Welcome to The Renku Sessions. Renku is a participatory literary game, following a set of rules that are implemented by the leader of the session. If you would like to learn more about renku go here. And if you would like to see a sample of a complete renku, go here.
I’m John Stevenson, and I will serve as your guide for this session, a thirty-six verse (kasen) renku. I have supplied the opening verse (hokku) and each week I will select an additional verse from among those submitted prior to the Tuesday deadline.
Thirty-three poets offered a total of seventy-three verses for the fourth position in our renku. The level of creativity is inspiring and, in addition to the verse I have selected this time, I would like to commend Scott Mason (astronomer), Kris Moon (bubble-wrap), Sandra Simpson (favourite 78), Paul MacNeil (loan officer), Christopher Patchel (progress bar), Dru Philippou (glossy photograph), and I could easily go on. Everyone’s contributions are truly appreciated.
Our fourth verse comes from Polona Oblak. It represents a different style of linking. While the authoritative word on what is intended rests with the poet, I see this as linking by the hint of interests shared most often by people later in life–gardening and antiques. There is the further linkage of work that requires attention to details while being somewhat repetitive. And the shift provides us with our first reference to a family relationship.
Here is the verse you must link to:
polished every monday
The next verse, the fifth, is an autumn moon verse. Here are the required elements:
- contains a reference to the moon (note that in renku practice any mention of the moon is presumed to refer to an autumn moon unless otherwise specified)
- Written in three lines, without a cut
- Linking with the fourth verse, and only the fourth verse
- Shifting to a new topic and setting
- Maintaining a tone appropriate to the prologue
Add your suggested three-line link below, in the Comments box. You have until midnight EST, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. You may submit as many verses as you like, but please use a new comment box for each one. I will announce my selection for the next link on Thursday, April 3 here on the blog, and provide information and instruction for submitting the next link.
What We’ll Be Looking For — Throughout the Session
There are many schematic outlines for a kasen renku. We will be using one set out by Professor Fukuda in his book Introduction to World-linking Renku. It will not be necessary for you to have a copy of this book since instructions will be offered before each verse is solicited.
It is a good idea for those participating in the composition of a renku to make use of the same list of season words. There are a number of these lists available and I intend no judgment of their relative value. For purposes of this session I am suggesting the use of The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words.
Pilgrims’ Stride to Date
to the mountain shrines—
a sun-warmed stone bridge
of seed trays
in the glasshouse
polished every monday