marlene mountain
as is



satire 2/01

more haiku bosses still i'll write what i want and call it haiku

from the early 1970s i called my satire of
haiku and all that goes with it 'dadaku' and these days various
versions of 'high coup hai ku.' here's another recent one:

'read my lips' how to write haiku

[former prez geo bush and] marlene mountain

which just this moment inspired:

'read my lips no new' haiku

[same authors]


more definition/nondefinition play

old haiku along with several other japanese disciplines seek to reduce
content to code words, stylized gestures and the like stemming from an
unique cultural identification with cleanliness, orderliness, asymmetry
and brevity.

western 'japaneasy' haiku is often the result of an inclusion of only
certain surface 'rules' from the highly-regulated and complex old
japanese haiku and is often written in the style of translations.

new haiku in various countries allows a more personal interpretation of
one's surroundings within the global village as well as an awareness
that nature which of course includes the human animal is in deep

shevolutionary/minimal 3/20?

cor van den heuvel has credited me with the term 'minimal haiku' coming out of the 'plight of' essay as well as my haiku in the '70s. my intent was not to create a separate term but to object to the derisive language of 'mini-haiku' and such. fortunately those terms and some of those attitudes toward 'shorter' haiku fell by the way.

the freedom i speak to isn't about syllable count. on the other hand 'finger-counting' does not bring up an image of artmaking to me as it does of addition in math. this includes the counting of 12-13 syllables, whatever. with few exceptions i haven't counted my or anyone's syllables for 25 years, give or take. i write or read the haiku.

what has been of interest/concern to me has been the digesting of the experiences during the japan stay regarding 'the disciplines.' in a sense i was broken-hearted during my way-too-long-sorting-through process when i returned. i came to realize that there was no way that i or others could write or think in the manner of 'the japanese spirit' and that i personally had to pull away from 'things japanese' and continue to find my own 'haiku spirit.' this is not an ego thing, i promise. it is practical. and logical. distancing oneself from a love of this or that art or artist is one of the most important ways an artist matures.

this is not to say i was writing or trying to write japanese haiku. but i was tied to the visual and intellectual concepts of eastern 'minimalism.' in fact many of these attitudes were present in my paintings and thinking before i even heard of haiku.

eastern concepts of anything like western concepts of anything of course are quite complex. it's much easier to see the external esthetics of an art than to see the 'deeper' why--if ever. when it happens tho the art is even more enriched or one can be shocked. this is not to say i understand japanese culture or its complexity manifested in japanese haiku. however i feel fortunate for the glimpses i've had. reevaluation is spooky at any period of one's life. 'haiku' and i were already bound together as i continued my trek. a trek that turned out to be 'shevolutionary.' it can happen to anyone. hang on to your hat if it does.



no one owns haiku

'another ho-hum day in paradise'

the good boys of haiku stew happy mm deer turkey tadpoles


more terms  c june 1 2001

i've been intending to ask. how do you feel about the term 'haiga'
used so loosely? i prefer not to use it for the visual/written pieces
i create. likewise with the renga/renku terms. 'haiku' itself in the
west has long been 'out of control' [3 cheers] ie it's no longer just a
japanese word/philosophy. has 'haiga' too passed into that phase or
are there still conventions that you see are necessary to keep? the
line and it's quality is/are the number one principle/s in sumi-e. as
i understand it. 'haibun' too is a term that we use loosely. should
we tie our western-looking things to japanese words?

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