HFA Junicho

A space for the Haiku Festival Aotearoa group to finish a Junicho led by Sandra Simpson

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156 Responses to HFA Junicho

  1. sandra says:

    Hello,

    The group that begins writing a junicho as a workshop exercise on June 17 at the Haiku Festival Aotearoa will finish the poem here. I shall be posting the hokku shortly.

    The team comprises (in alphabetical order): Dy Andreasen, Margaret Beverland, Nola Borrell, Kirsten Cliff, Moira Cursey, Vanessa Proctor and Cynthia Rowe, with Sandra Simpson as sabaki.

    As this is a workshop piece, we won’t be looking for guest contributors, but comments on the work as it progresses are welcome.

  2. Just popping in to say “hello!” and to let you know I’ve found the group. 🙂
    Thank you, Sandra, for the most fun and difficult and competitive workshop of HFA for me, and for choosing my haiku as the hokku for our junicho. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.
    See you all in cyber-space soon!

  3. eiko yachimoto says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Long time no see! Your advice right after March 11 earthquake has been with me on my dresser mirror all this time.

    I also remember our koyomi sesson fondly and will visit here to enjoy your sabakiship!

    Kia Kaha,
    eiko yachimoto

    ps. Ashley, I have found a kasen composed in 1946 by Hakusen (your favorite haijin), Seiai & Toshio Mitsuhashi (IMHO, the most brilliant tanka poet)

    • sandra says:

      Hello Eiko,

      Nice to hear from you – you’re right, it has been a long time! To help prepare myself to lead the workshop I read your comments on a junicho that appeared in the JRR. It was very helpful and I quoted you in my notes!

      With all best wishes,
      Sandra

    • ashleycapes says:

      Outstading! I’d love to see it, any chance of a translation, eiko?

  4. sandra says:

    Welcome HFA junicho team!

    Over the course of the next week we will start to pick up the threads – some of our Australian participants are staying on in Aotearoa for a little while so we won’t begin again immediately.

    However, I will post what we achieved in the workshop as it won’t hurt to study our poem so far and think about where we might go next.

    It was my first experience of writing “face to face” in a group – and what fun it was! Imagine us all with a few glasses of sake under our belt … uproar!!

    Our writing team on the day also included (in alphabetical order):

    Maureen Gorman, Jim Kacian and Patricia Prime.

    I will put our poem in a new posting below. Please feel free to print it out.

  5. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

  6. ashleycapes says:

    Hi Sandra and team, looks great already!

  7. eiko yachimoto says:

    Hi, Sandra, wow, a line of delicious verses! Crisp fresh images! HOW nice you have
    led a live renku session and is going to complete it live here ! I now understood the setting;–)
    Hi, Ashley, Yes is my answer one of these days; Except they seem to have ignored a few
    “important rules”;–)
    Well after the war the more important must have been to express life , to savor the presence of each other, to breathe in the same air! and the arrival of peace;–)
    eiko

  8. sandra says:

    Hello HFA junicho gang – time to pick up the pieces and finish this beauty.

    Here is what I’m looking for in the next verse position:

    1: We are in the ‘ha’ phase so we can crank up the volume on our versifying.

    2: This is a 2-line ku

    3: This is the first of a pair of spring verses (no flowers or blossoms, please as we have used the flower verse as our hokku).

    4: You are linking to Jim’s verse:

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    5: Please present up to 3 ku each.

    Okay, I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation!

    Nola, I have a PS for you – I will try and use your ‘Arab uprising’ verse in position #7 or, if you care to rewrite it a little to make it a complete 2-line ku, you could submit it here … it will need rewriting a little in any event so up to you. (winterlight/we talk/of the Arab uprising)

  9. Hello Sandra
    Ready to give this a go again, now we are past the ‘romantic love’ stage. The tattoo reference means I can get down rough and dirty. Grr – I will start to think on it.

    Margaret

  10. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Hi Sandra and the HFA junicho team,
    I’m now back in Aus and have access to a computer. I really enjoyed writing with you at HFA. Looking forward to seeing where all the twists and turns take us,
    Best wishes,
    Vanessa

  11. sandra says:

    I’m replying on behalf of Cynthia who has struck a technical issue – she’s here, truly!

  12. fla42 says:

    Hi, renga poets. Glad to be back with you all, although I’ll be away in Wellington for a week next Wednesday and may not be able to keep up with the momentum!

  13. fla42 says:

    Here are my 3 ku:

    short-grassed paddocks on the hills
    studded with limestone outcrops

    flashes of a kingfisher’s wing
    as it darts across the river

    seedlings unfold their leaves
    in my neighbour’s garden patch

    Pat

  14. Here’s my three:

    muddy gumboots
    outside the bank

    splitting wood
    for the last fire

    a shift of light
    on the mountainside

    Look forward to reading the others and seeing where we end up! 🙂

  15. Moira Cursey says:

    Hi Sandra I am following the site but pass at this stage.

  16. Vanessa Proctor says:

    An offer from me:

    painting the new leaf buds
    en plein air

    Vanessa

  17. njkb says:

    Greetings All. This is a mite unnerving: Such publicity at first efforts. Nola

    distant rumbling
    of an avalanche

    tumbling to the ground
    a thrush’s nest

    early thaw
    a dead lamb

  18. sandra says:

    I’ll wait a mite longer to hear from Dy and Margaret.
    Jim and Maureen are still in NZ, heard from them yesterday – snowed in, thanks to the storms the South Island has been having!

  19. sandra says:

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    Here is my shortlist – I’ll settle on a choice tomorrow, give Dy and Margaret a chance to submit something.

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    – cynthia

    The change from “lunchbox” is to stop us back-linking to the children at the zoo. My first thought was “crash/bike helmet” but that would mean 2 head coverings for “she/her” very close together. By removing the personal pronoun we’re getting the sort of complete shift we need. “vinyl” could stay or go.

    new-grassed hill paddocks
    studded with limestone

    – Pat

    I think “short-grassed” could easily be read as autumn; the shortening of the lines makes it a punchier ku, something that we/I like in this section. I also like your “seedlings” ku.

    tumbling to the ground
    this thrush’s nest

    – Nola

    a line of muddy gumboots
    outside the ANZ bank

    – Kirsten

    I’ve added some length to this one, it felt just a little too brief for a 2-line ku. The “ANZ” reflects our writing group! (But it could equally be the name of any bank.)

    Verse choice and details of the next position in the morning!

  20. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

  21. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    Cynthia this verse is, of course, reliant on your approving the changes. If you don’t like it, that’s absolutely fine and I will go with another ku.

    I like the ballsy-ness of the magpie image, perfect for the ha section. And we probably all know what they’re like at nesting time, absolute demons.

    Nola, I think the briefcase also sets up nicely for your Arab uprising ku – so (given Cynthia’s permission on the rewrite) we won’t be competitive for the next position. Nola will rewrite her ku to slot in here, the second of our pair of spring verses.

    We’re going well, thanks team!

  22. CynthiaRowe says:

    Hi Sandra,
    Yes, I approve of the changes. Go with the vinyl briefcase, definitely gutsier than her lunchbox. You have my permission!

  23. OOps. Looks like I missed out. I thought I had sent three but something went wrong.

    One offering from three

    spring race meeting
    hands to hats

  24. Ah, now I see, headgear is out as there is already a veil and hair. Interesting.

  25. njkb says:

    Cairo cafe
    wrangling over
    the Arab uprising

    Or, L2:
    Though, a double link: wrangle over/ warding off; briefcase/ lawyer. How much is too much?

  26. njkb says:

    Alternative L2 (which has been ‘blipped’):
    Nola

  27. sandra says:

    Hello Nola,

    Thanks for the offerings. My main concern is the implied cut at the end of L1, just because you haven’t used an em dash doesn’t mean there’s not one there! 🙂

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    http://en.egypt.travel/attraction/index/fishawis-cafe

    as we wrangle
    over the Arab uprising,
    the first swallows

    (or some migratory species)

    Look forward to your thoughts ….

  28. njkb says:

    I like both versions.
    is vivid. balances wrangling, uprising.
    is very powerful. The Book of the Dead tells the deceased how to transform into a swallow. http://www.egyptianmyths.net/swallow.htm

  29. sandra says:

    Hello all,

    Let’s go with v1 of this ku (avoiding a second reference to a bird, doh, the hayfever tablets haven’t kicked in yet, obviously), so our poem to date appears thus:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

  30. sandra says:

    Hello again,

    In case you’re wondering, this is one of those “scent” links that rely on the “vibe” between the ku.

    In light of Pat’s time commitments, I would like to ask her to take the next verse position – 2 lines, non-season and, what with our attacking magpies and wrangling tea-drinkers, it would be nice to have a quieter verse here, to both throw those action-packed ku into relief but also to give our readers a breather … But this is still our ha phase so wry/ironic could work well too.

    We haven’t yet had a ku that asks a question so maybe that might be the form of this next one (just thinking out loud, Pat, not a directive).

    Good luck!

  31. fla42 says:

    I’m feeling very ‘under the weather’ at the moment so hope one of the following meets the requirements!

    “Who are you?” the yellow duck
    asks the three year old in the bath

    pulled from behind a child’s ear
    the coin was grandpa’s joke

    she wears a tight bustier –
    pink, of course, soft; a girl’s

    • sandra says:

      Good fun, Pat, thanks. I am a bit concerned with the mention of another bird so close to the magpie (but love the bath-time idea).

      Would something like this work?

      eavesdropping on bath-time
      with the plastic pirate

      Or feel free to offer a couple of your own versions …

  32. fla42 says:

    Hi Sandra, your version is fine with me. I’ll catch up again on my return from Wellington.

    Pat

    • sandra says:

      I’d like to tweak it a bit more … I think this is closer to your original (and so probably better) while avoiding another reference to a child:

      “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
      seems to ask at bath-time

      Anyway, I will ask everyone to offer editing suggestions when the poem is finished so we can tidy up any bits and pieces then.

  33. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    pat

  34. sandra says:

    Thanks to Pat for her contribution and on to the next verse …

    This will be the last in our ha section.

    It is a 3-line ku with a summer theme (remember, it’s better not to name the season if at all possible). We haven’t had a water verse yet so this may be the ideal time to bring in the sea/river/lake/hose

    We will be competitive for this position so it would be great to hear from as many of the team as possible.

    • Here are my three ku in the battle for this next position! 😉

      sizing up
      these new white walls
      red dragonfly & I

      the movement
      of this shadow
      on the drying puddle

      from my sitting stone
      only just, this chestnut
      horse’s hindquarters

      Happy reading!
      Kirsten x

  35. sandra says:

    And when it comes to tidying things up, we may have to look at “hot drink” in the wakiku and “mint tea” in Nola’s verse … but they may also be far enough apart that it doesn’t matter. After all, one is clearly referring to a Vitamin C-type drink as a cure, while the other is referring to a specific type of tea.

    Something to ponder as we progress.

  36. sandra says:

    kicking along the tideline
    at twilight, making bubbles
    from the ocean

    another beautiful day
    says the weathergirl
    smiling her sunniest smile

    swimming off the point,
    the warmth
    of the shallows

  37. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Here are some offers from me:

    skinnydipping
    our toes touch
    river sand

    evening calm
    and above the orchard
    flying foxes

    sunshine
    brightens everything
    in the mirror

    Cheers,
    Vanessa

  38. Hi Sandra,
    I’ve realised that my ‘red dragonfly’ will probably not work as we had the butterflies only a few verses ago. Would it be OK to bring a flower ku in now, or are we staying away completely from flowers?
    Thanks!

    • sandra says:

      Hello Kirsten,

      We’ve had our flower verse, which was the hokku. Not a traditional place to put it, but that’s what we did! There is only one flower/blossom verse per junicho.

      There is also only one moon verse per sequence so, to balance out the audacity of having a flower verse in winter and as the hokku, I am keeping that for its more traditional slot of autumn.

      I don’t think the dragonfly is a problem as the butterflies were embroidered! 🙂 And there has been a great deal go on in the intervening verses.

      Thanks for the questions …

  39. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    Dy is taking a pass on this position, but promises to be back for the next. And Moira appears to be on holiday.

  40. CynthiaRowe says:

    Hi all,

    My offering as follows:

    feeding
    the koi at the lakefront
    café

    recorder notes
    rousing the bats
    from their roosts

    watching
    the mother whale pass
    beneath the boat

    Cheers,
    Cynthia

  41. njkb says:

    What happy entries above. Are we supposed to be scaling down the ‘ha’?

    thunderstorm
    the apples
    a deeper red

    hot evening
    a wild pig splashes
    into roadside bush

    studying
    her own face
    the grandmother

    Doesn’t count as water?
    Hope the above comes through uncensored. Nola

  42. njkb says:

    Hh! Re above: Doesn’t BATH-TIME count as water?

    • sandra says:

      In the same way as “hot drink” and “mint tea” count as water, I guess.

      I was hoping for a “body of water”-type ku as we haven’t had sea/ocean/lake/river make an appearance. No problem if people don’t want to write those sort of ku, just a suggestion.

      As to scaling down the ha, the ideal is to pass the baton cleanly to the next author …

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Lakefront is water! Presumably the whale is swimming in water!?

        Cheers,
        Cynthia

  43. I will be interested to read the reply to Nola’s question.
    Now I make an offering”

    bobbing umbrellas
    the uneven patter
    of rain

    drifting
    swan
    feather

    Christmas Day
    the breeze plays with
    the pink-tailed kite

  44. sandra says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    I got that yours had water in them, not the only ones either. 🙂

  45. sandra says:

    I was about to set up a shortlist, but what has been bothering about almost all the offerings is that poets have ignored the fact that this is first and foremost a summer verse.

    Summer kigo have been missing from almost all the candidate verses. If you want to check a list, the one at the Yukei Teikei site is easy to use and not overwhelming:
    http://youngleaves.org/season-word-list/

    To illustrate how tricky things get, I’ll use 2 of Nola’s candidates (illustration No 1):

    Apples, you will see from that season word list, need to be unripe to qualify as a “summer” word – so as much as I love your apple verse Nola (and I think it’s gorgeous) it’s not a summer ku. Your “pig” verse is, thanks to the word “hot” – however, we’ve had “hot” in v2.

    Obviously, commonsense comes into play too so if we know that, for instance, red apples are ripe in summer in NZ/Aus then we could accept it.

    As another example, (Cynthia = illustration No 2), I have just checked the migratory patterns of whales off the coast of Australia and a very erudite website tells me that “summer is typically spent in the freezing cold waters of Antarctica” so “whale” isn’t an indicator of summer, unless the verse specifies you are actually in Antarctica.

    Margaret, I’m so pleased you used “Christmas Day” as a summer kigo. Our point of difference. However, (illustration No 3) your umbrella ku is most likely an autumn/winter/spring ku, anything but summer! 🙂

    Please don’t feel like I’m having a go at you – there’s a lot to remember when writing one of these slippery things but the best way of learning is to do. So, let’s all submit one more candidate verse that would be suitable to fill the “summer” position and see where that takes us … (and we haven’t used many senses, apart from touch – smell, sound, anyone?)

  46. CynthiaRowe says:

    No, Sandra, I wasn’t in Antactica – a few kilometers north of the icecaps!

    Another offering

    on the beach
    surfers at the ice cream van
    smell of zinc cream

    Cheers,
    Cynthia

  47. sandra says:

    Uncle Murray,
    clearly blind in one eye,
    doesn’t give the out

  48. crowded beach
    losing my son
    for a moment

    There is my one, Sandra.

  49. Summer ku, take two:

    in a dream
    the ocean scent
    of her sundress

  50. Vanessa Proctor says:

    I hope you’re feeling better now, Sandra. More summer from me:

    At the waterpark
    Grandma tackles
    The steepest slide

    Please ignore the caps. I can’t seem to undo them on the iPad.

    Sandra, the direct speech in your weather girl verse could be implied if you altered it a little:

    Another beautiful day
    And the weather girl
    Smiles her sunniest smile

    Just a thought,
    Cheers,
    Vanessa

  51. sandra says:

    Thanks everyone for your quick responses and great summer ku. Here is a shortlist:

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    skinnydipping
    our toes touch
    river sand

    – vanessa

    Christmas Day
    the breeze plays with
    the pink-tailed kite

    – margaret

    crowded beach
    losing my son
    for a moment

    – margaret

    the line
    at the ice-cream van
    smelling of zinc

    – cynthia

    in a dream
    the ocean scent
    of her sundress

    – kirsten

    Uncle Murray,
    blind in one eye,
    doesn’t give the out

    – sandra

    I’ll mull and get back to you.

  52. sandra says:

    Well, that was a quick mull!

    The more I thought about Margaret’s “lost son” verse the more I liked it – it subverts the “summery” image that may have done well here by introducing that “moment” (which feels like 10 moments, at least) when one loses sight of one’s child, the drop of ice that enters one’s system.

    The “crowded beach” scenario also gives space for us to see the panicked mother scanning the sand or the water (which leads to other sorts of predators/pirates).

    We’ve had “mother tattoo” earlier so this ku dove-tails nicely with that while avoiding repetition. The subtlety of this ku is outstanding. Thank you.

    I have altered it slightly so will wait for Margaret’s approval.

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    – margaret

  53. sandra says:

    Here’s our verse so far (reliant on Margaret’s okay):

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    pat

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    margaret

  54. sandra says:

    As we wait for Margaret to confirm her verse, we can start pondering the next position:

    2 lines
    non-season (the last of our non-season verses)
    link to the previous verse, shift from the one before that

    We are now in the closing phase of the poem (only 3 verses left!) – the kyu section which is where the party has mellowed out and people are starting to take their leave and drift off into the night. So quieter verses than we’ve been having.

  55. Sandra
    I am delighted. My verse confirmed. Just as well that moment at Piha all those years ago flashed through my mind.

    Margaret

  56. sandra says:

    Great, thanks Margaret …

    Let’s be having those offers for verse No 10, please.

  57. njkb says:

    dinner party story
    holding her breath

    the pause
    before answering the phone

    totara stumps
    in the graveyard

    Hmm. Probably too much ha in . Nola

  58. njkb says:

    I’ll try again: Probably too much ha in ‘totara stumps’.

  59. sandra says:

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    choosing wallpaper
    to suit the panic button

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    wafting down the street
    a smell of fish and chips

  60. CynthiaRowe says:

    basil and mint ranged
    in pots on the balcony

    training over the sensei
    hangs up his black belt

    the calming smell
    of crushed ti-tree leaves

    could leave out black before belt, if too much ha
    — Cynthia

  61. again, reading the manual
    for this ipod

    shopping for groceries
    in her bare feet & pj’s

    using the antique inkwell
    as a paperweight

  62. Vanessa Proctor says:

    dozing over the crossword
    on the 4.49 to Central

  63. I will pass on this one.
    Margaret

  64. sandra says:

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears
    – sandra

    It was always going to be hard to choose one of my own verses (which is why I haven’t contested many positions) but I am going to do that here … with a small rewrite.

  65. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    pat

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    margaret

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    sandra

    The next position, the penultimate verse, is:

    3 lines
    autumn + moon !!

    This must not be a people verse (we’ve had 3 in a row, plus one implied, that’s enough). It may be inside or out.

  66. fla42 says:

    Hi everyone! I’m back from Wellywood and have had a chuckle at the way the junicho has progressed. Here are my thoughts on autumn/moon:

    a beam
    and into the dark room
    the autumn moon

    autumn leaves
    outside the back door
    gardening boots

    in the night market
    the bright moonlight
    unnoticed

  67. sandra says:

    Just a note to those posting verses … in the Japanese tradition “full moon” is a kigo for autumn.

    Of course, we are writing in another tradition so it will be a fine line that we tread on this one.

    Good luck!

  68. sandra says:

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    deep
    in the old macrocarpa
    a full moon

    left out
    in the moonlight
    pumpkins

    tonight’s moon
    the colour
    of corn stalks

  69. fla42 says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Here’s a replacement for my second verse:

    autumn moon
    the only shadow
    a near empty bus

    Pat

  70. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Hi everyone,
    Two offers from me:

    beside the road
    the abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    the harvest moon
    shimmering
    in a rain puddle

    Cheers,
    Vanessa

  71. CynthiaRowe says:

    Hi everyone,

    A couple from me

    day moon
    the ladybird
    flies away

    in moonlight
    the baby’s tears meld
    with heaped leaves

    Cheers,
    Cynthia

    • sandra says:

      Hello Cynthia,

      I’m going to question “ladybird” as an autumn indicator – the World Kigo Database lists it as “summer”. I’m happy to hear your argument/personal observation in favour of it, though. We’re not tied to a northern hemisphere list.

