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CARPE DIEM HAIKU KAI: Carpe Diem #1667 Tan Renga Challenge Month May 2019 (14) Hibiscus Red … Raymond Roseliep

Haiku Happenings 36: Chevrefeuille presents Carpe Diem #1667 Tan Renga Challenge Month May (14) featuring the haiku of Raymond Roselip!

Raymond Roseliep (1917 – 1983) was a poet and contemporary master of the English haiku and a Catholic priest. He has been described as “the John Donne of Western haiku.”

Born on August 11, 1917, in Farley, Iowa, to John Albert Roseliep (1874-1939) and Anna Elizabeth Anderson (1884-1967). In 1939 he graduated from Loras College with a Bachelor of Arts, in 1948 he received a Master of Arts in English from Catholic University of America, and in 1954 he received a Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature from Notre Dame University. He was ordained, June 12, 1943, at St. Raphael’s Cathedral, Dubuque, Iowa.

For Raymond Roseliep the two most sacred themes were creation and love, so it was only natural that he would explore both in his haiku. In an interview first published in 1979, Roseliep was asked how a priest could be writing such evocative, sometimes erotic, love poetry. “To talk about that,” Roseliep said, “I should return for a moment to that Catholic-poetry period of mine, and I can briefly tell you how it was inevitable that I needed a fresh theme. In those early days I was writing about the Mass, the sacraments, parish experiences, religious encounters of all dimensions — in people, nature, anywhere.” He added: “I needed a new outlook. I knew that religious poetry and love poetry are the hardest of all to write, and since I hadn’t attained full success in one, I would try the other. And I have been exploring the love theme ever since. It’s wonderful. It keeps me alive and young and remembering; and always with feelings that are deepest and most sacred in all of us.”(Delta Epsilon Sigma Bulletin24:4 (December 1979);A Roseliep Retrospective: Poems & Other Words By & About Raymond Roseliep (Ithaca, N.Y.: Alembic Press, 1980), 13.)

He won the Haiku Society of America Harold G. Henderson award in 1977 and 1982. In 1981, Roseliep’s haiku sequence, “The Morning Glory”, appeared on over two thousand buses in New York City:

takes in 
the world 
from the heart out 


our day 
into itself 


on its own 
inner light

© Raymond Roseliep


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