marlene mountain
letter essay
march 1987

world into haiku

dear hiro 3/27/87

I picked up my mail with your translations on the way to the dentist in Johnson City. After the visit, I tried to find a Japanese speaker to read the piece to me. There are apparently very very few in this area--my call to the local university produced no one. There is a Japanese restaurant (the only one in town) across from the dentist. So I waited around for the cook to come in. After much discussion that haiku is not written by Westerners, that it's old, very old, and old-fashioned, and that very few Japanese are interested, etc., he looked at your writing and said it was too intelligent for him (called you a professor). But he struggled to explain something about woman power, and said you said good things about me. I had a pleasant time with him--we sat very close and there was much touching. My poems look very good on the pages. I'm real pleased to be in your book.

Re 'NOW' on page 4. It is 'National Organization for Women'--not 'of' (men are also members). If you haven't noticed in your copy, 'National' is missing an 'i.' I'm curious as to what you said about it.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the 'kigo' haiku. 'women's issues are the issues of the world' was said by Eleanor Smeal (president of NOW). I don't guess that it's necessary to mention that. [Just a side note, in my copy to Hal, under the title, I added, 'Artists do not live outside their society' Harry Belefonte on Radio Cuba.]

You didn't include the essay I wrote on your haiku--though I understand why. Of course, as you know, I'm for anything that is scandalous in haiku. I want to bring the whole world into haiku--and therefore haiku into the world.

Thanks for your Mainichi articles. I always enjoy (and save) them. I marvel at your energy and talent for writing. The kigo/weather piece is very interesting. Especially since I had used weather words (as used in the media) as kigo. I saw them as somewhat of a spoof on kigo--or maybe they are simply a reflection of modern times.

All for now. Write when you can regarding my quoting you about my haiku. And much much thanks for your continued interest in my writing.


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