      And you might like to rewrite/submit a new verse 2 as we can’t have “tears” in consecutive ku. (Which is one reason why I always post my candidates with the two preceding verses at the top, it helps keep me focused on what has already been.)

      Thanks,
      Sandra

  72. CynthiaRowe says:

    Ladybirds live all year round, swarm in autumn and fly around looking for somewhere to hibernate, hence it flying away.

    Baby’s tears are a plant with small leaves, a bit like moss, that grows in rock gardens. I never thought of the plant as ‘crying’ tears! But you are right, the word gives that impression and probably not wise to have it so close.

    Cheers,
    Cynthia

  73. CynthiaRowe says:

    Another one

    weekender
    tattered swags sway
    the moon

  74. crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    in the moonlight
    three pūkeko drinking
    from a cow trough

  75. njkb says:

    moonlight
    on the rewarewa
    a silvereye

    full moon
    the tip of each grass blade
    a prism

    Nola

  76. sandra says:

    A shortlist to sleep on!

    a beam
    and into the dark room
    the autumn moon

    – Pat

    tonight’s moon
    the colour
    of corn stalks

    – Sandra

    beside the road
    the abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    – Vanessa

    day moon
    the ladybird
    flies away

    – Cynthia

    in the moonlight
    three pūkeko drinking
    from a cow trough

    – Kirsten

    full moon
    the tip of each grass blade
    a prism

    – Nola

    Nice work everyone, these are great ku … and with many possibilities as we move into the final verse.

  77. sandra says:

    On waking this morning, I realised it came down to 2 verses:

    beside the road
    the abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    This is very filmic without being overly dramatic. A good example of the way renku verses differ from haiku. “backlit” is very clever.

    full moon
    the tip of each grass blade
    a prism

    And this is another verse that while it may not be viewed as a haiku is a good renku verse, plus it has a subtle link to its preceding verse.

    Would either of them benefit from an edit? The editing that’s done in a renku is not to annoy the verse’s author but to strengthen the overall poem and, often, to enhance the links.

    With verse #1, I would suggest removing the third “the” and maybe this:

    amidst corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    With verse #2 I pause over the end of L1. Is there a cut there? Does this help ease the transition between L1 & 2?

    full moon …
    the tip of each grass blade
    a prism

    tonight’s moon …
    the tip of each grass blade
    a prism

    I think it does – and it also slows the reader down which this verse wants/needs the reader to do. It is a very calm verse and yet it has great depth.

    I will choose Vanessa’s verse here, if she is okay with the “corn stubble” rewrite. I feel our long autumn verse should be firmly grounded in the season, giving the ageku a little more flexibility.

    In the kyu section the links are fairly straightforward and this fits that requirement nicely.

  78. sandra says:

    As we wait to hear from Vanessa, please get ready to contest the other “most honoured” spot in the poem, the ageku, the last verse.

    It is 2 lines long
    It is an autumn verse
    It sums up the mood/tone of the poem in some way, or alludes to our writing experience – and is poetry. Nothing too difficult then!

  79. njkb says:

    Thanks for your forwarding comments, Sandra. …. One small point re Vanessa’s verse: I wondered if rather than dated/poetic would be better. Means the same. Unless you want that repeated sound. Vanessa? Sandra? Nola.

  80. njkb says:

    Aw,gosh. I suggested ‘amid’ rather than ‘amidst’. N.

  81. sandra says:

    The repeating “st” sound was where I was going with that, Nola. But I take your point about it being dated. Be interested to see what Vanessa thinks … I could be wrong about all of it!

  82. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Hi there! Sorry about the delay. First day back at school for Tristan today. Thanks for the suggestion, Sandra. I’m happy to go with ‘corn stubble’ and ‘amid’. Just to explain, though, I was thinking of the road from the movies going into the countryside and seeing the abandoned farmhouse (autumn sensibility). But ‘abandoned’ in itself is a strong enough link with the tears of the movies and ‘corn stubble’ definitely makes the verse more interesting.

    Good luck everyone with the ageku. The renku’s looking great,
    Cheers,
    Vanessa

  83. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    pat

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    margaret

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    sandra

    amid corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    vanessa

  84. sandra says:

    Happy birthday to Margaret!

  85. CynthiaRowe says:

    Happy birthday, Margaret!

    My ageku offering

    discovering the gold ring
    buried in fallen leaves

    mushroom gathering
    the woven basket overflows

    harvested field
    making new clothes for the scarecrow

    The renku is looking wonderful!

    Cheers,
    Cynthia

  86. The hardest of all! Here’s my responses for the ageku:

    the sound of laugher
    wind through the reeds

    pockets full of fallen leaves
    the sky a little closer

    fog lifts from the mountain
    the valley’s depth revealed

    Phew! Look forward to seeing how it all comes together. 🙂

  87. njkb says:

    liftoff
    the godwits fly

    (Second bird allowed?)

    crackling underfoot
    gingko leaves

    on every path
    coloured leaves

  88. fla42 says:

    Hi Everyone, the renku is look good. Here are my 3 ageku:

    autumn wind on the roof
    the smell of bonfires

    auutmn shadows retreat
    across the ploughed field

    the empty birdbath
    full of yellow and red leaves

  89. sandra says:

    Thanks everyone – Margaret is unable to join us for this one. Hard to choose just one ku from each poet, well done!

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    amid corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    mushroom gathering
    the woven basket overflows

    – cynthia

    fog lifts from the mountain
    the valley’s depth revealed

    – kirsten

    on every path
    coloured leaves

    – nola

    the empty birdbath
    full of yellow and red leaves

    – pat

  90. sandra says:

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for a hot drink

    margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cynthia

    mint tea at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    nola

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    pat

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    margaret

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    sandra

    amid corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    vanessa

    on every path
    coloured leaves

    nola

  91. sandra says:

    Congratulations Nola on a fine verse, a perfect ageku for our exploration of the “paths” of this junicho. Its apparent simplicity is a good counterpoint to the very strong imagery in the preceding verse and yet it also opens the poem out, rather than pinching it off.

    And there we have it!

    Sort of.

    The next (and final) step in the process is to review our poem in its entirety and suggest changes – these may be for reasons of linking/shifting; to clear up ambiguity in word or punctuation; to enhance the work’s liveliness … etc. No one is going to be offended by suggestions to changes to individual verses so, please, go ahead, read the junicho through and we’ll work together to make this the best darn junicho that it can be. 🙂

  92. sandra says:

    Cold Sun

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    squeezing an orange
    for today’s hot drink

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    butterflies embroidered
    on my grandmother’s veil

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    going online at Starbuck’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    “Who are you?” the plastic pirate
    seems to ask at bath-time

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my daughter

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    amidst corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    on every path
    coloured leaves

    I have made changes to verses 2, 4, 7, 9. See what you think. Nothing is written in stone, just suggested.

