nick Virgilio Remembered (Video by Sean Dougherty)


Nick Virgilio Poetry Project (Rutgers University - Camden)

Nick Virgilio (Wikipedia)

Nick Virgilio’s Haiku - Featured Poet (Terebess Asia Online)


The Nick Virgilio Haiku Association was founded in 1989 to promote the writing of haiku poetry, to provide encouragement and support to young people to write poetry, and to further the work and poetry of Camden haiku poet Nick Virgilio.