The Renku Sessions: Junicho – verse #5

renku_300

I’m Sandra Simpson, and I will serve as your guide as we compose a 12-verse junicho (june-ee-cho, as in choke).

Thank you to Betty and Polona for querying the similarity between the hokku and daisan. If there is a fault here – and the ensuing discussion was illuminating for everyone – it belongs to me, not the author of the daisan. Lorin suggested the repetition of “off” (I was clearly having an off day when I chose the verse) could be solved by an edit to the daisan, which I have now done. I believe the edit may also remove a degree of the perceived closeness.

Thank you Sanjuktaa, for your patience and helpful attitude as the discussion has taken place.

Thank you too, to all the poets who contributed offerings for verse #4, there were some really strong contenders, among them:

on a map of the world
you are here

– I shiflett

in a library no one expects
you to be anything but quiet

– joel

behind the photographer
we crane our necks

– Peg Duthie

selfie after selfie
ad nauseum

– Barbara A Taylor

a star without name
leaves the Milky Way

– Vasile Moldovan

closing the atlas
he suspends his journey

– Gabriel Sawcki

Chosen for verse #4 is:

welcome to Gaza
from Banksy and friends

– Betty Shropshire

I have been reading Beyond the Haiku Moment by Dr Haruo Shirane, which reminded me that each two verses in a renku may be read as a pair, and I think verses 3 and 4 manage that.

There has also been mention that I am not as fulsome in my explanations of why a verse has been chosen as the estimable John Stevenson was in the kasen. Partly this is because I am not as erudite as John! But also because I want you to try pushing your minds into the corners of each poem and seeing what you can find.

However, with this verse I will explain some of what I see.

The link is a barrier (the window and the “security barrier” between Gaza and Israel), the planes (see the opening shots of the video) and a loose notion of art media – paper and walls. I have embedded a link to Banksy’s ironic travel video in Betty’s verse, thus making this (possibly) the world’s first multi-media renku!

English street artist Banksy is renowned for his subversive approach to Art (deliberate use of capital letter), preferring to create on street walls using spray paint and stencils. That his work now commands high prices by those who chisel it out (steal it?), is maybe another part of his joke. He had a street vendor in New York sell original works on canvas for $US60 – and filmed it. The stall was authenticated by Banksy a day later and the couple of people who had parted with their cash suddenly owned valuable works of art (1000 times more valuable).

We are in the ha phase of our poem, a set of verses where we can be subversive, so Banksy is a good metaphor for what we are doing – and it’s also the place where we can begin to use proper nouns and introduce “tougher” topics. Banksy’s commentaries on modern life and politics vary from piquant and pithy to sarcastic and stroppy.

The topicality of the verse also appealed – Banksy is in Palestine or has been there this week (as no one knows who he is, his movements are known only when he wants them known), creating wall art to comment on the plight of the “locked in” Palestinians.

If you haven’t already seen it, and you want to know more about Banksy’s work, try and find a copy of the DVD Exit Through the Gift Shop.

What comes next – verse #5 is:

  • A 3-line verse that is not cut
  • A spring verse (verse #6 will be the flower verse)
  • A verse that links to verse 4 but shifts away from verse 3 – in tone, setting, construction, etc
  • A verse that has energy (we are in the ha or “party” phase of jo-ha-kyu) but remember that we are developing the momentum, we are not at the height of the party yet
  • A verse that opens outwards (is open-ended) leaving room for the writer who will follow.
How we play:

Please enter your candidate verses in the Comments section below. All verse positions in this junicho will be degachi, that is competitive, and the final poem will comprise stanzas written by 12 different poets.

Please submit only 3 candidate verses for each position. I will allow a week between each verse selection so you have plenty of time to consider your submissions before making them.

For information about junicho and renku, please refer to the Introduction post.

And, remember, have fun with your writing

An inspiring quote:

While writing, do take the time to reread the renga (renku) and ask yourself: What does this poem need? Lightness? Seriousness? World views? Intimate details? Another mood? Act in the same way you would to make a social evening balanced and interesting

- Jane Reichhold

Please note

I am away from home for the next posting, so shall do my best, but may be a day late – it all depends on the hotel’s wifi!

Our poem so far:

cooling off –
our feet in the river
with the ducks

– Lorin Ford

the distant melody
of an ice-cream truck

– Maria Tomczak

paper planes
by the window
ready for his bag

– Sanjuktaa Asopa

welcome to Gaza
from Banksy and friends

– Betty Shropshire

Survey Says . . . THF Mission Statement

Every September the Board of Directors and Associates of The Haiku Foundation are sent a survey. Their responses help to guide our growth and direction. We’d like to broaden our input, and so we’ll be asking you to respond to a series of questions, one per week, over the next half-year. Your replies will be weighed in our assessment of our performance.

Today’s question: Mission Statement

Our mission statement reads as follows:

The impetus behind The Haiku Foundation was the realization that English-language haiku had done a poor job of promoting itself in two important venues: in gathering, interpreting, honoring and making available its comprehensive history, and in reaching beyond a coterie audience to establish its importance as a literary vehicle in the present and future. As a result, THF has two primary missions:

1) to archive our first century of English-language haiku; and

2) to expand possibilities for our second.

