Looking for a Prince
A collection of senryu and kyoka

Alexis Rotella

Revised Second Edition

P.O. Box 43717, Baltimore, Maryland 21236 USA www.modernenglishtankapress.com www.themetpress.com publisher@modernenglishtankapress.com

Looking for a Prince: A collection of senryu and kyoka Copyright © 1991 by Alexis Rotella, White Peony Press Copyright © 2008 by Alexis Rotella (revised second edition), Modern English Tanka Press, Baltimore, Maryland. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, except by a reviewer or scholar who may quote up to six poems in a review or article. Front cover art, “Blue Man,” Copyright © 2007 by Alexis Rotella. Used with permission. A version appeared at www.threelightsgallery.com, 2008. “Mad Hen” haiga Copyright © 2008 by Alexis Rotella. Used with permission. Published first in Modern Haiga (www.modernhaiga.com), 2008. Copy Editor, Paul Smith, Worcestershire, England. Printed in the United States of America 2008

Looking for a Prince: A collection of senryu and kyoka by Alexis Rotella Revised Second Edition Published by Modern English Tanka Press Baltimore, Maryland USA ISBN 978-0-9817691-5-8 publisher@modernenglishtankapress.com www.modernenglishtankapress.com www.themetpress.com

Black River Review, Plover (Chidori), Haiku Quarterly, Modern Haiku, Inkstone, Wind Chimes, Brussels Sprout, Frogpond, Red Pagoda, Ko (Japan), Cedar Rock, Mayfly, Pine Needles, Woodnotes, Backyard Bamboo, Shooting Star Flower Essence Journal, Cicada, Carousel (30 Senryu, Juniper Press, 1991), Eavesdropping (2007, Modern English Tanka Press), Ouch: Senryu that Bite, 2007, Modern English Tanka Press). Haiku (Public Radio Broadcast, Terra Infirma), Poems set to sound, Colorado State Council on the Arts Grant, 1993). The following senryu were awarded Honorable Mentions: After you leave / my bed smells of / rain, Mya Pasek Awards, 1985. Quickly I powder / my nose / my mother staring back, Hawaii Education Association Contest, 1986. Wearing dark glasses / my friend visits / the psychic, Haiku Poets of Northern California Women’s Contest, 1989. The chain smoker / carrying / a PRO-LIFE banner, Kaji Aso Third Annual Senryu Contest. Notes: This revised edition of Looking for a Prince has been resurrected because the original publication has long been out of print. I have experimented with using five and four lines instead of the original three lines that appeared in Prince. Many of the poems and all sequences from the first printing have been deleted and quite a few have been rewritten with lines rearranged. Since I believe a poem is a living breathing entity, and these senryu/kyoka are not cast in granite, you may notice that in some journals and other of my books they may appear in three or five lines, depending upon what the poem was calling for at the time. Instead of getting bogged down in minutae, I ask the reader to just enjoy the message of the poems and forget who the messenger is. Haikuland has grown considerably since 1991, when Prince first came out, and there are many more new players on the block who have never read the work. It is particularly with them in mind that Modern English Tanka Press has revived Looking for a Prince. It is my sincere hope that these senryu and senryu-like tanka (or kyoka) will inspire you to contribute to this ever growing field of literature. Please also be aware that my personal feelings about art do not subscribe to the politically correct philosophy, which I believe to be a form of censorship. —Alexis Rotella, 2008

