‘New’ Junicho

So, in this form or style of Junicho, ‘dai’ or topics would not be seasonal. Instead, they would be replaced by something almost pop-culture, so that instead of a summer verse, there would be a ‘film’ verse for example.

This ‘New’ Junicho would be traditional in that it relies on Allusion (a feature of more in line with ushin renga) but the Allusion verses take the place of ‘love’ ‘blossom’ & ‘moon’ positions. Those positions become, for lack of a better phrase ‘cultural-allusions’ which constitute single verses relating to Literature, Politics, Art, Music, Religion, Film.

Now, in order to contrast these, we’ve planned that other verses would be barred from addressing the prior mentioned Cultural Topics of Lit, Film etc. Instead, the remaining verses will fall into two other categories, Gendai, and Shasei. Therefore we have three Categories: Cultural, Gendai, and Shasei.

This Junicho may also have a seasonal spread at some stage throughout the 12 verses, which allows for, basically, 4 seasonal topics to be woven into the renku at any point.

Beneath is a draft schema, with Literature opening at the hokku and Film closing the renku:

1 – hokku / literature
2 – waki / shasei
3 – daisan / politics
4 – verse / gendai
5 – verse / shasei
6 – verse / art
7 – verse / music
8 – verse / shasei
9 – verse / gendai
10 – verse / religion
11 – verse / shasei
12 – ageku / film

Category Breakdown

6x Cultural [Topics: lit, politics, art, music, religion, film]
4x Shasei
2x Gendai

John will be leading us within the following boundaries:

•    Neither Shasei nor gendai verses should appear in the last-but-one relationship

•    Each topic from the cultural category should appear (once only)

Here we go!

 

So, in this form or style of Junicho, ‘dai’ or topics would not be seasonal. Instead, they would be replaced by something almost pop-culture, so that instead of a summer verse, there would be a ‘film’ verse for example.

 

This ‘New’ Junicho would be traditional in that it relies on Allusion (a feature of more in line with ushin renga) but the Allusion verses take the place of ‘love’ ‘blossom’ & ‘moon’ positions. Those positions become, for lack of a better phrase ‘cultural-allusions’ which constitute single verses relating to Literature, Politics, Art, Music, Religion, Film.

 

Now, in order to contrast these, we’ve planned that other verses would be barred from addressing the prior mentioned Cultural Topics like lit, film etc. Instead, the other verses will fall into two other categories, Gendai, and Shasei. Therefore we have three Categories: Cultural, Gendai, and Shasei.

 

This Junicho may also have a seasonal spread at some stage throughout the 12 verses, which allows for, basically, 4 seasonal topics to be woven into the renku at any point.

 

Beneath is a draft schema, with Literature opening at the hokku and the Film closing the renku:


1 – hokku / literature

2 – waki / shasei
3 – daisan / politics
4 – verse / gendai
5 – verse / shasei
6 – verse / art
7 – verse / music
8 – verse / shasei
9 – verse / gendai
10 – verse / religion
11 – verse / shasei
12 – ageku / film

Category Breakdown

6x Cultural [Topics: lit, politics, art, music, religion, film]
4x Shasei
2x Gendai

John will be leading us within the following boundaries:

 

  • No two verses of the same category may appear as a pair.
  • Nor may shasei or gendai verses appear in the last-but-one relationship

 

  • Each topic from the cultural category should appear (once only)

 

 

Here we go!

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311 Responses to ‘New’ Junicho

  1. willie says:

    Let’s rock and roll. (I must be out of my mind) Perfect.

  2. ashleycapes says:

    Alan just let me know that he’s in too!

  3. Alan Summers says:

    I love this idea and fits in with what I’ve been wanting to do too!

    Alan

  4. g’day

    Please, am I able to join in?

    Peace and Love

    • ashleycapes says:

      Hi Barbara, I’d like to give a little bit of extra time for folks who make up the group of 11 people who’ve been waiting, as per the post on the home page/e-mail, but should no-one else volunteer you’re number #5 of 6.

