View Cart


Front Cover | Back Cover

Author Biography


Articles & Reviews

Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji

haibun by Martin Willitts Jr.

Print (softcover) $24.95    
To pay by check please use this order form.
We are pleased to take orders from retailers. Email us with details about your order or call us at 207-837-5760.

The thirty-six woodblock prints that were the inspiration for this collection of writings were made by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). The pieces show different views of Mount Fuji from various waystations where people would go to look at the beautiful mountain. The writings in this book are haibun, a literary form originating in Japan that combines prose—autobiography, diary entries, essay, or short story—and poetry—often haiku. Hokusai was in his seventies when he produced the Mount Fuji series; the author, Martin Willitts Jr., was seventy years old when he began studying the prints, attempting to merge himself with Hokusai.

ART / Asian / Japanese
POETRY / General

ISBN: 978-1-962082-14-3 (print; softcover; perfect bound)

LCCN: 2024933126

Released March 12, 2024 | Copyright 2024

86 pages; 36 full-color images by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849)

Author Biography

Martin Willitts Jr.
is a Quaker. He is a retired librarian and musician living in Syracuse, New York. He is an editor for The Comstock Review and a judge for the New York State Fair Poetry Contest. He has been nominated for seventeen Pushcart and thirteen Best of the Net awards. Winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award; 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided Award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, Artist’s Choice, November 2016, Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2018; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, Editor’s Choice, December, 2020. His twenty-four chapbooks include National Chapbook Contest winner William Blake, Not Blessed Angel but Restless Man (Red Ochre Press, 2014) and Turtle Island Editor’s Choice Award The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2016). His twenty-two full-length books include Ethereal Flowers (Shanti Arts Publishing, 2023); National Ecological Award winner Searching for What You Cannot See (Hiraeth Press, 2013); How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press, 2016); Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed (FutureCycle Press, 2017); Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Editions, 2017); Home Coming Celebration (FutureCycle Press, 2019); 2019 Blue Light Award winner The Temporary World; Unfolding of Love (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020); and Harvest Time (Deerbrook Press, 2021).


“An old man journeys away from his home and his beloved wife to take up a spiritual quest. Along the way, he tracks Mount Fuji, an ekphrastic and metaphysical source of inspiration as he contemplates the creatures and people he encounters in the twilight of his life. The speaker is both poet and Hokusai, the nineteenth century ukio-e artist who created the woodblock print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji in his seventies, the same age, we are told in the book’s introduction, when the poet Martin Willitts Jr. “started studying the prints, attempting to merge himself with Hokusai.” What results is a collection of haibun, or prose-poems merged with haiku, that reckon with the speaker’s internal and external perambulations, for even while he travels beyond his home, he is stricken with homesickness: memories of his beloved wife, whom he glimpses in the cliffs and shadows of Mount Fuji. More cyclical than linear, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji is part travelogue, part art project, and part Nostos, swept away by its enchantments with ‘the mystery of bird music,’ the ‘silence of Mount Fuji,’ and the lure of love.
Sarah Giragosian, author of Queer Fish and The Death

“Martin Willitts Jr.’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji is a feast for the eyes, intellect, and senses. In each collaboration, a facet of Mount Fuji is presented through the woodblock prints of master artist Hokusai. The accompanying haibuns’ imagistic and wondrously erotic prose (‘a red glow diminishing like a woman’s nipple’) presents details a reader can’t help but relish before the related haiku. In this sense of alchemized distillations, the poems are wondrous perfumes layered by eros: ‘Kites find breeze in sun, / workers nail moonlight to roof, / I select wife’s hand’”
Eileen R. Tabios, poet, writer, and artist

Articles and Reviews


Shanti Arts LLC. Copyright © 2011-2024. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in any form.  |  193 Hillside Road  Brunswick  Maine  04011  |  207-837-5760