Welcome to our ninth renku session under the sponsorship of The Haiku Foundation. This will be a Jûnichô (twelve verse) renku, under the guidance of John Stevenson.
Last week we invited offers for our hokku, looking for either a spring or an autumn verse. Thirty-two poets responded, with seventy-two verses. A great many of these would have served us very well. Here are a few that received more prolonged consideration:
in a rock pool
swallows dip Carol Jones
A clean image, with the power of simplicity. Either “clear water” or “rock pool” would have offered interesting title possibilities for the renku.
the tulips’ slow bow
to the artists Liz Ann Winkler
A hokku often has the quality of a greeting. This works well in that way.
with an azure flash Lorin Ford
I had to look up this bird and was rewarded for the effort. A very bright beginning and, again, many good options for titles.
filling the demijohn
with sloes Sara Winteridge
Another clean, simple image. I don’t know whether “demijohn” was intended as a play on your humble sabaki’s name but, if so, it is very much in the spirit of renku that I, personally, enjoy.
of baby birds
dawn chorus Pauline O’Carolan
Love the first two lines of this one!
garlic in bloom—
from the seaside bars
smell of paint Angiola Inglese
Very strong sensory images. I would have attempted a revision in order to avoided the multiple cuts (after both lines one and two). A single cut in the hokku and no cuts within the subsequent verses will be a preoccupation of mine during this session.
the jingle of spare change
in the scarecrow’s pocket Marion Clarke
Fun, whimsical and a little mysterious.
a sugary sheath
early peony Marietta McGregor
The first lines really grab my attention!
a hay bale toss Chris Patchel
Just the sort of humor I appreciate in renku. A competitive spirit can be useful in collaborative writing but it can also spoil the fun if we are too serious about it. I would like to see us strive to win something on the order of a hay bale toss at the county fair.
So, the above is just a small sample of what we might have begun with. There were many other worthy offers.
scent of new growth
in the trees
- Shane Pruett
Although this verse does not contain a widely recognized kigo (season word), I take it as clearly a springtime image. The scent of it is very clear to me and I suspect that, even if the scent is different for those in other parts of the world, it is clear in some way to others if they live in an area with stands of deciduous trees.
The consciousness of new growth and the idea of taking it in by breathing accomplishes the hokku’s task of greeting us at the threshold of a shared experience.
And the idea of breathing in and breathing out sets the tone for how I hope we will be pairing verses as we go along – naturally. Sometimes, we will be taking very deep breathes and sometimes shallow ones. And our exhalations will be the natural consequences and “in kind.”
Finally, I appreciate the idea that both the scent and the new growth are “in the trees.” The scent, of course, is both in (or “from” or “among”) the trees but also in ourselves because we know that different creatures have different degrees of acuity and character in their senses, particularly in their sense of smell. It’s fun to apply the same considerations to the idea of “new growth.”
REQUIREMENTS FOR OUR NEXT VERSE
- A springtime verse
- Two lines
- Closely linking with the scene presented in the hokku
- Perhaps a blossom image
In addition to the idea of respiration as an image for linking and shifting verses, I would like to present two other ideas. One is that the linking verse can be thought of as the second part of a tan renga. From here on, we will not be writing verses that are complete poems in themselves but will become complete poems when added to the preceding verse.
And, finally, a quote from Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton University Press, 1979); “Being moved, responding; being moved, responding—so the process builds…”
Please use the “Leave a Reply” box, below, to submit your verse two offers. I will be reviewing them until the submission deadline of midnight, New York time, on Monday, September 10. My selection and commentary, together with an invitation for the third verse will appear here on Thursday, September 13.
I look forward to seeing your offers for the second verse!