All other haiku groups—from journals to societies to conferences—have been created to help the individual poet realize his or her creative dream, be it education, publication or social contact. The Haiku Foundation does not follow this model. THF instead is a series of projects organized not for poets per se, but for haiku itself. The realization of these projects will in due course help all haiku poets. Haiku has been very good to all the poets who have been fortunate to have found it. The Haiku Foundation is where poets go when they want to give back.

Please assess how well The Haiku Foundation is delivering on this topic. Indicate your assessment of our performance to date by choosing one of the options:

Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

Abandon

Please feel free to add additional comments. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and for helping us make The Haiku Foundation a better resource.

The Renku Sessions: Junicho – verse #4

renku_300

I’m Sandra Simpson, and I will serve as your guide as we compose a 12-verse junicho (june-ee-cho, as in choke).

Thank you to all the poets who contributed offerings for our daisan, or third verse.

A note on composition

This is our first “breakaway” verse and there were some good offerings, but a few problems too:

  • We had verses that “harked back” to the hokku, using feet, foot, toes or an image associated with feet
  • Others veered into the realm of “love”, a topic which has a designated place in our junicho and can’t be used anywhere else
  • Verses that started with a gerund … just like the hokku. A variety of styles in composition is important. If every verse (or every other) started with an -ing the tone of the poem would quickly become dull.

Once a topic is used in a renku, it can’t be used again. Renku isn’t primarily about “ticking off” topics/images but we must be clear on the point that once something is mentioned, it can’t appear again in our 12-verse format – and that includes sub-topics of the topic (toes of the foot, as it were).

Also, the daisan is our first “pushing off” verse, so must shift from the hokku while linking to the wakiku.

The basis of any renku is link & shift, a concept I found particularly difficult to grasp when I began writing renku (so don’t worry if you’re not entirely getting it).

The verse are about to begin composing now is #4. It

  • Must link in some way (it may be intuitive only) to the verse directly preceding it (#3) but …
  • Must shift away from the verse before that (#2).

The dynamic of a renku is in the links between the verses, not the internal dynamics of each verse.

The chosen daisan

Strong contenders for the daisan were:

this month’s magazine
tossed  atop the pile
for later

– Liz Ann Winkler

piano version
of an old hymn
and I know the words

– Ellen Grace Olinger

Gallicism
above her potato salad
seasoned with cigarette ash

– Patrick Sweeney

undecided
about which hat to wear
to the theatre

– Polona Oblak

But I have chosen:

paper planes
by the window
ready for take-off

– Sanjuktaa Asopa

for its sly introduction to the ha phase of our junicho, the part of the poem that will “take off”.

What comes next:

Verse #4, while maintaining our link & shift imperative, is also our first in the ha phase of the poem – the party is beginning to warm up and verse offerings can become a little freer, a little more inventive (but please don’t sacrifice substance for style, it’s a balancing act!).

This verse is:
  • A 2-line verse that is not cut
  • A no-season verse
  • A verse that links to verse 3 but shifts away from verse 2 – in tone, setting, construction, etc
  • A verse that opens outwards (is open-ended) leaving room for the writer who will follow.
How we play:

Please enter your candidate verses in the Comments section below. All verse positions in this junicho will be degachi, that is competitive, and the final poem will comprise stanzas written by 12 different poets.

Please submit only 3 candidate verses for each position. I will allow a week between each verse selection so you have plenty of time to consider your submissions before making them.

For information about junicho and renku, please refer to the Introduction post.

And, remember, have fun with your writing

An inspiring quote:

While writing, do take the time to reread the renga (renku) and ask yourself: What does this poem need? Lightness? Seriousness? World views? Intimate details? Another mood? Act in the same way you would to make a social evening balanced and interesting

- Jane Reichhold

Our poem so far:

cooling off –
our feet in the river
with the ducks

– Lorin Ford

the distant melody
of an ice-cream truck

– Maria Tomczak

paper planes
by the window
ready for take-off

– Sanjuktaa Asopa

Book of the Week: Eyes of the Blossoms

demingcover

Kristen Deming learned haiku from the source–in Japan while her husband Rust was Chargé d’Affaires there in the late 1990s. This small, beautiful booklet was one result of that first contact with the genre, brought about in part through the ministrations of Yatsuko Ishihara, who has had much further influence, in his quiet way, on the development of haiku here.

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library.

Do you have a chapbook published 2009 or earlier you would like featured as a Book of the Week? Contact us for details.

Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Jim Kacian, following a concept first explored by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.




first dream of the year— pulling the bow back strongly the arrow is released
for an instant eyes of the blossoms open fully close again in the wind
torches crackling the cormorant boats set off pushing darkness
fog quenching the red forest
autumn deepening— the voices of insects polish the moon
snowbound on our anniversary— stirring the embers

Per Diem: Daily Haiku from Around the World—March 2015

We’ve featured a new Per Diem on our home page every day since 2012. In 2015, we’re pleased to continue this popular feature in a new layout and a new context.

Each day a new Per Diem poem will appear in the header on every page. And Per Diem is now linked directly to World of Haiku, a new project featuring poems from a different country each month. We’ll start this January and continue until we’ve exhausted the haiku cultures of the world. We hope you’ll enjoy seeing the variety and breadth of haiku as it is practiced around the world, and coming to know poets who share the same love of haiku as you do.

Brazil is the featured country in March 2015. For more information about haiku in this part of the world, see A History of Brazilian Haiku.

Enjoy!