caught on a breeze
and feathers (Ashley)
all round the dining table
the ping of lead shot (Sandra)
falling on baked red clay
a katydid’s song (Willie [bandit])
my bike by the fence
of the parliament building (Keiji)
rolling thunder …
clouds just about to fall
from the eaves (Origa)
an opal pendant
rests on her goosebumps (Lorin)
a mining truck
over bare hills (Rhonda)
his black leather jacket –
supple in my fingers (Geneveive)
at the piano
room for two
on middle C (Ashley)
under her belly
twins curl cheek to cheek (Anne)
a roadside stall…
grilled mouse on a stick
from a hungry child (Barbara)
Happy Meal bags
swan-like in the brook (Joseph)
a puffer fish floats
clamming on the pond
my father’s reflection (Aldia)
the silence of signs –
your eyes say butterfly
riding the ghost train –
haunted by youth (Sandra)
up and over
the chase is on (Barbara)
the hurdles fall
behind her (Anne)
at the top of the stairs
knees giving way
first warm day (Rhonda)
Buddy Holly up loud –
swing dancing out the back (Geneveive)
on comes the comedian
his quiet voice
and red shoes (Rhonda)
a three-legged chair
leans by the kerb (Joseph)
at the drive-in –
her ice cream melting (Geneveive)
tufts of wool still
on the bones (Sandra)
x-ray does not uncover
kissing in a treehouse (Aldia)
the river flows honey
where the sun flashes (Joseph)
out of the car-window
short sleeves at last (Ashley)
scratches up to the elbows
picking grapes (Rhonda)
light of the moon
fills the empty bottle…
chrysanthemum wine (Willie)
the schoolchildren’s rusty bonnets
in the foggy morning (Claire)
the persimmon tree
all my sons (Sandra)
a turtle on the log
crossing the torrent (Origa)
at the ouija board
channeling a sabaki
from the other side (Lorin)
where the spectre was
new saplings sprout (Barbara)
a crimson spider
orchid – rare
in daylight’s net (Anne)
the road home
shares our silence (Graham)
Nice progression-very astute, Sandra.
Sounds like autumn kigo to me…
Hey Ashley, Sandra, Bandit! So nice to see you and your work! Just thinking about the autumn and what might happen while others are dining…
kissed my first boyfriend
in a leaf-pile
Joseph, that’s a great ku! Great to see you here 🙂
Just wanted to let you know, we’re gonna work a lot of the renku out on the Drafts & Discussion page, so I might copy your post over there.
I’ve also been blessed by having Graham Nunn agree to be our leader for this one, I’ve put some details up on the home page too
ps…why are we calling this one a ‘renku’, Ashley?
Hi Lorin! – I decided to go with ‘renku’ because in Keiji’s notes at Cordite, he mentioned that it was a modern word for the process, and I thought it had a nice ring to it, as our abbreaviations at Cordite (‘ku’ for haiku etc) 🙂
Many Americans do use ‘renku’, and helped popularise the term, but I notice that the pattern/template you’re using for this one is Jane Reichhold’s, and she has argued that she prefers to use the term ‘renga’ to ‘renku’. The template you’re using is Jane’s version of an Autumn ‘kasen renga’.
‘ku’, to my knowledge [which isn’t great] means something close to what we mean by a ‘verse’, within a poem in English. I don’t think it’s equivalent to ‘haiku’, though it is sometimes used as an abbreviation. Maybe Keiji will correct me?
Yeah, I think you’re right about the ‘ku’ and I did notice when I copied Jane’s template that she had used the traditional wording. I might go and change the template in the About section to avoid confusion I think
Renku or renga… that’s confusing for most Japanese too. I have to explain the history.
First, renga originated from the waka tradition in the (probably) 13th century. In a renga you can use only words and themes already repeatedly used in traditional waka. It is supposed to dupicate the waka aesthetics. Sogi’s “Minase Sangin” (1488) is the most famous example. Even today some people sometimes write renga in festive occasions.
After a while (or simultaneously), renga writers playfully began to write renga-style verses using various topics from themes from Chinese poetry to daily life of city people. This form became popular and called haikai-no-renga (meaning “mock renga”). What Basho wrote with friends and disciples is this haikai-no-renga, or haikai.
In the end of the 19th century, as you know, the first verse of the haikai bacame completely independent and called haiku. In a similar process haikai came to be called renku. Today people who write Basho-type haikai call their works renku.
In short, renga and renku are formally different genres in Japan. Although I chose the term “renga” for our Cordite renga for its popularity overseas, I prefer the term “renku” to it. So, I’m glad Ashley uses “renku” here. (Historically, “haikai” might be the best name for the form, but it can also includes independent hokku, or the whole culture around haikai-no-renga. A bit confusing.)
