Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.
Our Renku So Far:
With 75 posts and about 50 offers, the daisan thread was busy indeed. Thank you everyone who contributed offerings. It’s inspiring working with all of you. Thanks also to Karen and Paul for the discussion of cut in response to Betty’s question, and the excerpt of yet another useful John E. Carley quote. And additional thanks to Lorin, Betty and Paul for the exchange on Lorin’s old tiger verse. Yes, “tiger” in itself is non-seasonal. So is “camel”, as you’ll see Richard Gilbert’s “muki saijiki” (list of non-seasonal topics, which has been republished here at THF). Of all the other saijiki and regional season lists I surveyed, only Jane Reichhold includes circus in her “summer occasions” list, while on the other hand I know of a famous trained tiger act whose venue was Las Vegas rather than a Big Top. Still, I guess I agree that circus sets it as a summer verse even if the mood isn’t.
Other seasonal associations slipped into the offers—camping, sailing, windsurfing, “sweet grass”, and I think probably also “evening hush” in the goat girl verse. Since these were all lovely verses I thought long and hard about them and whether I should admit to the possibility of a third summer verse, as we would have for the daisan were this a longer renku such as a kasen. In truth, there’s an amount of flexibility in the template—it’s a guide, not a straightjacket—but to admit a third minor season verse here would unbalance the season distribution, so we’ll stick with plan.
This brings another pearl of JEC wisdom to mind:
“[Renku] is all about artistic judgement – the lack of which forces the gatekeepers to fall back on ‘rules. And as any rule lover knows: the arbitrary ones are the best.”
Rules that seem arbitrary are the bane of newcomers to renku. As an art teacher I tend to be of the “know the rules then break’em” persuasion, but I do want first to understand the rationale behind them. In the calls for verses I’ve simplified, minimize the “dont’s”, and relied on artistic judgment to shape the renku. The consequence was a number of lovely offerings that might better be for the ha or kyu sides. I’ll plan to talk later about some of the issues that have come up, including more on how season works, linking, and the dynamics of jo-ha-kyu in the shaping of the renku.
Meanwhile, I know that what you’re really waiting for is our daisan. It will be
to applaud a subway
A quick check: Karen’s verse has three lines. It’s uncut, non-seasonal (how effective it is use a subway tunnel to accomplish this!), and it is a person verse. But what’s ultimately important is how it links. Here again are our first two verses, with the hokku giving us a formal table setting while the wakiku pulls back to show that the occasion is outdoors—a tent in the breeze.
a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
The daisan’s job was to link to the wakiku (its preceding verse, or maeku), eschew any repetition with the hokku (its uchikoshi) and turn the renku in a new direction. Does it do this? Here now is the waki/daisan pairing. Position yourself in that double space between them and imagine. Now we’re in an urban setting. The tent may be a homeless person’s shelter or covering for an open manhole—though each of us experience it differently, I read the breeze as that blast of air from a passing train, followed by a melodious flow of music from the tunnel.
under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
to applaud a subway
Pretty neat, huh? It’s the openness Karen created in that double space that allows this to happen.
Now, for verse 4:
The requirements for this verse are pretty straightforward:
- Two lines
- A person verse (either another third person or first person)
- Your maeku is the subway saxophonist, your uchikoshi is the canvas tent in a breeze. Link to the maeku while avoiding any repetition of imagery in the uchikoshi that would send the renku backwards (anything in the hokku is also off-limits but we’ll be talking about that in a future post).
How to Submit:
All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant. Calls for submissions will remain open for one week, at the end of which I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each and choose the one that best serves the renku.
The call for verse 4 will remain open until Monday, July 20, 2015 at midnight (EDT).
- If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my introductory post.
- For a discussion of the hokku, wakiku and daisan in renku, see John Carley, “Renku: Beginnings and Endings” in Simply Haiku 2.1, January-February 2004).
- For linking and shifting, two very useful online resources are
- This renku will follow a schema by Norman Darlington. The layout for a Summer Triparshva may be found by reading down the second column from the right.
- If you don’t already have a favorite saijiki (season word list), here are a few of my favorites that are readily available online:
- Kenkichi Yamamoto, “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words,” tr. Kris Kondo and William J. Higginson, online at Renku Home (2000, updated 2005).
- ” The Yuki Teikei Season Word List”, online at Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 1997.
- World Kigo Database, ed. Gabi Greve, also includes links to a number of regional kigo lists and saijiki.
***New and highly recommended***
- John E. Carley, Renku Reckoner, ed. Norman Darlington and Moira Richards (2013, print ed. Lulu 2015), sample pages are online through Google Books, including part of what John had to say about triparshva.