1971] collection of senryu and haiku
With No Face
[Shelters, 1974] collection of haiku, senryu, and tanka
[Seer Ox, 1976] collection of haiku, senryu, and tanka
included in anthologies:
[years 1974, 1986, and 1999]
Voices in America.
Louis Cuneo, Ed., San Francisco: Mothers Hen, 1975.
Rod Willmot, Ed., Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 1983.
glimpse of red: Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2000.
Jim Kacian, Ed., Red Moon Press, 2001.
Interview With McClintock by Adria Neapolitan
Neapolitan: Why haiku? What made you choose this form, or did the
form choose you?
I came to haiku by way of the Imagists, the American Transcendentalists
(Emerson, Thoreau, et al), the Romantic poets and their predecessors
(Cowper, Gray, John Clare). Though not named as such, the spirit
of haiku its techniques, poetics exists in the epiphanies
and best moments of every literature Ive studied; it appears
to be imbedded everywhere. Maybe that perspective makes me a pan-
haikuist? R. H. Blyths Zen in English Literature and Oriental
Classics (Dutton, 1960 edition) was one of the most important books
I read in college. Also, Ezra Pounds ABCs of Reading.
How long have you been writing, and what made you start?
been writing since I was a kid. Through writing and reading I found
I could go anywhere, do anything. But I was living too much in and
through literature, and so had to stand back from them, too, and
learn to live in the world as it is.
What do you consider to be your strongest piece and why? What is
your favorite piece and why?
MM: I cant
answer these questions about a favorite or strongest piece. I have
no single favorite or strongest. Maybe thats for others to
If its not too personal to discuss, why did you take a 20
year break from the writing scene?
MM: Ha! Thats
easy I needed to go to work and thats what I chose
to do! The time I had leftover I used to study, write, think. Something
had to get heaved, and that was all the work involved with publishing,
working with editors; it was too distracting. Painful to put aside,
maybe, but thats what I did. You know that old nursery rhyme
"Row, row, row your boat/gently down the stream"?
To do that I had to lighten the load.
How do you feel about your earlier work, looking back on it after
pleased, of course, that so many value so much of it. The best will
be in print again, soon. Most of the themes that are there in the
body of work produced in the period 1967-1976 I wish to pursue further,
to pick up and explore more thoroughly, not from the point where
I left them but from where I have taken them in my thinking and
experience over the past 20 or so years. And to add to them, Im
sure, new themes that at that earlier time I did not know were there...
Ive noticed that a few of your haiku have a very sensual quality
to them, can you discuss that?
is most powerful when it brings into play the senses; as beings,
were a bundle of senses.
Can you elaborate on the bluntness and the honesty in your haiku?
(Im thinking about the "dead cat... / open mouthed /
to the pouring rain.")
MM: I want to
see things as they are, not always as I would wish them to be. That
is easy to say, but often hard to do. I want to work in both ends
of the spectrum, to write about what I find, too, between the extremes
of beauty and ugliness. I think that is where most of us live our
lives; theres no sense in pretending otherwise. And I dont
have to go looking for it; it comes to me, whether I want it to
Where are you most likely to create (a room of ones own, a
desk and soft chair, etc.)?
MM: I write
in a favorite chair, indoors or outdoors. I write with a pencil
on a pad of paper usually a stenopad. Late at night, of in
the quiet morning hours these are the best times, when I
am fresh, or exhausted. I dont walk about scribbling. If I
carry a notebook at all it is for writing down addresses, phone
numbers, making quick sketches. I do the writing later often
months or years later. I let the imagery and feelings mull about
for awhile let them steep, brew, float or sink.
What is your muse, your inspiration for writing?
MM: I cant
say. I dont wait for inspiration. If I did, I think I would
be waiting a long, long time. Inspiration is misleading and misdirected
as often as it may be on target... Poetry is my muse, I suppose.
I need its news of the world. What others write, have written,
is very important to me. Or maybe my muse, really, is memory. That
may seem contradictory, haiku being about the moment, the "here
and now." But everything we see and do passes instantly into
memory: everything we see and do is framed by our memories. Memory
is a mystery its mysteries are my muse.