      Failing that, you’re number one in the next ‘new’ Junicho!

  5. sandra says:

    Yes please, let’s give it a whirl.

  6. genevieve osborne says:

    Hi Ashley – not sure if I’m on a list or not – bit busy here, daughter’s wedding coming up, but I’d love to join in if possible. Maybe if there’s no room here then to a later ‘new’ Junicho – sounds exciting. All best wishes, Genevieve.

  7. ashleycapes says:

    All right, looking good, so far we have the following participants:

    John, Ashley, Willie, Alan, Sandra

    with Barbara & Genevieve in reserve AND/OR at 1&2 in the group of our second ‘new’ Junicho. I’ll leave it open a bit longer and see if any of the original 11 respond to finalise this line-up. Hi Gen, great news about your daughter, hope the wedding is wonderful! You’re on the list now – it’s one that started back in December and it’s getting delightfully long!

  8. John Carley says:

    Hi all, this is tremendously exciting stuff. Whilst this is apparently ultra-radical, at another level the formal insistence on cultural topics reminds me of Ushin Renga (‘high’ renga) of the Japanese medieval period. Two thoughts: I’d expect (all the) seasons to appear somewhere – in part purely by dint of inertia of the genre, and for the rather better reasons that the Buddhist metaphysics that inform renku require ‘all things’ to be present. Secondly – topic schmopic. The structure is not the poem. This is an important reminder for technical wonks like me who can get wrapped up in minutiae. Thirdly (I know I promised two only) – Oh God, there’s no spellchecker on this board. So sorry in advance for the garble.

    Best wishes, John

  9. Bill Dennis says:

    I’m simply love to participate in the “new junicho.” Looks very clever and innovative.
    Hail the Snail!

  10. ashleycapes says:

    So, for our first ‘new junicho’ we have our lineup : John, Ashley, Willie, Alan, Sandra & Bill (and I hope enough for a second in the near future, once people join BAT & Gen)

    It’s now over to you, John! Superb to have you back at the Snail, can’t wait to see how this style of Junicho turns out!

  11. haikutec says:

    Looking forward to this challenge, and its blend of new but with very much in mind the old. 😉

    Alan

  12. lorin says:

    Good morning, Ashley and John,

    well, I thought that my name was already down for this, the next renku, along with Barbara, Alan, Willie and a couple of others?

    I’m very disappointed that the plan has been changed. I would’ve liked to participate in this and do have the time to do so over the next month.

    – Lorin

    • lorin says:

      well, I’d forgotten that Barbara ended up participating in the renku that’s just finished.
      … but it’s still the case that my name was down, and down *first* for this next renku, which has now been filled.

      I imagine that the next renku will begin in about a month, when once again I’ll have too much on my plate to participate in the first couple of weeks.

      Is there anyone who’d be willing to change places with me?

      – Lorin

    • ashleycapes says:

      Hi Lorin, just take my spot and have a look at my last e-mail too.
      This Junicho is essentially a ‘bonus’ and not strictly part of the old schedule.

  13. ashleycapes says:

    Line up finalised:

    John, Lorin, Willie, Alan, Sandra, Bill

    I’ll be sticking around, of course, to see if how it turns out. Looking forward to it!

  14. lorin says:

    No, sorry Ashley, I can’t accept your offer, since John and you have been working on this idea for some time.

    – Lorin

  15. lorin says:

    Hi John and All,

    Ashley has convinced me , privately.

    Many thanks, Ashley. I’m in then! I hope I can learn this new renku quickly & do your good will justice. So pleased to be able to participate at this time.

    – Lorin

  16. Bill Dennis says:

    Pleased as I am to be among the chosen, I have to ask for a bit more about “gendai” and “shasei.” Not to say it isn’t there, but I couldn’t locate anything on the Renku Reckoner about either term. Wikipedia says that “gendai” means “modern martial way,” which is good as far as it goes. Nothing turns up anywhere I’ve looked on “shasei.”