“I create in the medium that likes me.”
Marc Chaghall

“Alexis Rotella’s work reflects the wide spectrum of the Creation itself—glowing with the special light of art. With just a few words, she catches life’s revealing moments with an insight and depth that the movies—if they were able—would take millions of dollars and the talents of hundreds to capture. “Some of her poems throw off stars like a wand in a Disney cartoon, drawing pictures of the Cinderellas of this world as they try to balance their romantic dreams with reality. Others lay bare, as in a Capra comedy, the foibles of all kinds of people, from heart-surgeons to innkeepers, from upper-class matrons to feminists. She can create darker moods, too, reaching out a hand to open the curtain on psychological dramas of silence and repression like those found in Bergman. Or she may direct a love scene with such a bittersweet mixture of emotion and humor it rivals one of Chaplin’s. She opens our eyes to nature, too, with the kind of love of rain and sunlight that stains with beauty the films of a Kurosawa. You may even find a few Hitchcockian mysteries! “She can do all this using only words—in haiku, senryu and in longer works. Here in LOOKING FOR A PRINCE, she does it all through senryu—the witty, tender, funny, sad, sometimes MERCILESS younger sister of haiku. So, though there may be a few haiku-like backdrops, the focus is on the human being—the paradoxes, the inconsistencies, the wisdom and foolishness, the sweet and sour of this often-times absurd creature somersaulting through the universe somewhere between the angels and Donald Duck! “Enter this theater of senryu and you will search for a prince and tell lies, feel the pain of seeing a lover’s face light up for another, see the irony in a brothel’s candy dish, grin at a little girl’s blunt honesty, and groan over an inconsiderate house guest—and then smile at him and yourself, too, for most (all?) of life is funny when looked at from the right angle. “Rotella has a genius for finding that angle—even when looking at herself—and that genius spotlights scenes from the human comedy throughout this remarkable book.” — Cor van den Heuvel, Editor, The Haiku Anthology (Simon and Schuster) * Note on the first edition of Looking for a Prince.

Alexis Rotella

Old album— my father caught a mermaid.

Looking for a Prince

Lying— I tell him I’m not looking for a prince.


Alexis Rotella

Room filled with longing and we discuss the weather.

As you brag the hole at the bottom of your shoe.

He leads me to his favorite table his face facing the mirror.


Looking for a Prince

Having lunch with another man, but he, too, is wearing a mask.

A mountain of sweet peas in my lap and you get up to leave.

Crying over onions, my mother with the stiff upper lip.


Alexis Rotella

Quickly I powder my nose my mother staring back.

As I explain how deeply I feel over the phone, he munches on a carrot.

Your voice saying goodbye forever on the answering machine.


Looking for a Prince

During his two-week vacation the mysterious phone calls cease.

Over and over he says he wants nothing to do with me.

“This tea has wonderful body,” he says, touching my knee.


Alexis Rotella

First kiss— it lands on his nose.

On my new gypsy skirt the klutz drops a meatball.

As we embrace sweet smell of cedar in your suit.


Looking for a Prince

He said he spent the night alone— hairpin on the floor.

As I gesticulate, your eyes slide down my shoulders to my hands.

Passing through our quarrel the garbage man’s whistle.


Alexis Rotella

Letter from an admirer— one too many flourishes.

He doesn’t call back— I visit a spiritual bookstore.

In the lily-filled chapel, a monk with his jaw set.


Looking for a Prince

Reading Wordsworth— so many words.

Before going out to work on his car my brother takes a long shower.

“I’m a very humble person,” she says, stepping into her Jag.


Alexis Rotella

Again the haiku poet reminds everyone how humble she is.

Doctor with a paunch telling my hubby to lose some weight.

When I tell him I’m better, an unexpected glow from my doctor’s face.


Looking for a Prince

Between patients the young dentist plays piano.

The dentist humming— he must like his work.

While drilling my tooth, the dentist keeps time to “Zorba the Greek.”


Alexis Rotella

A slow day— the receptionist reads a dictionary.

While down in the dumps, I receive an upbeat letter from a homeless friend.

New York traffic jam— “Freedom? You call this freedom?” screams the Russian cabbie.


Looking for a Prince

Looking like a dumpling the rabbi’s wife.

Taking Aunt Millie to a play though tomorrow she won’t remember.

Aunt Millie’s hope chest— hopeless.


Alexis Rotella

Dancing with a heart surgeon— his clothes reeking of tobacco.

After his last patient the psychoanalyst stares at the gibbous moon.

On the shady side of the street, the lawyer’s office.


Looking for a Prince

Into the meeting the boss marches, lipstick on his mouth.

After I guess his sign, the Virgo astronomer tugging at his socks.

In the Victorian inn, not in the mood for love.


Alexis Rotella

Not even a touch goodbye from the young stud.

Under a full moon flossing in a new camellia-blossom gown.

In the guest room closet something waits for me to fall asleep.


Looking for a Prince

For an instant the light from his face pushes me away.

Keeping our distance, both of us pet the dog.

At the pool hall spouting zen the young stud.


Alexis Rotella

At the pond’s edge a green Citroen sits with all the other frogs.

How I long for it— sacred feather in the eagle’s cage.

In street clothes the priest’s eyes a faraway blue.


