marlene mountain
review of mm
letter to editor
carlos colon
may 2002


Dear Jane & Werner,

Thank you for reviewing Marlene & Jeanne's book of linked haiku. Having
collaborated with Marlene on similar linked poems since 1994, I do want to
emphasize that Marlene has never demanded to me that we stick to a one-line
format and use only lower-case letters. In our first linked poem ("One Eight
Hundred"), which you published in Mirrors, Winter 1995, a few of my links
were much too long to be considered one-liners. I suppose a case could be
made that these actually were one-liners, but some of them took up three
inches of space on the page.

In "One Eight Hundred," I used capital letters in three links, and Marlene
used all capital letters and numbers in one of her links. I also capitalized
the title of the poem, which Marlene did not question one way or the other.
In our third linked poem ("A Child is Born"), I used capital letters once
and so did she. Again, I capitalized the title, too. Later, in "neglected"
(written in 1999-2000), I used capital letters in one link.
With every use of capital letters, there was a specific reason for us to
violate the unspoken rule of using lower-case. It was obvious to me that
Marlene preferred writing in lower case, and for consistency's sake, I
usually but not always did the same.

In the Lynx review, the reference to Marlene's renga style makes it appear
that she is like a temperamental actor who will only work when everything on
the set is to his/her liking (including the removal of all blue M&M's from
the candy dish). I can only speak about my own eight years of writing with
Marlene, but I have found her to be a gentle, kind, and wonderful
collaborator. We have not had one argument about anything. Of course, we
have differences of opinion about a number of topics addressed in each
other's links, but to me this makes the collaboration even stronger.
Although the following criticism was not voiced in the Lynx review, some
other critics have questioned whether Marlene even writes "haiku" anymore,
or if it's all just "politiku" or "femku." There have also been complaints
that Marlene's anger permeates her poems. If these critics read *mother
nature's heat / a desert snake* or any of the *rens* books, they should
realize she still has the power to write powerful haiku of anyone's
definition, and if the critics haven't lost their own sense of humor, they
will realize Marlene hasn't lost hers, either.

Lastly, I would like to state that there have been only occasional times in
the past eight years that I have been unable to see a link between what I
have written and Marlene's response. These very well may have been
instances of out-leaping linkage, but also I may just not have been able to
see the link that Marlene made. Sometimes I wonder what Marlene thinks
about my own method of linking. :)

Thank you, Jane and Werner, for "listening."


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