Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Alexis Rotella

Alexis Rotella

  Against his coat
I brush my lips –
the silence of snowflakes.
by Alexis Rotella
The Haiku Anthology, p. 172

Biographical Background

When regarding a person’s accomplishments in life, we find one is normally outstanding in one particular passion or area of interest. Alexis Rotella surprises us by how many diverse journeys she has explored and made her own. The passion Alexis has embodied is not focused on one hobby or career but on the big picture at hand. Alexis seems to have a passion for life and living well. I believe this excitement about finding what gives her peace is the driving force behind her outstanding list of credits.

Alexis was raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania and received her undergraduate degree with honors from Drew University in Zen Buddhism. After that she was a pastoral counselor and ordained Interfaith Minister (New Seminary).

As an Interfaith Minister she practiced Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and Neurolinguistic Programming. On the flip side of the work force Alexis also worked for the US Government, private law firms and a
management consulting firm.

However, the health and healing field is where she has spent most of her time. Alexis studied at the Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz and graduated with a master’s degree in acupuncture from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Miami, Florida (formerly the Worsley Institute). Alexis is certified in second-degree Reiki, Advanced Mari-el and sixth-degree Omega healing systems.

—Rachel Perry

This profile of haiku writer, Alexis Rotella, was researched, originally written and created by Sarah Lutz with additional information from Rachel Perry.

Sara Lutz has also written
an essay on Rotella's work:

The Psychological Haiku of Alexis Rotella

Scroll through the entire profile, or jump to any section:

Alexis Rotella has come to be known as one of the current premier haiku writers of the United States.

Kasuo Sato, a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, writes, "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."

Author's Books

After an Affair. Westfield, NJ: Merging Media, 1984.

Harvesting Stars: Sequences on Li Po and Ch’in Kuan. Mountain Lakes, NJ: Jade Mountain Press, 1983. Signed.

Editor. Butterfly Breezes. Mountain Lakes, NJ: 1981.

Rearranging Light. Passaic, NJ: Muse Pie Press, 1985. Signed.

Editor. The Rise and Fall of Sparrows: A Collection of North American Haiku. San Diego, CA: Los Hombres Press, 1990.

Tuning the Lily. Battle Ground, IN: High/Coo Press, 1983.

An Unknown Weed. Pointe Claire, Quebec: King’s Road Press, 1991.

Web Links

To find more information about Alexis Rotella and/or her poetry, visit her website at:

Jade Spring

Why Should You Read Rotella's Work?

Alexis Rotella’s poetry stands apart from other haiku author’s for being not only finely crafted, but having a distinct "psychological" perspective in many of her poems that many other writers are seemingly unable to capture. The term "psychological" here is referring to the very internal and "personally universal" tone used in much of her poetry. Rather than simply commenting on images or moments in life, Rotella goes beyond and is able to see into situations, bringing out the depth and emotion of the moment. While some poets could argue that this technique could detract from the haiku by making the scenario too personal, Alexis Rotella has mastered the psychological concept, writing fictional haiku and imagined scenarios that explore universal feelings of being alive in our contemporary world of complex relationships.

She brings humanistic characteristics into the haiku, making the moment striking to the reader. However, she still allows room for personal interpretation by playing on emotions that are found universally in the human character. Her haiku are not merely about herself; in fact many of them are imaginary or aesthetic explorations in literary art. They succeed in being haiku not merely about the author, but about us.

When questioned via e-mail as to whether or not this psychological approach was intentional, Rotella responded by writing, "I have never intended my work to be "psychological" . . . with my Scorpio moon, I am naturally this way, looking deep into the reality of ‘what’s out there.’ Skimming the surface of life is not my way and frankly, it leaves me cold" (E-mail 4/24/01).

Rotella believes that her style of writing stems from the core of the person she is; it is not forced or contrived to take on aspect unnatural to her character. The idea she introduces of refusing to "skim the surface of life" gives testimony to the depth of her haiku.

—Sarah Lutz




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2001, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site