Looking for a Prince

After sprinkling his ashes in the ocean— a seafood supper.

City street— a skirt with little mirrors throwing off light.

Over the phone I listen to his sake bubble.


Alexis Rotella

Grunting like a sumo wrestler the lady doctor.

Until the priest passes by, all talk of astrology stops.

On her bathroom ceiling, Mother places stick-on stars just so.


Looking for a Prince

The Messiah is coming— call Ticketron.

Wedding photo— Grandmother gripping the arms of her chair.

Posing for photographs— the bride frightened by a garter snake.


Alexis Rotella

With all her might a spurned woman throws the wedding rice.

In Mom’s old button box still the smell of Chinese tea.

Old coal stove— the sizzle of spit.


Looking for a Prince

New maid gone— the lamp shade upside down.

Now a lamp base in a second cousin’s house— Grandpa’s fiddle.

My inheritance— the plastic box we thought was ivory.


Alexis Rotella

Another family secret— Uncle Wasil was a bigamist.

Family gathering— a girl tells Aunt Martha she looks like a horse.


Looking for a Prince

With Necco wafers I offer my dolls communion.


Alexis Rotella

Roommate— she sleeps with the phone as if it were a cat.

The shape of Grandma’s snore as it rises from the featherbed.

Face to face with a penguin, nun.


Looking for a Prince

After my friend’s divorce she considers joining a convent.

Hanging onto his mama’s skirt, the little cowboy.

After she wrestles with a tub of dough, Grandma blesses it.


Alexis Rotella

Anger in check I burn another pot.

From our apple-shaped cookie jar everyone hears when I take a treat.


Looking for a Prince

While imitating Pinky Lee my brother falls on his ass.


Alexis Rotella

He’s elected mayor— the boy who pulled my pigtails.

My mother digging through coal ashes for her wedding band.

Wearing a little boy’s face, my father rising up in a hot-air balloon.


Looking for a Prince

300 miles away— my father makes sure I hear him sigh.

After my ordination, a loud silence from my family.

My first visit home in a year, Mom and Dad continue to watch Another World.


Alexis Rotella

Neighbor’s think it’s a siren— Tibetan singing bowl.

In a dark mood my husband breaks a lamp.

Mother-in-law— again she refers to me as SHE.


Looking for a Prince

Before visiting the graves, Grandma irons a handkerchief.

Graveside— grandson knocking on the coffin.

Norman Rockwell painting— why can’t MY family be like that?


Alexis Rotella

Bowl of gingerbread boys— looks like they’ve all run away.

Before the blizzard she buries all the credit cards.

As you work away at the income tax, your cow lick.


Looking for a Prince

The empty lawn chairs where we laughed and laughed.

Just before the house painter arrives I hide my lingerie.

As we talk about UFO’s my skin tingles.


Alexis Rotella

Fortune teller— she’s adding a new addition to her house.

Before steeping the herbs, the curandera prays to JFK.

In dark glasses my friend visits a psychic.


Looking for a Prince

Reunion— a disappointed friend finds no wrinkles on my face.

Just married— she signs his name first on the Christmas cards.

Suddenly this house is too small— my best friend with her new husband.


Alexis Rotella

Saying the Pledge of Allegiance she feels her breast for lumps.

In artificial turquoise an old Indian sits at the bar.


Looking for a Prince

STOP LOOK AND LISTEN the Indian elder stares at the sign.


Alexis Rotella

Family-style restaurant— the hostess seats us with the Hell’s Angels.

Serving soup from an old tureen— or is it a chamber pot?

Lunch with an old friend— her face lift between us.


Looking for a Prince

To the divorce court she wears her highest heels.

Estranged friend— to my poetry reading she wears her pointiest highest heels.

Where old Blue squats— a dollar bill.


Alexis Rotella

Dreary rain— so many commas in his letter.


Looking for a Prince

As I admire the lotus a friend admires herself.

At the bus terminal the panhandler someone I once knew.

To the hitch hiker, only the arm of the Big Dipper reaches out.


Alexis Rotella

He who never phones calls late at night to be cheered up.

My unhappy friend finding fault again with me.

As I try to doze off the house guest cracking gum.


Looking for a Prince

Up with the rooster and raring to go, house guest.


Alexis Rotella

Traveling circus— my friend asks a gypsy if she’ll ever conceive.