    Vanessa, Pat, Eiko, Ashley – anyone who has been following this thread – I would very much like you to comment on “Cold Sun”. Is the tone varied enough, do you think?

    We have “vinyl” in verse 6 and “plastic” in verse 8 … ??

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      I have always had a problem with ‘squeezing an orange for a [today’s] hot drink’ – so illogical. Why would you destroy the Vitamin C in the drink – the whole point of orange juice? Then again, I don’t suppose a poem has to make sense …??
      Cheers,
      Cynthia

      • sandra says:

        Don’t you squeeze lemons for a hot drink when you have a cold? I do. Lemon juice, hot water, honey (and if I’m especially poorly, a dash of whisky). Very comforting.

      • Yes, I’d also been confused about the orange. I’d say change to lemon – it’s still round (think of a slice) and that pale yellow is what I was thinking of with my ku comparing the winter sun with the centre of a white chrysanthemum flower.

    • Love change to ‘grandmother’ in v4! And yes, also, to changes in verses 7 and 9. (Especially in v9 – that change to ‘daughter’ – seems to make it more distressing.)

      Congratulations to Nola for her ageku! So simple, and I see how it works so well. This has all been a big learning experience! 🙂

  93. njkb says:

    Travelling well, Sandra. Re:

    going online at Starbuck’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab uprising

    From my point of view, I’d change ‘we’ for ‘they’ in L2.

  94. CynthiaRowe says:

    Sandra,

    Then what about

    squeezing a lemon
    for today’s hot drink

  95. sandra says:

    We can ask Margaret whether she’d consider a change …

  96. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry to be a bit slow in replying, but I’ve had a break from the computer this weekend. Re Margaret’s orange verse, I have no problem with it. I also make hot lemon drinks (with honey and a dash of brandy sometimes!) and the fact that it’s an orange in this verse makes it different and interesting. I googled ‘hot orange drinks’ and the first site I came to have 116 recipes! I would suggest keeping it as the round shape of the orange mirrors the shape of the sun and the chrysanthemum.

    Re the changes, I really loved Nola’s original ‘mint tea at Fishawi’s’, but I guess we had too many drinks in the renku. ‘Fishawi’s’ is so exotic and sounds great. Ah well.

    I have no objection to changing ‘son’ to ‘daughter’ in #9, although perhaps ‘son’ is a little more unexpected (but not necessarily less traumatic).

    Thanks for pointing out the ‘vinyl’ and ‘plastic’ repetition. I feel it is problematic as they are only one verse apart and vinyl is a type of plastic. What to do? I like both the sound of ‘vinyl briefcase’ and ‘plastic pirate’. Options could be to remove ‘vinyl’ and just have ‘briefcase’ or use ‘toy pirate’, but neither are as good as the originals.

    Over to Sandra!

    Cheers,
    Vanessa

  97. fla42 says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I thought about a change from “plastic pirate” to “toy soldier” in my verse, as soldier follows better after the “Arab uprising”. However, the pirate works better with the bathtime theme. All the other changes I believe work well. “Orange” seems fine as a hot drink and follows from the “sun”.

    A nice simple ending finishes the junicho well!

    Good work!

    Pat

  98. sandra says:

    Thanks Vanessa. My suggested change from “son” to “daughter was for 2 reasons:
    1 – avoiding repetition through a homonym (sun & son)
    2 – our poem seems to be female-centric which, excepting Jim :), is a fine reflection of who we are!

    But I’m happy to be redirected on any of the suggested changes, so keep the coversation flowing, everyone.

    I liked Fishawi’s in the verse too (and can recommend hunting it out if you’re ever in Cairo), but it was the hot drink that was causing me disquiet.

    The change to Starbuck’s does have the advantage of strenghtening the link between the two verses – “briefcase” and the implied laptop, although the link is already there with the charging magpie and Arab spring.

    spilling sugar at Fishawi’s
    while we wrangle
    over the Arab uprising

  99. sandra says:

    Thanks for your comments Pat.

    Would “toy pirate” work? No, perhaps not as well. I prefer “pirate” to soldier because of the connotations of the former when we come to the succeeding verse, ie, pirate could equal kidnapper.

    And pirate also links well with the preceding verse, giving that hint of who comes out of the woodwork to profit in times of civil unrest.

    So, perhaps we need to reconsider “vinyl”, but there I’m also torn as I think “vinyl briefcase” works so well with “Arab uprising”, that it’s the very ordinary people who have started all this, the ones who just get by (which can mean the middle class in many of these countries).

    How about:

    warding off the magpie
    with a fake leather briefcase

    What do you all think, especially Cynthia?

  100. sandra says:

    And …

    I have inadvertantly introduced a hiccup with my suggested change to verse 4 – “grandmother” followed in the next verse by “mother”. Ho-hum.

    butterflies embroidered
    on the antique veil

    butterflies embroidered
    on the heirloom veil

    My rationale for amending this verse in the first place was that very short second line. My eye just didn’t like it. What think you?

  101. Hello all
    Thank you for the birthday wishes.

    I chose orange for its shape, the roundness complimenting the sun and the chrysanthemum.
    I do not mind the change to ‘daughter’ as either one lost would be distressing. I did put son as that is the image that struck me after the Arab uprising. So much more traumatic for them to lose a son, a camel, than a daughter.

    This has been a really interesting exercise for me. And the progression of verses takes one on a journey. almost feel I have been on holiday again.

    Margaret

  102. njkb says:

    Re: going online at Starbuck’s/ while we/they wrangle over/the Arab uprising

    An extra dimension of this version is the political impact of supporting Starbucks while apparently ignoring the effect of such global players on the coffee industry in certain Arab countries.
    Or is the junicho not supposed to be overtly political?

    Though ‘mint tea at Fishawi’s’ was a great line, Sandra. Oh, these rules!

    Nola

  103. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Thanks for that, Sandra.

    I’m all for the metal briefcase — magpies are attracted to shiny things.

    ‘heirloom veil’ sounds lovely.

    I’ll leave the Arab uprising to you, Sandra.

    This renku has been such a enjoyable process. Thanks everyone,

    Vanessa

  104. sandra says:

    Hello all,

    I sent our poem to my mentor in all things renku, John Carley, who has been kind enough to comment on it … and put his finger on what has been bothering me about the overall effect. Metre, especially in the second half of the poem (your sabaki has fallen down on the job, I’m afraid. Still, I hope we can fix it fairly easily).

    Here are John’s comments, I’ll post how I think we can get around it separately.

    Hi Sandra, nice to hear from you.

    Leading a large participation poem where the bulk of the contributors are new to the genre is just about the most difficult task there is for a sabaki. One must choose how and when to compromise. It seems to me that the only enduring test of ‘success’ is whether the participants have gained anything from the experience – an insight into their own writing. And possibly the desire to experiment further with collaborative verse. If the poem itself works out as well as this one has it is a real bonus.

