Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2006, vol 4 no 3

SENRYU

Michael McClintock

Featured Poet: Michael McClintock
 

Introduction

For more than three decades now, Michael McClintock has promoted an understanding and appreciation of haiku and its related forms. He served as Assistant Editor of Haiku Highlights in the late '60s and Associate Editor of Modern Haiku in the early '70s. His series of articles such as "The Liberated Haiku", which appeared in Haiku Highlights in the mid '70s helped to dispel the practice of the strict 5-7-5 syllable form.

His Seer Ox: American Senryu Magazine (1972-1976) was the only magazine of its kind devoted to the genre of senryu and did much to promote senryu at a time when R.H. Blyth's two major books on the subject, Senryu and Japanese Life and Character in Senryu, were out of print or hard to come by.

McClintock was also an early practitioner of original English language tanka and kyoka (Man With No Face, Shelters Press, 1974). In addition to being Tanka editor of Simply Haiku, he currently writes the Tanka Cafe column for Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal (formerly Tanka Society of America Newsletter), is contributing editor to the quarterly print and online journal Modern English Tanka, and also edits The New American Imagist series for Hermitage West.

Most notably, it is McClintock's poems that give us his most precious gift. Unforgettable classics like the following haiku:


                                              a poppy…
                                          a field of poppies!
                                 the hills blowing with poppies!


                                             dead cat …
                                             open-mouthed
                                             to the pouring rain


His collections of haiku and related poetry include Light Run (Shiloh, 1971), Man With No Face (Shelters Press, 1974), Maya: Selected Poems (Seer Ox, 1976), and Letters in Time: Sixty Short Poems [tanka and haiku] (Hermitage West, 2000).

His work has been anthologized in each of the three editions of The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel (1974, 1986, and 1999). The Tanka Anthology, edited by Michael McClintock, Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian, was released in December 2003 from Red Moon Press.

Additional information about Michael can be found at these two links: "Contemporary English-language Haiku and the Long View: an interview with Michael McClintock by Janice Bostok", Stylus Poetry Journal 2002; "Dialogue with a poet", World Haiku Review, vol. 2, no. 2.


SENRYU

all the way from Paris! —
but at the Homecoming
she is who she was


300-pound guy
in drag
the eternal optimist


two sides
to our haiku squabble
mine and shithead's


holiday weekend . . .
three floors of modern art
I can't remember


selling
to the blind man
the faded suit


in the ghetto
sharing
the dog's dinner


ready for bed
; no answer


i eat alone
& pass the salt
for myself

Michael McClintock

 


Credits:

"holiday weekend", "selling" and "in the ghetto" from Clouds Peak No. 1, copyright © 2006 by Michael McClintock: by permission of the author. "i eat alone" from Man With No Face, Shelters Press, copyright © 1974 by Michael McClintock: by permission of the author.