  17. haikutec says:

    Hi Bill,

    I believe gendai simply means modern, but in the context of haiku it relates to the contemporary style of Japanese haiku that is often without a kigo, but will use keywords.

    Here’s a useful gendai haiku website: http://gendaihaiku.com/

    Shasei is just the basic type that many Western haiku writers have used since Shiki introduced it, and means sketching from nature, and is a direct technique of writing what you see: http://haikutopics.blogspot.com/2006/07/shasei-sketch-from-nature.html

    Welcome aboard Bill, nice to meet you! 😉

    I’m from Bradford on Avon, England, Britain (funny island between America and Mainland Europe).

    Alan
    http://area17.blogspot.com
    http://www.withwords.org.uk

  18. sandra says:

    Hi Bill,

    Shasei is a “sketch from life”, the path of writing that Shiki promoted – in simple terms, write what is happening around you.

    This is from Gabi Greve’s Haiku Topics database:
    Shasei is the principle of “sketching from life” in a haiku, especially advocated by Shiki.

    The idea is that a haiku should be descriptive of a scene rather than be about abstractions or thoughts on the scene. Furthermore, to be true to a scene, most haiku should be written from actual experiences directly experienced as opposed to imagined scenes.

    Haiku should also be written while directly observing a scene and not generally from memory (which may distort an element of the scene). Thus, it may be considered inappropriate to write a “summer” haiku during the winter, since you couldn’t possibly have been viewing a summer scene at that time.

    Hope this helps. If you Google Shiki’s shasei you will come up with more.

    Best,
    Sandra

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Thanks loads. I’ll check it out.

      • Bill Dennis says:

        Gendai–I’m working on it–

        …swimming in a world of poetry…, not breaking with tradition…, accomodating the present…, innovating…, cultural more than natural observation…, allusive…, referential…, irreverent…, respectful…, allusive, elusive, experimental, full of large ideas…not your grandfather’s haiku moment…. Why didn’t you just say so?

        “cherry blossoms fall
        –you too must become
        a hippo”

        It works compellingly for me. As Rilke said, “you must change your life.” And, when the cherry (lovliest of trees) blossoms, believe me, about the country I shall go… to become a hippo.

        roses red ya
        violets blue keri
        haiku short kana

        I’m still working on it. Let me look at shasei.

  19. sandra says:

    Finding this snippet on Gabi’s website helped me, finally, understand the hippo haiku:

    桜散るあなたも河馬になりなさい 
    sakura chiru anata mo kaba ni narinasai

    falling cherry blossoms –
    you also must become
    a hippopotamus

    source
    http://www4.ocn.ne.jp/~sas18091/sahaiku.html

    This is a play on words.
    When Japanese people die, their corpse becomes a “sleeping hippopotamus” (shi kabane) … kaba ne, sleeping hippo.

  20. ashleycapes says:

    Thanks, Sandra, excellent advice! Isn’t the gendai school fascinating, Bill?
    Have you seen this one, my fav:

    like squids
    bank clerks are fluorescent
    from the morning

    —Kaneko Tōta (trans. Makoto Ueda)

    • Bill Dennis says:

      I had the impression that simily–“like”–were more or less a no-no in haiku. I have not seen it used much if at all in renku, either. After all, comparison is abstraction, of a sort. But here it is. And, after all, I know the feeling!

  21. haikutec says:

    My favourite gendai haiku:

    二十億光年の偽証 お前のB型
    ni-jō oku kōnen no gishyō omae no B-gata

    twenty billion light-years of perjury: your blood type is “B”

    Hoshinaga Fumio

    I’ve also never been able to find the EL version of Kaneko Tōta’s famous c***t gendai haiku, and why it’s so important.

    Alan

  22. lorin says:

    twenty billion light-years of perjury: your blood type is “B”

    Hoshinaga Fumio

    I don’t know, Alan. I’ve read the background to this ku, the author’s explication. In Japanese popular culture there’s the theory that blood types are associated with ‘personality’, or really, closer to what was meant by ‘the four humours’ in the medieval West and that Jung took up as a basis for his Types. If this poem was translated *culturally* as well as into English, the equivalent would be something like:

    twenty billion light-years of perjury: your star sign is Scorpio

    Would it still be your favourite?

