marlene mountain
letter essay

try to warn

dear ken

Thanks for your letter and interest in my writing. For the most part the Anthology has my old, old things--and I don't feel very close to them. I always try to warn a poet who asks to write renga with me. You may not have seen much of my more recent work as the few magazines I take seem so conservative that I rarely send to them anymore. It's just not fun since Hal Roth ceased Wind Chimes. Have you seen my 1986 PISSED OFF POEMS & CROSS WORDS? You might be able to look at Jerry's copy. Of course, now those poems have gotten old.

About the only thing I follow that relates to east or west renga is the long/short/long format--and in one line. (I doubt I can write three-two lines anymore.) There're a lot of good writers of 'regular' haiku/renga, etc., so I feel that I'm not needed. That opens up a lot more content, what I call real life haiku about real life. Even though I'm surrounded by lots of 'nature' where I live, I rarely write nature haiku. I do often rant about what is happening to nature and call that haiku. And since I consider people to be nature too (although a lower form than trees or the moon) I do write about 'us.' But I don't call us senryu (as popularly defined), just haiku.

I don't know of The Wheel of Dharma--I'd enjoy seeing a copy. Does the paper have a sense of humor? I use 'dadaku' (dada: french for hobby horse from that c. 1920s art movement, and ku: Japanese phrase) to poke fun at all that I can in haiku, et al. For buddha I've been known to say 'boo!da.' Well, I guess there's another warning to give which I actually call a haiku: 'i've freed haiku from that fuckin sound of water.' That one makes me giggle, but it probably offends many. It's just something I've had to do so I can write.

I've been hurt by what is happening in Somalia (recently sent some material to Jerry) and have just written:

somalis on tv i can't shoo flies from the baby's face

If you're still interested in writing renga maybe you have an opening link or maybe that one might work. Please, Ken, don't feel obligated.

from the mountain


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