Looking for a Prince

Just back from Santa Fe— in the middle of the night we both see an Indian brave at the foot of our bed.

As he autographs books the poet’s carrot-juice moustache.
(In memory of Nick Virgilio)

She makes a mint selling hot dogs— girl in a scant bikini.


Alexis Rotella

In the soup line an aristocratic nose.

After a friend unloads her troubles, my shoulders ache.

Crows looking down on kids selling drugs.


Looking for a Prince

My dearest friend— again she blows up the dinosaur that leaks.

In the asylum tangles in my friend’s hair.

Cow running to the slaughter house.


Alexis Rotella

She calls to say happy birthday and to ask a favor.

Surprise party— the spaniel jumps into the cake.

Fists tight, you talk of openness.


Looking for a Prince

After you leave my bed smells of rain.

After the honeymoon, flowered sheets billow on the clothes line.

My last day at work— already someone has taken the stapler from my desk.


Alexis Rotella

New receptionist— her lace collar askew.

Bad review— the poet’s planets are all misaligned.

Rush-hour subway— pressed against a stranger, our faces expressionless.


Looking for a Prince

Leaving the cemetery— why do I feel I’m not alone?

In a fox hole he writes his first poem.

Sitting on a rock talking to moths, the Vietnam vet.


Alexis Rotella

Florist— his blank expression as he designs a funeral bouquet.

I thought it was a statue till the goose nipped my fanny.

The cat hater— a feline-looking woman.


Looking for a Prince

In the post office trash, pictures of missing children.


Alexis Rotella

After the shopping spree a whirlwind of leaves.

As he drops off the lady of the night, slow pick-up of his Mercedes.

Jersey City— the pimp’s Cadillac slides through a red light.


Looking for a Prince

Bus terminal— a shopping-bag lady quoting Freud.

The feminist— she tells us at a meeting not to wear pink.

Yachts all docked— the tinkle of ice.


Alexis Rotella

Nude beach— the matron struts her cellulite.

In fake red fingernails the housewife playing solitaire.

At the fur-storage vault a woman pets her mink goodbye.


Looking for a Prince

Fourth of July— he admits he had a fling.

Scorching heat— a man in a white robe walks along Route 80.

After seeing a dead man we order artichokes.


Alexis Rotella

Thinking of the old man in the nursing home but not stopping.

Drowning kittens— woman with a sweet face.

As I burn leaves, I see myself in a past life burning leaves.


Looking for a Prince

Widow’s umbrella holding up the sky.

First time fishing— the new divorcee sports false lashes.

New office building— not one window overlooks the pond.


Alexis Rotella

From the garbage truck, my poems flying on pink paper.

Blasting the neighborhood with hard rock, the sanitation truck.

Reading the poem I threw away, the garbage man.


Looking for a Prince

Looking out through the eyes of an old woman a little girl.


Alexis Rotella

The new citizen walks home alone— sky all starry.

Voting booth— the funny shapes of people’s legs.

Twice today I bump into the man I try to avoid.


Looking for a Prince

The pilot turns out to be a woman— now I can relax.

Safety booklet— the flight attendant flies through it.

On the bus a ray of sun moves over the worker’s face.


Alexis Rotella

In the young doctor’s waiting room a couch with broken springs.

Young doctor— he charges the old woman three dollars.

Old man— first he asks to die, then for a ham sandwich.


Looking for a Prince

Having cut down two old oaks the neighbor moves away.

Suddenly the neighbors are friendly— their house up for sale.

She’s running for office— for the first time our neighbor waves.


Alexis Rotella

Christening— her mother’s grief already in the infant’s eyes.

Immediately after the christening the stiff white dress is lifted off.


Looking for a Prince

The new baby comes home— again the dog gives his paw without being asked.


Alexis Rotella

The screaming next door turns out to be opera.

Eating salami in her car the woman who keeps a kosher house.

Funeral director— there goes the happiest man in town.


Looking for a Prince

After confession skipping home.

As the piccolo player leaves the stage a little skip enters his walk.

Pulling in the moonlight then spilling it out again . . . trombone man.


Alexis Rotella

Flapping the trousers of a zoot suit passing subway train.

Deciding to stay, we play another round of “go.”


Looking for a Prince

Flowers filling the cancer ward.


Alexis Rotella

“All those damn water lilies,” my neighbor says, as I meditate on them.

