David Cobb’s skills as a wordsmith were honed, from 1966 onwards, by producing motivating English language teaching materials for school age students in various parts of the world — France, South Africa, Japan, Francophone Canada, Spain, Jordan and the 5 countries of Anglophone West Africa being prominent among these. His belief was that such courses should have literary merit as well as fulfilling their educational purposes. From 1992–2003 he was general editor of a Macmillan library series for young readers in Africa and the Caribbean which finally comprised some 80 titles. Some of them were also translated into indigenous languages. Almost improbably, it seems that over a 25 year span some 50 million students and thousands of teachers must have held one or other of these course books or readers in their hands.
It was on a research trip to Japan in 1977, to study English teaching methods there, that — with the encouragement of a local high school teacher — he began to learn how to write haiku, and these emerged as the literary form he had been seeking. In 1988 he began to publish them and in 1989 helped to set up the British Haiku Society (BHS), whose membership (now stable in the 200s) he served as secretary from 1990–1997 and president from 1997–2002. He started up its newsletter and its magazine, Blithe Spirit, which — steered by various acclaimed editors — has appeared quarterly ever since. For BHS he edited The Haiku Kit for Teachers. as well as poster exhibits and a website presenting haiku to the general poetry reading public, Another Kind of Poetry.
His haiku and haibun have received numerous international awards, among these being first prizes in the Welsh Academi’s Cardiff International Competition, 1991; the Mainichi Daily News Annual Award, 1991; the Great Britain Sasakawa Prize, 1994, for an almanac of English seasonal images; the Woodnotes (California) International Haibun Contest, 1997; the Takahama Kyoshi Prize (for a single haiku) , 2006; the Ohi-Ocha Prize (also for a single haiku), 2010; as well as Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards, later renamed Mildred Kanterman Memorial Book Awards, for collections of his work, in 1992, 1997, 2003 and 2007.
David Cobb has written articles on haiku for The Times, 2000, and The Daily Telegraph, 2001, and adjudicated The Times national haiku contest with 7,500 entries, 2000.
He has edited several haiku anthologies: The Iron Book of British Haiku, with Martin Lucas, 1998; Haiku, British Museum Press, 2002 (also available in American and Swedish editions); Euro-Haiku, 2007; The Genius of Haiku — readings from R H Blyth, 1994; and The Full Haiku (in preparation.)
Apart from appearances at poetry events and festivals in Britain, David Cobb has been invited as a panellist or reader at international literary gatherings in Romania, Ireland, Germany, USA, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. He belongs to the Society of Authors, the British Haiku Society, the Haiku Society of America, the Suffolk Poetry Society, Friends of Poetry-next-the-Sea, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, and is an invited Associate of The Haiku Foundation, USA.
For a selection of David Cobb’s individual publications please turn now to the menu on this website. These include works not only in the haiku and haibun forms, but also other poetry forms into which he has diversified. His educational texts are far too numerous to be included in this catalogue.