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David Cobb was known to a sparse but worldwide community of enthusiasts as a champion of the genres we call English haiku and English haibun. Of both he indeed had an inordinate number published. He also wrote quite a few essays, articles, reviews, and was part of numerous workshops, seminars, readings, as well as haiku presentations in schools and colleges. Rather than an éminence grise, he thought himself more a partially informed Japonist, who added to his native cultural heritage some inspirations from the artistic ethos of an exotic land and people, and who tried to indigenise some of their principles and practice without descending into pastiche.

So David Cobb wrote haiku in both the supposedly prescribed 17 syllables, but mainly in free verse form (working to the Blundellian Axiom, ‘chuck it out the window and see if it will fly.’) His rule of thumb was to use the minimum words needed to reveal the effect (or surprise) latent in some thing or event that caught his eye (or other sense.)

Michael McClintock, one of the foremost American critics, has this to say about David Cobb's style:

“gentle, melancholy, ruminative aspects make his poems distinctive among contemporary English-language haiku”

“they bring order out of memory”

“among all the haiku poets who flourish today in Britain, (he is) one of the least Eastern-inflected and most independent of Japanese influences”

“a leader in the evolution of the migration into haiku of the values of senryu”

Since the mid-1990s David Cobb was a pioneer in developing the English language haibun, an amalgamation of haiku and senryu with suitable prose.