Marianne Bluger (1945 - 2005)



Marianne was born in Ottawa, ON on 28 August 1945.

Fisher Park High School 1963;

McGill University B.A. 1967 (Univ. Scholar);



Exec. Sec.-Treas. Canadian Writers' Foundation Inc. 1975-2000;

St. Matthias' Sunday School Superintendent 1977-80;

Christians Against Apartheid (Ottawa) Co-founder 1984;

Haiku Society of Canada Treasurer 1988-91

KaDo: Ottawa Haiku Group Co-founder 2002;

Tabitha Foundation Founding Director 1994-2005.


Author of poetry:

The Thumbless Man is at the Piano 1981;

On Nights Like This 1984;

Gathering Wild 1988;

Summer Grass 1992;

Tamarack & Clearcut (Haiku) 1997;

Gusts (Tanka) 1998;

Scissor, Paper, Woman 2000;

Early Evening Pieces (Haiku) 2003;

Zen Mercies / Small Satoris (Tanka) 2005;

The Eternities 2005;

She died on 29 Oct., 2005, after a long and courageous fight with cancer. Nearly one year later in November 2006 Marianne's final book was be launched - Nude with Scar 2006.


Some recent anthologies featuring Bluger's work:

Eternal Conversations: Remembering Louis Dudek, ed. Skarstedt, Gnarowski, & Collins; DC Books (Montreal), 2003

HAIKU: Poetry Ancient & Modern 2002 MQ Publications (London)

HAIKU: Poésies anciennes & modernes 2003 Éditions Véga (Paris)

Redmoon Press, TANKA Anthology, winter 2003


Various honours for poetry including Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry 1993;

Canada Council Arts B Award 1989;


Marianne’s view on poetry which appeared in Poetry and Spiritual Practice (Selections from Contemporary Canadian Poets), edited by Susan McCaslin for the St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2002:

“Poetry moves me to a kind of reverence - not all of it, but much of the best of it. When I engage with poetry, I become contemplative and mystically transported to a deeper awareness, to a kind of enlivened, prayerful consciousness; and to gratitude. I've always had a gift for it, but thought poetry too frivolous a knack to employ me fully. It was only when I was in my late thirties that I came to see this talent as God-given, i.e. what I was born to do. Before that, it had seemed almost a vice (for which I stole time from duties, and which I practised with such intense pleasure that I thought it, quite probably, immoral).


Poetry soothes and heals me, as I am constantly overwhelmed and often undone by feelings and perceptions. The images and phrases present themselves. I jot them down as a secretary would dictation, and then delight to tinker until they seem perfect. I never could untangle my religious practice of prayerful consciousness, from the articulations themselves. All I am any good at is poems. I have cried to the silent unmoved, unmoving heart of the void: "o Pivot of all, invisible, inviolable Lord, I am lost. Describe my wayward footsteps, in some figure of your dance; guide my track of agitation, in this cycle of distress. And bless my black unknowing: Christ make sense of this stammered evidence I suffer from, the wound of consciousness".


In poetry I am always talking to 'the Other' with a kind of certainty that I am heard; and reporting on present things, however distressing they be.”


A selecton of Marianne’s haiku and tanka:


springtime on the bayou

a gallinule steps lightly

where crocodiles smile


just these big clear stars

and oil field torches burning

in the Texas night


Basho Festival 2003 (Japan) – selection:

in soft summer dark

resting my oars I glide

on floating stars"


With eyes

shut tight I can see

blood beat

& feel

how the living burn


Red ribbons

& a party dress

but night

in her six-year old

refugee eyes


Full bibliography: