John Shiffer was born in 1969 and was raised in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

His first introduction to haiku was in 7th Grade English Class; his haiku which (humorously) garnered the most praise from the teacher was:

red, white, blue, and great!

the American Flag snaps

in a mighty wind

John entered the work world after high school, working numerous physical labor jobs, and later attended college as an adult. He holds degrees in Resource Management from Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT, and in Earth System Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

In 2000, John found student employment at C.U.’s Mann Library, where he met and worked for Tom Clausen, a long-time Mann Library employee and as importantly, a major voice in English-language haiku. Riding the old Mann freight elevator in which Tom posted haiku almost daily, John rediscovered haiku and started working on his own attempts, without knowing many of the rules, etc., but with Tom’s encouragement.

After college, John spent two years living in Japan and even visited the graves of R.H. Blyth and D.T. Suzuki. Returning the US, John moved once more to Ithaca and began work at Cornell in the agricultural research field and again at Mann Library.

John is currently a stroke patient concentrating on recovery and a return to the working world. While the writing part of his brain sustained some damage, John still knows good haiku when he sees them and gratefully enjoys reading the work of others.