Richard von Sturmer

rvsaRichard von Sturmer is a New Zealand writer and film maker. He has published three books: We Xerox Your Zebras (Modern House, 1988), A Network of Dissolving Threads (Auckland University Press, 1991), and Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX, 2005).

As well as being a lyricist for several New Zealand bands, including Blam Blam Blam, he and his partner, Amala Wrightson, toured the country in the 1980s as the performing duo, The Humanimals. From 1993 to 2003 he lived and worked at the Rochester Zen Center, a Buddhist community in upstate New York. His most recent film project is Tanka Films.

“Whenever I fall out of love with haiku, which happens from time to time, I return to the work of the masters – Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki – and my affections are renewed. Reading their work, I am reminded how haiku can clarify our perceptions so that we experience the world in a more direct and penetrating way.”

Contact Richard.


and the sound
of a shoe being unlaced


bitter tea – my teeth
leave indentations
in the polystyrene cup


to write as simply
as you pick
a single blade of grass


each day less light,
the smell of printer’s ink
on the morning newspaper


first snow,
the eyes of the sparrows
sharp and bright


during the rainstorm
the child’s colouring-in
becomes more intense


winter’s end-
a folded poem
stops the window rattling


the storm passes,
on the back of a sheep


red red hibiscus,
its stamen casts
a purple shadow


the old broom
sweeps away
bits of itself


Publication Notes:

bitter tea – my teeth: A Network of Dissolving Threads (Auckland University Press) 1991.

to write as simply: ibid.

each day less light,: Frogpond (US).

first snow,: Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX) 2005.

during the rainstorm: Frogpond.

winter’s end-: Suchness.

the storm passes, : Unpublished.

red red hibiscus, : Unpublished.

the old broom: Haiku Society of America 2002 international anthology.