They just moved in— already the man of the house is cutting grass.

Her grave covered with them, the woman who hated flowers.


Looking for a Prince

After the neighbor cuts down our hemlock, I invite him in for tea.

“Could you pass a test like that?” snarls a vendor to the woman squeezing melons.

As I swing my pendulum over the melons, a hush in the market.


Alexis Rotella

As the defendant tells his side, the witnesses tilt to the right.

At the rim of the Grand Canyon, two Englishmen argue semantics.

At my door, the boy and his spaniel— both with freckles.


Looking for a Prince

Wearing the face of a wise old monk, the lhasa.

Going deeper into himself hooded monk.

Only with each other, two monks take a vow of silence.


Alexis Rotella

UPS man— first he gives my dog a biscuit.

On a strict budget, tiny pine cones dangle from her ears.

Another rainy day— the innkeeper’s rehearsed jokes.


Looking for a Prince

At his grave she forgives him again.

After saying grace he swats the fly.

Swatting the fly I swat myself.


Alexis Rotella

Autumn path— collecting aluminum cans the old-money millionaire.

Vermont country store— the new New Jersey owner asks for two IDs.

In the diner eating the same breakfast old man.


Looking for a Prince

“I don’t mean to interrupt,” she says, again.

Their big day— pink toilet-paper carnations on all the cars.

On his deathbed, the old man greets his long dead friends.


Alexis Rotella

Brothel entrance— multi-colored condoms in a candy dish.

Old bookstore— smell of a fart.

His fishing lure— my most exotic earring.


Looking for a Prince

After the funeral folding towels.

So hot, I forgot to listen to myself on radio.

Sunday afternoon— the bachelor ironing shirts.


Alexis Rotella

In the dead farmer’s diary— “Strawberry shortcake for supper.”

Her first dinner party— the hostess apologizes for the bouncing brisket.

In front of the store elderly Indians whisper their dreams.


Looking for a Prince

Book sale— for only fifty cents secret to the Universe.

Bent out of shape, she rearranges pots and pans.

“I’ve been to the mountaintop,” he says, chugging another Bud.


Alexis Rotella

The woman with no culture keeps fondling her pearls.

Gardener gone— I collect his cigarette butts.

Priest— moon trembling in his brandy glass.


Looking for a Prince

Cocktail party— the minister in his collar stands alone.

Old wine on his breath the priest absolves my sins.

Lunch with a priest— why do I feel I’m at confession?


Alexis Rotella

The priest comes to bless the house and pees all over the toilet seat.

Halfway through the day I remember our anniversary.

Clogging the drain, the handful of rose petals you threw in my bath.


Looking for a Prince

Chamber music— this, too, shall pass.

As you gently touch my hair, hearing my husband swallow.

During our quarrel he corrects my grammar.


Alexis Rotella

The girl in bleached jeans changing the expression on your face.

Husband gone— I xerox the chain letter.

Peace meditation— hundreds of hands cupping sunlight.


Looking for a Prince

During group meditation all the neighborhood cats on my porch.

As he watches the Miss Universe pageant I pretend to sleep.

While they make eyes at each other I file my nails.


Alexis Rotella

We carry him out in a sling— our dog, the prancer.

The guru speaks— his toenails dirty.

Letter from the guru— words misspelled.


Looking for a Prince

Robed swami— I hear he beats his wife.

Hot afternoon— the gum I threw away is on my shoe.

Photo album— there’s me in my can can dress and bobby socks.


Alexis Rotella

Two days before the prom, it’s still not too late for him to ask.

“Your foot shouldn’t have been there,” says the man after stepping on it.

Still trying to decide if God exists, aged philosophy professor.


Looking for a Prince

Searching everywhere for his hat the aged professor finds it on his head.

As he makes a philosophical point my mind on mosquito bites.

The jockey resembles her horse.


Alexis Rotella

After the atheist’s sneeze I bite my tongue.

The old lady dies holding her pocketbook.

Poetry gathering— again the beard pontificates.


Looking for a Prince

Fellow poet— he’d rather have the money than trade me a book.

After giving a talk on life’s meaning, cutting coupons.

Around the desert monoliths everyone’s ego a healthy size.


Alexis Rotella

Pumpkin-flower omelette— a haiku poet comes for lunch.