    The verses link well. Some very well (or rather: I have personal favourites). There is a good balance between ‘person’ verses and ‘place’ verses. The sense of seasonality is good, though strangely I find spring a little more tenuous that I would have expected – perhaps the team have been suffering from a long winter! [I have explained to John in reply that, in fact, an attacking magpie is a very strong seasonal indicator in this part of the world.]

    But while the question of range is moot, and the linkage in the poem is generally good, there is another set of tangents a play here – and these have weakened the reading coherence of the piece. Yes, time to unhobble the hobby horse, I refer to phonics – metric in particular.

    I put the poem into two columns for ease of reading but it shows up a quite distinct feature: the first half exhibits a largely consistent proportionality between long and short verses which is subverted in the second half. I’ve put a quick parse against some of the latter as syllable count followed by stress. It indicates for instance that although #8 and #12 are both written on two lines, and are ‘short’ verses, one is twice the extent of the other. Perhaps the most crucial point is between #8 and #9 wherein the ‘long’ verse is in fact more contracted than the ‘short’ verse, so the whole movement inverts.

    This is a massively difficult area because it arises not out of renku at all but from the irreversible elision of haiku and free verse in the English-speaking world. But it is an issue which I do not think can be ignored if we wish to both be serious about our art and, crucially, provide the audience with a reading experience which is comparable to that which the Japanese audience experiences.

    I’ve ranted on at some length about this at the Reckoner – an extract is pasted below. And there’s a lighter-weight take on it at the Haijinx site.
    http://www.haijinx.org/columns/notes-on-renku/do-metrics-matter

    I have also pasted some six-verse passages from Basho school poems. These translations apply the various criteria advanced in the articles in an attempt to emulate the reading experience that the regular metrics of Japanese impart to a poem. The question is: does the increased ‘compaction’ of the phonics allow for some of the more testing linkage to slip in unnoticed?

    The extracts might also be useful in addressing the question of tone and topic range – particularly in respect of the *rate of change* over a given span of verses. I think this notion is vital to understanding what can be achieved/should be aimed for in shorter sequences.

    Best wishes, John

    http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk > Aspects of Prosody > Supple Stanzas > second section:

    A haiku is by definition a verse which exists in isolation. If it succeeds it may do so purely on its own terms. But when applied to renku such randomness of form can spell disaster, a disaster which has nothing to do with the failure to placate tidy minds, or otherwise conform to some inviolable rule.

    Renku verses by definition do not stand alone. In a sequence where each added verse is written according to its own unique prosody, most forms of phonic correspondence between verses are either absent or seriously marginalised. Tangible inter-relationships may be established at a conceptual level only. Accordingly poets are pushed towards meaning-linkage (kokorozuke) and word or object linkage (monozuke/kotobazuke) as they seek to ensure that the dependencies between verses are apprehensible, that they ‘make sense’.

    At a stroke Basho’s most prized technique is compromised. The deep level evocative potential of scent linkage (nioizuke) becomes problematic as, in the absence of phonic ties, the semantic relationships between verses become too tenuous to reward the readers’ wish to engage.

    The wider movement of the poem is similarly more difficult to orchestrate; verses crash or stutter as each attempts to assert a largely self-referencing structure. In such circumstances it takes great artistry to establish any form of sequence at all. Too readily we are presented with what is in effect a series: a succession of highly variable and quasi-autonomous verses whose very amorphousness requires us to study their shape.

    Necessarily, as we focus on the structural rationale and hard content of individual stanzas, the creative power of the white space between them is lost.

    the black kite peeps
    peeps, the spirits too
    perhaps make to depart

    spread, red fall of leaves
    like sacred prayer strips

    big straw sandals
    small straw sandals,
    holding them to my feet

    the boat that’s in the lead
    sports a tabby cat

    there’s the moon!
    the harvest moon!
    all by a blaze of wrack

    that child nibbling taro
    favours the regime?

    – Issa and Ippyo from The Black Kite Peeps (Carley, after Hislop)

    this rain that falls,
    is it but the tears
    of my old mother?

    one special bloom,
    peonies in the window

    eyes shut two days
    on a Go move
    now begin to open

    I’m back off to China
    the fox cries out

    sacred mushrooms
    dug at dusk from
    distant riverbeds

    the torii flaked and peeling,
    gate of pines

    – Kozan, Toto, Basho, Toyo from The Darkening Sea (Carley, after Sato)

    a ditch gets dug
    for Asaka mud-snails
    fattened in the rain

    tears over February
    in the deep north

    their pillow talk
    late at night she finds
    he is her cousin

    bitterness lingers
    for a union denied

    so chagrined, yet
    lacking the will to
    have that lump cut off

    tomorrow the foe
    will be sent the head

    – Tokuni, Yasui, Kakei, Basho, Juugo from First Snow (Yachimoto and Carley)

    • ashleycapes says:

      Hi Sandra, HFA team and John!
      It’s been great watching as this renku was composed, and I wish I’d been able to comment more, as I’ve read lots and lots of great verses.

      But tonight I wanted to ask you all, after reading Sandra & John’s conversation about metre, did you find writing the renku ‘live’ made for a more instinctive balance between ‘short’ and ‘long’ verses? I wondered everyone being able to hear the verses read aloud, during composition, made a difference there?

      Not that participants are unable to read verses aloud off the screen, of course, but it’s a very different process writing online, to what I suspect a live renku to be like, and I was curious to get some opinions. I imagine the switch from ‘live’ to ‘online’ renku would require a significant shift in mode of operation for everyone?

      • sandra says:

        That’s a good question Ashley. I was going to sum up the two different experiences of writing this poem in my tomegaki, forthcoming!

        Thanks so much for stopping by.

  105. sandra says:

    So … with the length of verse 8 identified as breaking the long-short pattern, perhaps

    “Who are you?” the pirate
    asks at bath-time

    which brings the syllable count down from 14 to 10 and the stressed beats from 7 to 5.

    The following “long” verse in its “son” form has 11 syllables and 6 beats (13 & 6 with “daughter”).

    Pat, what think you?

  106. sandra says:

    I’d like to share with you an email conversation between myself and John on some particular points – he explains things so much better than I ever could!

    SS: The length of the second line of verse 4 has been bothering me, but with your advice on rhythm I think I’ll leave it alone and not add “the heirloom” instead of “my”.

    JC: I know what you mean, we seem to have got visual proportions mixed up with phonic proportions in the haikusphere. But in fact there are only two strong stresses (in my reading) to line one of #4. Personally I believe visual proportions are irrelevant unless one is writing concrete poetry or rendering a text calligraphically

    SS: I would like your opinion on the homonym sun/son – verses 1 and 9 (by changing son for daughter it lengthens that verse by a beat);

    JC: “The […] chimera of ‘backlink’ has, thanks to its protean intangibility, generated a kind of collective psychosis in contemporary English-language renku circles characterized by the paranoid and forensic parsing of a working text for who knows what kind of deviation from criteria so occluded as to be unknowable.”

