Ouch! Senryu that Bite

Modern English Tanka Press, out of print, 177 pages, $34

Alexis Rotella has been writing haiku, senryu and tanka since her late 20’s. She is one of the most accomplished American writers and is able to write seemingly effortlessly in all three genres. She discovered haiku while working on an undergraduate thesis on zen at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Rotella is probably most well known for her senryu or psychological (serious) haiku. Her book LOOKING FOR A PRINCE (1991) took the haiku world by storm. Cor van den Heuvel calls Rotella “the witty, tender, funny, sad, sometimes MERCILESS younger sister of haiku . . . the . . . often-times absurd creature somersaulting through the universe somewhere between the angels and Donald Duck!” When asked where she gets her talent for senryu, she remarks, “From my father. He was a born psychologist who didn’t mince words. He saw right through people. No one could pretend around him.”