Into the river the chef drops a pot of something.


Looking for a Prince

Chain smoker carrying a PRO-LIFE banner.


Alexis Rotella


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexis Rotella served as President of the Haiku Society of America (Japan House) in 1984 and edited Frogpond , Brussels Sprout and The Persimmon Tree. Her haiku, senryu and tanka have won many awards and recognition. Her work appears in numerous anthologies including Global Haiku (Twenty-five Poets World-wide), George Swede and Randy Brooks, Mosaic Press; How to Haiku, Haiku Moment, both by Bruce Ross, Tuttle; Beneath a Single Moon (Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry), Johnson and Paulenich, Shambhala; The Haiku Anthology 3rd ed., Cor van den Heuvel, Norton; Haiku I (Poesies Anciennes et Modernes) Jackie Hardy, Editions Vega; Haiku for Lovers, Manu Bazzano (MQP); Czeslaw Milosz/ HAIKU (Krakow, Poland); Synesthesia in Haiku and Other Essays, Toshimi Horiuchi (University of Philippines Press) and Haiku in English, Hiroaki Sato (Simul Press, Japan). Rotella’s longer work and Japanese related poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and magazines including The New York Times (Metropolitan Diary), Christian Science Monitor, Family Circle, Glamour, New Letters, The Paterson Literary Review , Chiron Review, Blue Mesa Review, The Madison Review, Lynx, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Simply Haiku, Red Lights, and Bottle Rockets. Alexis is author of the poem Purple which appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Love, Magic and Mudpies by Bernie Siegel, M.D. (Rodale Press). Alexis was the 2007 grand prize winner of the Kusmakura Haiku Competition where she traveled to Kumamoto, Japan for the awards ceremony. Rosenberry Books recently published A SPRINKLE OF GLITTER (one liners). They will republish Alexis' ASK!, aphorisms and zen drawings, as well as an illustrated volume of PURPLE (A Parable). Rotella maintains a blog at www.alexisrotella.com. Alexis Rotella lives in Arnold, Maryland where she is a practitioner of Oriental Medicine.

BY ALEXIS ROTELLA: Butterfly Breezes (An Anthology of Haiku), Jade Mountain, 1981 Clouds in my Teacup, Wind Chimes Press, 1982 Tuning the Lily, High/Coo Press, 1983 On a White Bud, Merging Media, 1984 After an Affair, Merging Media, 1984 (Merit Book Award Runner-up) Camembert Comes from the Sea, White Peony Press, 1984 Harvesting Stars, Jade Mountain Press, 1984 ASK!, Muse Pie Press, 1984 Rearranging Light, Muse Pie Press, 1985 (HSA Merit Book Award Runner-up) Closing the Circle, Muse Pie Press, 1985 Polishing a Ladybug, Swamp Press, 1985 Middle City, Muse Pie Press, 1986 (N.J. State Council on the Arts grant) Beards and Wings, White Peony Press, 1986 Moonflowers, Jade Mountain Press, 1987 Drizzle of Stars (with Scott Montgomery and Bob Boldman), Jade Mountain Press, 1988 The Lace Curtain, Jade Mountain Press, 1989 Antiphony of Bells, Jade Mountain Press,1989 How Words and Thoughts Affect Your Body, Jade Mountain Press, 1989 The Essence of Flowers, Jade Mountain Press, 1989 The Rise and Fall of Sparrows (A Collection of North American Haiku), Los Hombres Press, 1990 Star Power (Haiku Poetry Pamphlet), Haiku Canada, 1991 Carousel (30 Senryu), Juniper Press, 1991 (Third Place, Merit Book Awards) An Unknown Weed, King’s Road Press, 1991 (Merit Book Award Runner-up) Voice of the Mourning Dove, White Peony Press, 1991 Looking for a Prince, White Peony Press, 1991 Eleven Renga (with Florence Miller), Jade Mountain Press, 1992

