marlene mountain
spring 1977

dadaku: the hobby horse phrase


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Robert Spiess

Glancing at an article by Robert Spiess in Modern Haiku (8:1) with his poem on page 33, I was stunned. Spiess has begun to write dadaku! As I looked at it I marveled what good dada it is. Much more biting than the one I had written last year:

-- ---;
- --- ---
--- --.

Tweed 6:1 1977 *

Both he and I had used the 'classic' 5-7-5 style as our subject matter. I had added the 'classic' punctuation, but he had gone a step farther and added the 'classic' rhythm.

What on earth had led Spiess to this new direction? Though wondering somewhat about the title ['The Problem of Reading Haiku'], I began his article with great interest. Reading and reading, I began to feel he was bogging down in this, that and the other idea and not preparing the reader for his sparkling dadaku.

And then, painfully, I became aware that the upcoming dadaku was no dadaku at all. But was, in fact, just another academic statement--the kind that caused the French poets and painters to develop Dada. And the very reason I had written the above dadaku.

I sighed, realizing how naive I had been about Spiess' intention. But I looked again at his 'dadaku' and grinned. It's still an awfully good one, no matter what his purpose.

Four other dadaku on the same subject:


Frog semi colon
and more sounds now ellipsis
the night period

Tweed 5:4 6 1977 ????


too purfick hikoo:

    5;  5
    7  7;
    5  5

Tweed 6:1 1977 *


five-seven-five haik(u)! **


five five five five five
seven seven seven sev
five five five five five

Tweed 6:1 1977 *

My regret is that I didn't write the one on page 33.


* essay written prior to publication of these dadaku
** the old tin roof 1976

Raw Nervz Haiku 2:2 1995 Canada


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