John J. Dunphy


Some of my earliest memories revolve around writing and publication. My great-uncle was the assistant editor of our local newspaper and often took me on excursions through the newsroom and printing plant. Uncle Joe served as my role model and, sometime during my childhood, I decided that there could be nothing more rewarding for me to do in life than to write.

I studied history, political science and philosophy in college and graduate school because I knew these academic disciplines would give me the kind of background I needed to write non-fiction. I continued my education even after leaving school: traveling, engaging in activism, associating with people from all walks of life and - above all - reading voraciously. By the early 1980s, I felt ready to begin writing for publication.

Many of my fellow authors remain amazed that I was fortunate enough to achieve publication so quickly after choosing to become a writer. My articles dealing with history, folklore, politics and philosophy appeared in regional and national periodicals. I enjoyed writing short pieces, since that gave me the opportunity to explore any number of topics that interested me. My tally of published articles continued to climb, and readers began asking when was I going to write a book. That milestone finally occurred in 2003 with the publication of Lewis and Clark's Illinois Volunteers (ISBN 0-9741642-0-8).

But non-fiction comprises just half of my literary career. I was introduced to haiku in high school and had been instantly captivated by it. I began writing haiku in the early 1980s but wasn't satisfied with its quality. I didn't want to write the kind of insipid nature poetry that epitomized so much traditional English-language haiku at that time. My poetry had to be as distinctive and cutting-edge as my most controversial non-fiction articles. After much experimentation, I felt ready in the late 1980s to begin submitting my haiku for publication.

My haiku also met with success - and, as was the case with some of my non-fiction, with a generous measure of controversy as well. After years of steady publication in haiku journals, my first two chapbooks appeared in 2006: Old Soldiers Fading Away (ISBN 1-58998-409-9) and Stellar Possibilities. The latter, a collection of scifaiku, is the best-selling poetry chapbook in the history of its publishing house. More poetry chapbooks and non-fiction books are in progress, and signed copies of all my works can always be purchased through The Second Reading (

I always wanted to become a successful writer, and few are fortunate enough to realize a childhood dream. I'm probably working on a new article, poem or book while you read these words. Life is indeed good.

John J. Dunphy

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