Haiku (Public Radio Broadcast, Terra Infirma), Poems set to sound, Colorado State Council on the Arts Grant, 1993 Musical Chairs (A Haiku Journey Through Childhood), Jade Mountain Press, 1994 A String of Monarchs (with Florence Miller), Jade Mountain Press,1994 YES (with Florence Miller), Jade Mountain Press, 1994 No One Inside ( a linked poem with Carlos Colon), Proof Press, 1996 Sassy (with Carlos Colon), Tragg Publishing, 1998 Blue Burqas ( a kukame with ai li), Proof Press, 2002 In Dubuque: Haiku and Longer Poetry Meet, unpublished Round Faces and Nesting Dolls, a tanka renga sequence on growing up Orthodox, with an’ya Eavesdropping: Seasonal Haiku, Modern English Tanka Press, 2007 Ouch: Senryu That Bite, Modern English Tanka Press, 2007. Lip Prints: Tanka and Other Short Poems, 1979–2007, Modern English Tanka Press, 2007. Ash Moon Anthology (tanka on aging) co-edited with Denis M. Garrison, Modern English Tanka Press, 2008 A Sprinkle of Glitter (illustrated one liners), Rosenberry Books, 2008

Alexis Rotella’s work reflects the wide spectrum of the Creation itself–glowing with the special light of art. With just a few words, she catches life’s revealing moments with an insight and depth that the movies–if they were able–would take millions of dollars and the talents of hundreds to capture. Cor van den Heuvel, Editor THE HAIKU ANTHOLOGY (Simon and Schuster, 1986)

Ever attentive to what’s going on around her, Alexis Rotella has recreated here some of the passing moments of her life that are at once funny and wistful. Hiroaki Sato, Editor, FROM THE COUNTRY OF EIGHT ISLANDS

Alexis Rotella is one of the best haiku poets in the United States. She has a born talent to catch the haiku moment in nature and in the human world. If she had been born in Japan, she would have become a leading haiku poetess. In this collection of senryu, she shows her deep and poignant insight into human nature. Kazuo Sato, Professor, Waseda University Museum of Haiku Literature (Tokyo)

I have often wondered why senryu has not become as popular as haiku in America. Wit and humor have always been an essential part of American literature; the Americans in general have a more independent, critical mind that the Japanese. Alexis Rotella has been one of the few Americans who has experimented with this traditional Japanese verse form, publishing a good number of them. . . . these mini-poems explore the poetic potential of senryu in English to the full, inviting others to smile, grin or laugh with her–and perhaps, to reflect on their own lives and to write a senryu or two. Makoto Ueda, Professor of Japanese and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University. Author, MODERN JAPANESE POETS AND THE NATURE OF LITERATURE (Stanford University Press)

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ABOUT OUCH: SENRYU THAT BITE Beware! Alexis Rotella’s OUCH is a striking collection of senryu that will seize you with its teeth. Alan Pizzarelli, Senryu Editor of Simply Haiku

Using puns, irony, wit, and a touch of venom these brutally funny, and sometimes sad and moving, poems about the human condition by Alexis Rotella might have come from a pen combining the talents of a Don Rickles, Dorothy Parker, and the Bard of Avon himself, except that they are more stinging and more hilarious and that they are all Rotella. Wince, squirm, and cry, but she’ll have you laughing your head off as it falls from the chopping block. Ouch! Indeed.

Cor van den Heuvel, Editor of THE HAIKU ANTHOLOGY: Haiku and Senryu in English

I know I am not the only one who finds Alexis Rotella’s unerringly pithy senryu to be one of the remarkable phenomena of contemporary short form poetry. Michael McClintock, Contributing Editor, Modern English Tanka

With this major compendium, Rotella has not published the last word on English language senryu, for there can be no last word in an art form that so quickly and directly flashes forth glints of human behavior. But what she has done is laid out the basic buidling blocks of that art form. Aspiring practitioners will study and imitate her constructions, learning this special kind of poetry by studying someone who has mastered it. Seasoned poets and connoisseurs will return to it again and again, rereading their favorites and savoring Rotella’s deft control of her tools. And the casual reader who happens to pick up the volume, perhaps while waiting for a friend, or strolling through a library, will fall delightedly under its spell. Dave Bacharach, moonset Reviewer, Spring/Summer 2008

ABOUT EAVESDROPPING: SEASONAL HAIKU Rotella spins her web of piercing observation and exquisite emotion, all the while keeping respectfully aloof from each poem. And though many of the haiku she has gathered possess a gentle irony that gives them a senryu-like quality, they are without the usual sharp bite that accompanies her work in that genre. The irony here serves a different

purpose, one that is iconic and life-affirming. By iconic is meant Rotella’s outstanding ability to summon up images that seem to impart primal significance to life experience, as in a minimal masterpiece that, with the barest of brush strokes, sums up the entire generative process: On a tombstone lovers laughing. First strapless gown -Scent of crushed roses On the bucket seat.

