Remembering Patricia Donegan
Patricia Donegan, the great poet, translator, and promoter of haiku, died on Tuesday, January 24th at 6:20pm CST. Her friend Elaine Martin shared the following:
“During a recent visit with her brother she stated, ‘I go willingly into the sound of the crickets.’ Amazing that she uttered such words while moving between confusion, anxiety, and limited lucidity. She never stopped writing her poetry.
Anyone who has the Vajradhatu 1980 Vajrayana Seminary Transcripts can enjoy the exchange of poetry between Patricia and Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche that follows many of those talks. “
Patricia was a faculty member of East-West poetics at Naropa University under Allen Ginsberg and Chögyam Trungpa; a student of Japanese haiku master Seishi Yamaguchi; and a Fulbright scholar to Japan. She was a meditation teacher, the poetry editor for Kyoto Journal, and a member of the Haiku Society of America. Her haiku works include Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart, Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master (co-translated with Yoshie Ishibashi), and Haiku: Asian Arts for Creative Kids. Her poetry collections include Without Warning, Bone Poems, and Hot Haiku.
A new book of hers, an extraordinary collection of haiku and her elucidations, will be released in 2024 by Shambhala Publications.
I pass as all things
the dew on grass.”
* Thank you to Shambhala Publications for passing on this memory of Patricia.
The Sukhavati Ceremony for Patricia has already occurred. One can still wish her a fond farewell and a good journey, and dedicate some meditation practice to her. And even compose a haiku in her honor.
Many of us yet rattling about in this life still remember vividly the vibrant days of early Naropa Institute and its scintillating poetics programs. And the potency of the blend of poetry and dharma. Patricia was a vital presence in that era, and for the rest of her life carried that brilliance on. May she follow all great haiku poets into the brevity and simplicity of pure space and awareness. May choruses of crickets exquisitely orchestrate her journey!
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I met Patricia at Naropa’s SWP, she was an ecstatic poet. I will never forget her reading during faculty readings, especially her poem on milk, wow! I also savored her book Haiku Mind, such qualities. I hope wherever she is now they are prepared to receive her focused passion and talents. I honor her with deep bows and am ever grateful to have had the opportunity to witness her in person. 🙏