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November 2005 Issue V:4

Southwestern Haijin Spotlight

Michael McClintock

A proponent of the "Liberated" haiku in English since the 1960s, and of subjective realism in contemporary English-language tanka,  Michael McClintock's short poems, haibun (a form of prose-poem), essays and reviews, are read and studied worldwide.  An extensive discussion, comparing and contrasting McClintock's poetry, critical theory and practice, to that of the Imagists, Jack Kerouac, and others, may be found in Barbara Ungar's seminal book, Haiku in English, published by the Humanities Honors Program, Stanford Univerisity (Stanford Honors Essay in Humanities, No. XXI, Copyright 1978, Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University). Additional commentary may be found in The Haiku Handbook, by William J. Higginsons with Penny Harter (McGraw-Hill, 1985) and Haiku: A Poet's Guide, by Lee Gurga (Modern Haiku Press, 2003).

While taking degrees in English and American Literature, Asian Studies, and Information Sciences from Occidental College and the University of Southern California, McClintock was Assistant Editor of Haiku Highlights in the late 1960s, Associate Editor of Modern Haiku in the early 1970s, and edited Seer Ox: American Senryu Magazine and the American Haiku Poets Series, 1972-1976. He currently is tanka editor for Simply Haiku, and edits with commentary the "Tanka Cafe" column for Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal.

His collections of haiku, senryu, tanka, and related poetry include Light Run (Shiloh, 1971), Man With No Face (Shelters Press, 1974), Maya (Seer Ox, 1976), and Anthology of Days (Backwoods Broadsides Chaplet Series No. 70, 2002) and Letters in Time (Hermitage West, 2005). His work has been widely anthologized, and is featured in each of the three editions of The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel (Doubleday/Anchor, 1974; Simon & Schuster, 1986; W. W. Norton, 1999). The Tanka Anthology, which he edited with Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian (Red Moon Press, 2003), includes his groundbreaking "Introduction" to English-language tanka. 

Michael McClintock resides in California, alternating his home between Fresno in the central San Joaquin Valley, South Pasadena, and Los Angeles.

a long strand of spider silk
trailing from the tomb . . .
paper chrysanthemums
  names of lovers
carved in a whale's rib . . .
tides of spring
seeing friends off —
bright shapes they are,
outlined by darkness
  at dawn, the cricket
blends back under leaves
fallen in the forest
a bug
on the Pollack painting,
now climbing the wall
  not green itself
but a hint of it --
the slanting spring light
turning on the lamp,
turning off the lamp:
an evening in spring
  rain pools . . .
all of them there,
the mountains of the valley

the tide pools
this lonely world

[Basho Festival 2004, Special Award, Japan]



traveling, too,
on a seat by the window --
green melons

[Washington State Poets' Association, Francine Porad Contest, Honorable Mention]


Copyright © 2004-2006 by Roadrunner Haiku Journal. All rights revert to the authors upon publication.