Dave Bacharach, moonset Editor, Spring/Summer 2008

Alexis Rotella’s latest haiku collection brings to the reader her inimitable style of writing which transcends global barriers to reach out and touch our sensibilities. Her haiku are for everyone regardless of age, level of experience for the genre, or profession and show a deep insight which raises the ordinary to the extraordinary; while her innate spirituality shows through in a delicate tapestry of well chosen words. Angelee Deodhar, Chandigarh, India

This book has the comfortable feel of an easy chair on some old homestead porch . . . Today, in our modern-day universe and contemporary society, these haiku are charmingly old-fashioned albeit inusitate and unconstrained. Alexis gives us every opportunity to soar higher and higher with her, not only poetically, but spiritually. an’ya, editor of moonset, The Newspaper

With this collection, the reader is gently made aware of aspects of the seasons, nature and human nature that often lie unnoticed. Rotella removes the veil with an artful humor and spiritual sensitivity that makes this book a gift to be treasured. Kirsty Karkow, award-winning author of water poems: haiku, tanka and sijo and shorelines: haiku, haibun and tanka


A plethora of poems on subjects ranging from love and loss, death and family and friends and neighbors, all treated with the wry compassion for which the author is known. The poet lets us know where she stands: Tanka – / I like mine / with a senryu twist / a slice of lemon / on the side. Andrew Shimield, Blithe Spirit 18/2

LIP PRINTS by Alexis Rotella is her most beautifully crafted and imagistic book to date. Maria Mazziotti Gilan, editor of Paterson Literary Review and author of Italian Woman in Black Dresses (Guernica Editions)

LIP PRINTS, today, right now, has no equal in American tanka literature. Michael McClintock, President of the Tanka Society of America

Her tanka, though firmly rooted in the American landscape of experiences, follow the “no subject off limits” approach championed by the famous Modernist Japanese tanka poets, Akiko and Hiroshi Yosano (Tekkan). Randy Brooks, Editor, Mayfly Magazine, Professor of English, Millikin University

The Tanka Prose Anthology ! Jeffrey Woodward, Ed. Greetings from Luna Park ! Sedoka by James Roderick Burns In Two Minds ! Tanka by Amelia Fielden and Kathy Kituai An Unknown Road ! Haiku by Adelaide B. Shaw Slow Motion: The Log of a Chesapeake Skipjack ! M. Kei Ash Moon Anthology: Poems on Aging in Modern English Tanka ! Alexis Rotella & Denis M. Garrison, Eds. Fire Blossoms: The Birth of Haiku Noir ! Denis M. Garrison Cigarette Butts and Lilacs ! Tanka by Andrew Riutta Sailor in the Rain and Other Poems ! Denis M. Garrison Four Decades on My Tanka Road : Tanka Collections of Sanford Goldstein ! Sanford Goldstein. Fran Witham, Ed. this hunger, tissue-thin : new & selected tanka 1995–2005 ! Larry Kimmel Jun Fujita, Tanka Pioneer ! Denis M. Garrison, Ed. Landfall : Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka ! Denis M. Garrison and Michael McClintock, Eds. Lip Prints : Tanka and Other Short Poems 1979-2007 ! Alexis Rotella Ouch : Senryu That Bite ! Alexis Rotella Eavesdropping : Seasonal Haiku ! Alexis Rotella Tanka Teachers Guide ! Denis M. Garrison, Ed. Five Lines Down : A Landmark in English Tanka ! Denis M. Garrison, Ed. Sixty Sunflowers: TSA Members’ Anthology 2006-2007 ! Sanford Goldstein, Ed. The Dreaming Room : Modern English Tanka in Collage and Montage Sets ! Michael McClintock and Denis M. Garrison, Eds. Haiku Harvest 2000-2006 ! Denis M. Garrison, Ed. The Salesman’s Shoes ! Tanka by James Roderick Burns Hidden River ! Haiku by Denis M. Garrison The Five-Hole Flute : Modern English Tanka in Sequences and Sets ! Denis M. Garrison and Michael McClintock, Eds. Periodicals ! Modern English Tanka ! Atlas Poetica ! Modern Haiga !