    I sometimes think that Japanese is made up of nothing but homonyms! In the historic literary theory homonyms are avoided in close proximity to each other unless deliberately intended. In this case there is little to guide us. But it seems to me that unless there are other marked structural similarities which would point up a correspondence between the verses then a single instance of a homonym at x number of verses distance must surely be invisible to the reader – and could only be uncovered by said ‘forensic’ analysis.

    SS: and the hot drinks in verses 2 and 7. I have suggested a rewrite of verse 7 so the first line is: logging on at Starbuck’s

    JC: Yeah, that’s a good instance of where there may be an issue. Formal category theory holds that five verse separation is far enough to allow for repeats of all but the most striking of topics. But that was formulated for longer poems. There is an argument that in 12-verse sequences such relatively minor repeats, such as here, stand out more prominently. Personally I apply the ‘forensic’ test – if I’ve only uncovered something by searching for it then it can be safely ignored.

    So this is moot. If it has stood out to you, or a participating colleague, just on reading that is probably sufficient cause to want to revisit it.

    In such cases the ultimate arbiter is, I feel, a cost/benefit analysis: can the offending feature be written out without damaging a central feature of the movement of the sequence as a whole? It ‘yes’ then remove it.

    SS: [Responding to John’s suggestion in an earlier post that the poem’s spring verses seem rather light – after an explanation of how our magpies behave he acknowledges that’s a strong spring verse] The second spring verse features the so-called Arab Spring. Too cute?

    JC: I think it might work best if the text actually gives ‘Arab Spring’. Too cute? In truth it is not particularly to my tastes but it *is* very much reflective of some strands of Japanese technique. For instance it is frequently stated that ‘blossom verses’ are *always* and *invariably* about cherry or plum blossom. This is not so. In Basho’s own writing you’ll find blossom verses about weddings because the word for ‘bride’ contains the ideogram for ‘blossom’. But, in such instances, the ideogram itself (and hence the word ‘bride’) are present. By the same token here we might expect ‘Spring’.

  107. sandra says:

    I have a busy day tomorrow so may not get back to this until evening, but I think we have our definitive text close at hand. So, please, if you have any worries/suggestions voice them in the next 24 hours.

    Thanks

  108. sandra says:

    Cold Sun

    cold sun –
    the centre
    of a chrysanthemum

    – Kirsten

    squeezing an orange
    for today’s hot drink

    – Margaret

    hand-in-hand
    a line of preschoolers
    at the zoo

    -Vanessa

    butterflies embroidered
    on my veil

    -Cynthia

    her hair
    shaken out to cover
    his ‘mother’ tattoo

    – Jim

    warding off the magpie
    with a metal briefcase

    – Cynthia

    going online at Starbuck’s
    while we wrangle over
    the Arab Spring

    – Nola

    “Who are you?” the pirate
    asks at bath-time

    – Patricia

    crowded beach
    just for a moment
    losing my son

    – Margaret

    coming out of the movie
    eyes full of tears

    – Sandra

    amid corn stubble
    an abandoned farmhouse
    backlit by the moon

    – Vanessa

    on every path
    coloured leaves

    – Nola

    Composed between June 17 and July 25, 2012
    The junicho began as a face-to-face workshop exercise at the Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012 and was completed online at the Issa’s Snail website (Dy, Moira, Maureen and Jim were unable to continue online).

    Participants:

    Dy Andreasen, Sydney, Australia
    Margaret Beverland, Katikati, NZ
    Nola Borrell, Upper Hutt, NZ
    Kirsten Cliff, Matamata, NZ
    Moira Cursey, Hamilton, NZ
    Maureen Gorman, Winchester, Virginia, US
    Jim Kacian, Winchester, Virginia, US
    Patricia Prime, Auckland, NZ
    Vanessa Proctor, Sydney, Australia
    Cynthia Rowe, Sydney, Australia
    Sandra Simpson, Tauranga, NZ (sabaki)

  109. CynthiaRowe says:

    Thanks, Sandra! You have done a sterling job as sabaki. A most enjoyable renku.
    And a big thank you to everyone involved!

    Cynthia

  110. fla42 says:

    Hi Sandra,

    What an interesting discussion between you and John. Many points for me personally to take into my future writing of renku.

    I don’t feel that my verse makes sense with ‘a pirate being present at bath-time’, but I can’t come up with an alternative without increasing the line – ‘toy duck’ has the same number of syllables, but not the impact of ‘pirate’. I’m happy for you to leave it as it is!!

    Pat

    • sandra says:

      I saw it as being an adult having a conversation with him/herself about life (so probably middle-aged, then) – and he/she catches the eye of the toy pirate, an accusatory eye, or so it seems.

      I don’t think “pirate” and “bath-time” is a huge leap (actually, I think it’s quite a small leap – I have a couple of Captain Pugwash figures still hanging round in the bathroom from when the children were younger).

      Thanks Pat, I think it’s a great verse.

  111. sandra says:

    Tomegaki for Cold Sun

    This junicho was started as a workshop exercise in an hour-long class at the Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Tauranga, New Zealand, on June 17, 2012.

    I had circulated information about junicho to the participants before the workshop, hoping we might not need to start from ground zero when we had so little time. The information included translations of Japanese terms used in renku, some history of the junicho (a relatively modern form), and some guidance on fundamentals, such as the dynamic movement of jo-ha-kyu, and link and shift.

    I do not consider myself to be an expert on renku and so was nervous about leading such a group. However, being involved with linked verse groups online has given me much pleasure and I hoped to expose the participants to a new way of expressing themselves using (what is essentially) the haiku form in a group setting.

    The registered participants sent their hokku candidates before the workshop so I might choose a verse and we could get straight to work. I was concerned we might not get very far but when our time was up we had the first five ku in place. Outstanding.

    On the day we were joined by three other poets who made a spontaneous decision to join the workshop. Although the majority of the participants knew little about renku, two of the workshop poets have previously written linked verse of all sorts, which helped my confidence knowing I could refer and discuss anything of which I was unsure.

    I was keen to find out what it would be like to write (or at least start) a renku when all the poets were in the same room, an experience I hadn’t yet had. There were lots of questions, lots of laughter and, thank you poets, lots of hard work. How marvellous it would be to write a complete junicho in the physical company of other poets.

    The energy in the room was crackling – everyone was not only working hard to grasp the concepts of renku but to produce verses for each position. Cold Sun has mostly been written on a competitive basis with only two positions allocated to particular poets.

    However, I have found the process of leading the junicho to its conclusion online to be quite different. Few questions were asked, little discussion was entered into, and, for various reasons, four poets were unable to continue. In an effort to bring the poem to a timely conclusion I found I had to remind several poets by email to look at the site and make an offering.

    So, is there a difference between writing together and writing remotely? From this experience, I have to say yes, a great difference. It seemed that much of our original enthusiasm was missing from the online section; that it was somehow a cooler experience.

    However, despite this being a “fractured” poem, we had all met one another, which I consider to be an advantage, and we were more or less all in the same time zone (New Zealand and the east coast of Australia).

