Marlene Mountain, formerly known as Marlene Wills, was born in Oklahoma, on December 11, 1939. A visual artist as well as poet, she has a B.F.A. and M.A. in painting and has had numerous group and one-woman exhibitions. She currently paints and writes in the mountains of Tennessee.


Marlene Mountain





Mountain's first volume of haiku, the old tin roof, was published in 1976. It was an innovative production combining her visual art background with haiku. The book was published in a long page format (3.5 x 8.5 inches) which allowed her room to experiment with one-line haiku and concrete poems which she referred to as "unaloud haiku." By manipulating typographical elements such as letter spacing, word spacing, characters and arrangement on the page, each haiku has space for a unique reading experience. A second collection of her visual haiku, moment/moments was published by High/Coo Press in 1978.

In 1978 she wrote an important essay, "One-Image Haiku," which was originally published in the Australian haiku magazine, Tweed, and reprinted in A Haiku Path (Haiku Society of America, 1994). In this essay, she resists the conception of haiku as necessarily containing two juxtaposed images and champions a more inclusive conception of various types of haiku. In another important essay, published by Modern Haiku in 1988, she calls for women to "create haiku from experiences which are unique to ourselves as women . . . experiences which only women can write. Experiences which celebrate or 'confess' or proclaim or express womanness" (Volume 19.2, page 32).


Randy Brooks


Marlene Mountain's site :


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On the excellent site Mothertongued ...