Hello everyone. I am John Stevenson and I will be guiding you through the composition of a twenty-verse (nijûin) renku.
Angiola Inglese is our selector this week. She has made her selection from 234 offers, by 44 poets. Here is her report:
“I read carefully all the proposals, looking for the verses that were anchored to the maeku in a subtle way and leaving behind everything that has already been written. I preferred the simpler and more concrete proposals, rich in karumi. For each proposal I wrote the motivation that made me choose it. I hope I have done my task sufficiently. I am not very experienced but just eager to learn and participate.
the hidden message
in the handwriting
The mystery of what may be in the mail box, and perhaps a further mystery in a hand-written letter.
rusty “p’s” & “q’s”
in the antique shop
Wendy C. Bialek
Perhaps the creaking mailbox is also rusty.
next door’s dog
While looking for the mail, perhaps seeing the dog as another seeker.
albums prove frowns
Perhaps receiving an old photo and having this realization while putting it into an album.
the shopping list
written with shaky hands
falls on the doormat
An elderly person who is at home, a little uncertain about moving.
a fresh coat
of oil for the
Liz Anne Winkler
Oil for the creaking mailbox and another kind of oil for kitchen use
My choice for the fifth verse is:
of bosc pears
wrapped in cellophane
These bosc pears, also called rust pears, have a scent that releases as it unfolds from the package: the hand touches them delicately, anticipating the contents. The word rust is the obvious link to the maeku, but there is also a deeper link to the content in both verses. And the creak of the mailbox relates to the crinkling sound of the parted cellophane.
John speaking now:
An editor’s note here; I’ve made very slight revisions of Michelle’s verse. I’ve moved the word “wrapped” from the end of line two to the beginning of line three. This promotes the sense that both the scent and the pears themselves are wrapped in cellophane. I have also removed “the” from the first line in order to avoid consecutive verses beginning with this article.
Michelle Beyers will now be offered the opportunity to select our next verse. Please let me know, Michelle, if you would like to do so.
And now we move on to our sixth verse, the first in a pair of love verses. Love verses, in a renku, are about relations between adult human beings. They are not about “love of reading,” “love of gardening” or anything other than adult people. They can be sensual, sexy, sentimental, wry, etc. And one other thing; since we are going to be writing two love verses in a row, the first one should not be about the end or aftermath of a love relationship. Save that possibility for the next verse.
Our sixth verse should:
• consist of two natural, unforced lines
• constitute a single phrase, without a grammatical break
• avoid any seasonal topic
Think of the sixth verse as making a new poem when added to the fifth verse. Repeat nothing from the first four verses. Be especially careful not to draw our attention back to verse one or verse four.
Here is what we have, so far:
A Better Look (working title)
for a better look
the scarecrow’s hat
skims across the pond
finds the farm wife
undoing her braids
of the mailbox
of bosc pears
wrapped in cellophane
Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. Michelle or I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Monday, September 21 (New York time zone). On Thursday, September 24, there will be a new posting containing the selection for our sixth verse and instructions for composition of verse seven.
Looking forward to seeing your offers!
The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/code-of-conduct/