    From the beginning, it was not clear where the junicho might head, which is part of the fun. Margaret wrote an admirable wakiku for Kirsten’s interesting hokku thus giving us a strong roof to our house of words.

    For newcomers shedding inhibitions to write for the ha section is something to be learned … and the subtletly of haiku is a hard habit to shrug off. Nola had offered a version of her “Arab Spring” verse for the hokku – where it would have been unsuitable due to its subject matter. I liked its bravado and made it a “pocket verse”, pulling it out for one of our spring verses which fell in the ha section.

    The other “gear change” for newcomers to renku comes with the no-season verses, again a skill that must be learned by haiku poets.

    Although Jim contributed only one verse (during the workshop), I was pleased to have a male voice in our poem – and appropriate that it came in as one of the love verses.

    For this sabaki, my goal was to finish with a cohesive poem and I tried to be careful to keep the whole in mind when choosing each new verse, which sometimes meant that a personally favoured verse wasn’t selected.

    The schema for a 12-verse junicho is:
    2 spring/autumn verses; 1 summer/winter verse; 1 moon verse (with a season); 1 flower verse (with a season) = 6 seasonal verses.
    2 love verses (no-season); 4 no-season verses = 6 no-season verses.

    There must be a balance between verses with people in them and those without and verses that occur inside and outside.

    As well, there is the dynamic movement to consider – jo-ha-kyu (roughly, formal beginning; full-on party mode; mellow farewell).

    The fact that we achieved all this is praiseworthy, the fact that we made poetry is a reason to skip and sing tra-la!

    John Carley, my mentor in all things renku, kindly agreed to offer comments on our pre-final junicho, where he pointed up what he considered to be a hiccup – a case where the short verse (2-lines) was wordier than the long verse (3 lines) it preceded.

    Issa’s Snail owner Ashley Capes asked in a comment whether writing “live” had precluded that because we had heard the verses read – and I think he’s hit the nail on the head. I wonder, in fact, whether a poem written live has more natural rhythm than one completed online for the same reason.

    Writing online offers the chance for collaborations that are exciting for the poets and their readers … but does writing remotely lack something? Are “live” collaborations richer in some way? That’s a question for time to answer, perhaps.

    I would like to thank all the poets who participated in the creation of this junicho – even if you didn’t have a verse selected you contributed to the energy of the room during the workshop, an energy that gave us such a great head start. I would also like to thank Ashley for giving us the space to complete Cold Sun here at Issa’s Snail (my online renku home), and John. It’s always reassuring to read John’s thoughts on the many rules of renku, which I often think can be summed up as “relax”.

    All my renku writing has previously been online and, apart from one disastrous group dynamic (not on Issa’s Snail) I have thoroughly enjoyed each poem and learned much. I hope the poets involved in this poem can say as much.

    – Sandra Simpson (sabaki), July 28, 2012.

    Edited July 29, adding the paragraph beginning “For this sabaki” …

    • ashleycapes says:

      Great tomegaki, Sandra, you’ve certainly inspired me to try and organise a live renku, it sounds wonderful, I think you led very well as the end result testifies.

      It was my pleasure to make the space available, I think everyone did a fantastic job – and ‘a cold sun’ has such a satisfying conclusion too

  112. Hi all – sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with all the editing and discussion of late.
    Thanks so much for leading us, Sandra! 🙂 A most interesting process, and one I’d definitely have another go at.
    I don’t know if we’re seeking publication for this? If not, I’d love to have it for the haikai section of “a fine line”, along with the tomegaki. Let me know…

  113. Margaret beverland says:

    Excellent tomegaki. I shall print it off to study, and maybe, one day, I will be brave enough to try again. I love the leaps renku takes so we journey through the seasons.

    Margaret

  114. njkb says:

    Very warm thanks Sandra for your leadership and thoroughness in guiding the junicho. I’ll now read renku with much increased understanding.

    I found online writing somewhat inhibiting: So public! Maybe that’s partly because I haven’t done it before. ………Certainly, it’s hard to get the immediacy possible in a face-to-face group.

    I appreciated your conferring with John Carley, and his input. I’m rather pleased with that emphasis on metre. I confess I muttered to myself more than once: ‘Fun, interesting, but is this poetry!’

  115. Lorin says:

    Hi Sandra, Ash and all,

    I’ve just now read through and enjoyed this renku, John’s comments and Sandra’s tomegaki.

    The one thing I was holding my breath over was Cynthia’s magpie verse; specifically, the fate of the vinyl briefcase. 🙂 I love the verse, including the sounds, especially the subtle assonance of ‘magpie’ & ‘vinyl’, which helps enact the sense of repeated magpie dives. I also feel that ‘metal’ loses out as far as association goes. Though a metal object might give more protection, it’s the relative cheapness and flimsiness of vinyl as well as it’s ‘unnaturalness’ compared with the forces of nature (read ‘magpie beak at dive force’)

    I understood why vinyl was taken out, but now that the pirate has lost it’s plastic after all, I wonder if the magpie verse could have it’s vinyl back?

    warding off the magpie
    with a vinyl briefcase

    cheers,

    Lorin

    • sandra says:

      Hello Lorin,

      Thanks for calling by. Yes, “vinyl” was something that seemed important to me, especially when read with the following verse. For me, “vinyl briefcase” immediately conjures up (generally) a young-ish man in a poorly-cut and ill-fitting suit. A man who is doing his best to rise above the poverty he comes from, who is probably supporting an extended family as he strives to make his way in the world. And then, as if his day to day existence wasn’t pressured enough this bloody magpie decides to dive-bomb him … just because he’s there.

      He could easily be a refugee or a new migrant from the Middle East or Horn of Africa in Australia/NZ – the dive-bombing of the magpie a metaphor for all that he must learn to do and be to “fit in”.

      So, you’re right, I took my eye off the ball when “plastic” went west and should have reinstated vinyl. I will see what I can do.

      Thanks for the prompt,
      Sandra

  116. sandra says:

    Hello all,

    Our junicho has been accepted for publication in “Notes from the Gean” by renku editor Alan Summers, for the September issue and then will appear in December in the ‘haikai corner’ of “a fine line”, the magazine of the NZPS Poetry Society (editor Kirsten Cliff).

    Well done to you all,
    Sandra

  117. Vanessa Proctor says:

    Fantastic news! Thanks so much to Sandra and everyone who participated,
    Vanessa

  118. sandra says:

    As you may be aware Notes from the Gean has gone phut and the September issue, which was to have featured our junicho, will not appear.

    Therefore, I will submit it to A Hundred Gourds for consideration for the December issue – and will keep you posted on the outcome.

    Best wishes,
    Sandra

  119. sandra says:

    And, once again, we have an acceptance!

    Fingers crossed on this one, folks.

  120. sandra says:

    Sorry, I didn’t get round to posting this link sooner … our Cold Sun is on the contest list here, just click on the title.

    http://www.haikuhut.com/ahg/ahg21/index_renku.html

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