Biography of Roseliep Was 13 Years in the Making

By Frenzel, Anthony | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), December 11, 2015 | Go to article overview

Biography of Roseliep Was 13 Years in the Making


Frenzel, Anthony, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


if you go Events: Readings from "Raymond Roseliep: Man of Art Who Loves the Rose," by Donna Bauerly 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 Site: Loras College, 1450 Alta Vista St., Academic Resource Center, room 202. 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 Site: Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11th St., American Trust program room.Raymond Roseliep, by the account of those who knew him and the wealth of poetry that stands in memoriam to his craft, was a complicated man.

Born in 1917 in Farley, Iowa, Roseliep was a son, a student, a priest, the editor of The Witness, a professor, a chaplain to a retirement community of nuns, a poet and the founder of a community of artists committed to haiku poetry.

And, he is further immortalized through a meticulously researched biography, 13 years in the making: "Raymond Roseliep: Man of Art Who Loves the Rose" (The Haiku Foundation), by Donna Bauerly.

"In the preface, I tell you how I got involved in this biography," Bauerly said. "I met him first when I was 17 years old, when I was a postulant at Mount St. Francis."

In 1952, the chance encounter brought her into contact with the "tall man in black pants and white tee shirt with bristling black eyebrows and a startling frown on his face," according to her book.

Bauerly would come back into his orbit in 1976, when she joined the English department at Loras College as the first female professor in the institution's history.

Roseliep died in 1983 from an aneurysm, but his influence lives on.

"Roseliep was an iconoclast," Bauerly said. "He was always breaking the rules. He sometimes had to take really difficult jabs from critics and other writers of haiku."

Though he had been writing longer form poetry for many years, Roseliep made an international mark when he turned to the Japanese form of poetry known as haiku.

Though traditionally thought of as following a strict five-seven- five syllable structure, Roseliep was instrumental in helping to define and spread a modern form of American haiku. It's less focused on fitting into a proscribed number of syllables than it is in creating a juxtaposition between man and nature as briefly as possible.

"In fact, the title of the book came from a Japanese friend (of Roseliep's) who was the editor of the magazine, Outch," Bauerly said. "This friend, Nobuo Hirasawa, suggested his (Japanese) name Sobi-Shi. It means 'man of art who loves the rose. …

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