Many thanks, Keiji…that helps me a lot! 🙂 Though I’d learnt that what Basho and his friends wrote was called ‘haikai no renga’, and that the [able to ‘stand alone’? ] hokku verse [often the first?] has become what we call haiku, I didn’t really understand the context. Not knowing the Japanese language doesn’t help me! My information is second-hand, and I can’t research the sources.
I know Jane Reichhold likes to call her work from which those templates are drawn ‘Basho-style Kasen Renga’, but had not understood that renga and renku were distinguished from each other, in this day, in Japan.
Learning, learning 🙂
Can ‘mock’ also mean ‘play’…as in playing, a child’s play or a game, eg ? [not the stage performance sort of ‘play’, not theatre]
My dictionaries say that “俳 hai” in “haikai” originally means an actor or player, especially a clown. Japanese use the letter for “俳優 actors.” The letter “諧 kai” means joking or breaking the ice. So, “haikai-no-renga” literally means “historionic playful renga.”
I’m learning here too!
wow! so we’re just a bunch of clowns then ? 😉
thanks for the above, Keiji, it’s nice to have you on board, as there’s so much about the process that I just can’t answer
‘So, “haikai-no-renga” literally means “historionic playful renga.” ‘
🙂 🙂 🙂 Wonderful, Keiji….and ‘clown’, joker or fool [fool in the sense of traditional fools, who were invaluable to kings and therefore licensed to go beyond the courtly manners and say important , overlooked things and make light of pomposity] gives some insight, too, in relation to the older forms of renga you mention.
Hey All! Thanks so much Keiji for your fascinating comments on the history of renga/renku.
Here’s one to possibly follow Rhonda’s:
the whisper of ghosts
through cobwebbed halls
Just letting you know I’ve copied your link over to the ‘drafts and discussions’ section of the blog, where Graham is doing the selecting from our ku 🙂
Thaniks, Ashley! Still learning to navigate.
no probs! will have a go at adding the renku to the drafts page too
Hi everybody, good to see so much enthusiasm for renku. You might find some of the material on my site useful http://email@example.com
and anytime you want to start a second poem I’d be happy to lead for you. It might be interesting to attempt a short sequence as a contrast to the Kasen. John
Hi John! Thank you, that would be great. I’m sure guys in our group would love to work on another renku together, and a shorter one may be fun too!
I’ll add your link to the resources page too, I’ve had a look and it’s very accessible, thank you
My vote for Mr. Carley, wholeheartedly!
What a generous offer!
Wow, you are newly married, Graham. Congratulations.
> Keiji you might be able to share some thoughts on the renku written in Nara, Japan? Or some of your thoughts coming off the verses? (Rhonda)
The renku I refered was led by Mr. Shokan Kondo, a real renku master who speaks superb English (When you want to try a traditional Japanese-style renku, he’s the one you should invite!). It was written in not the “kasen” form but “juhatcho (十八調, 18 verses). The first two ku are:
Uguisu, you too
take lodging here
smell of hot springs (Shokan)
too early for cherry blossoms (Raffael deGruttola)
(Uguisu is a bush warbler.) These are a very traditional beginning, but the renku also refers to wine bottles, chansons, and so on. It playfully ends with:
a cat with one eye open
a proud expression (Enn Hoshino)
It captures a multi-national atmosphere of the group really well and is very fun to read.
Okay, our renku here! I love your “her rose, his tobacco” above, Rhonda. I cannot say which version is better, though… Let me use a suggestion from your “tobacco.”
his black leather jacket –
supple in my fingers (Geneveive)
how you can make
this match burn
Oh, yes please, I would love to partipate with John.
Thanks for the generous offer.
Peace and Love
on guard at all times
looking over her shoulder
the shadows catch up
Hi Keiji, could you briefly describe the Juhatco please. I’m pretty familiar with the Nijuin, Shisan and Junicho but haven’t come across an 18 verse pattern for renku.
The Renku Home site-
makes mention of the half-kasen, though I suspect the
Juhatcho has been formatted to create flow as opposed
to cutting short a kasen.
Hi Willie, yes thank you. I’m familiar with the half-kasen. It is, in my opinion, so deficient that I’d unconsciously discounted it as a serious contender.
Best wishes, John
Dear Keiji Minato–This is Barbara Cantalupo, editor of The Edgar Allan Poe Review. I know this post does not pertain to the discussion, but I tried to old email address I had for you, but it bounced back. A publisher wants to re-print your article from 2004, and I need to discuss the details with you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Barbara Cantalupo
I’ll try contact him too, Barbara 🙂
…click on Keiji’s blog, from his name, here or on ‘haikunauts’. The address on there is valid.
Thank you, Ashley and Lorin!
I sent a message to Ms. Cantalupo.