    – Lorin

  23. John Carley says:

    Hi all, herewith a call for hokku candidates. All participants are cordially invited to send post hokku candidates of *any* style/category and, in the case of cultural references, of any of the topics included in that category. As noted above our nominal categories are 6x Cultural [Topics: lit, politics, art, music, religion, film] 4x Shasei 2x Gendai. We can work out the consequent permutations as we progress. I would simply ask that colleagues be mindful that this is a hokku, irrespective of all other considerations, and so must be ‘stand alone’.

    Given the absolute novelty of this poem I’d like treat all verse positions as ‘competitive’ – therefore I would respectfully ask all participants to submit candidates at all stages even if there’s a 99% certainty that they will be passed over. I feel that this allows Ashley, as originator of the sequence, to fine tune his proposal in the light of extensive input from skilled practitioners.

    Again because of the absolute novelty of the sequence, and contrary to my otherwise firm convictions (? !), I’d like to ask participants to kindly tag their offers with the category and/or subtopic class towards which they are directed.

    As ever all comment, query etc from participants and observes is not only always welcome, but absolutely necessary!

    Best wishes, John

  24. Alan Summers says:

    Thanks John, and thanks Ashley for being present if you are not a participant. I’ve been looking forward to working with you ever since seeing the success at cordite. 😉

    And thanks John for trying this renku. 😉

    Alan

  25. Bill Dennis says:

    I took my lead from Ashley’s draft schema at the begining of this thread, using literature as sub-topic for what I fondly imagine may be a gendai hokku. I’m willing to stand all sorts of correction.

    My suggestions:

    old book
    marginal notations
    how do they dare?

    checking out
    the librarian looks up
    at a certain book

    in a good book
    someone else’s book-mark
    and phone number

  26. lorin says:

    Good morning, John, from the first day of Autumn here in Melbourne. Great to be working under your guidance again, and Ashley and you have worked out a very interesting and challenging idea for this renku. Will come up with what verses I can over the course of this day.

    cheers,
    – Lorin

  27. lorin says:

    … one now, though, for fun:

    high summer –
    sharks wearing mirror shades
    bask in my garden

    cat. : gendai
    allusion: lit.
    specifically:

    梅咲いて庭中に青鮫が来ている
    ume saite niwachuu ni aozame ga kite iru

    plums are blossoming –
    everywhere in my garden
    blue sharks have come

    Kaneko Tohta  

    – Lorin

  28. lorin says:

    um, another already… couldn’t resist:

    in cold hell
    in thicket – the ginko group
    picks blackberries

    cat: hmmm… midway between shasei & gendai?
    allusion – lit.
    specifically: Charles Olsen’s poem, ‘In Cold Hell, In Thicket’ – “The Distances”, 1960, which alludes to Dante’s ‘Inferno’. (Possibly my favourite poem from what I read in the late 60s -very early 70’s)

    Text not found in online search, but much about Olsen is, eg:
    http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/739

    – Lorin

  29. lorin says:

    ..can’t seem to stop! This’ll be the last for a while, promise:

    light thickens –
    in the rooky wood my son
    picks magic mushrooms

    cat: shasei!!! except for L1
    allusion: lit.
    specifically: Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Play’, act 3, sc. 2

    – Lorin

  30. John Carley says:

    Hi all, just a note on terminology – and further to the excellent advice offered to Bill above. As Gaulieter of this particular exercise in Kraft durch Freude my working definition of ‘gendai’ is ‘innovative’ and of ‘shasei’ as ‘true-to-life’ or ‘from-personal-experience’. For those people interested in Japanese aesthetic theory ‘shasei’ could also be considered to embrace ‘makoto’.

    Whilst it is clearly the case that the totality of any verse we write will defy a single descriptor as a working proposition I’ll be simplifying the categories so for instance Bill’s excellent

    in a good book
    someone else’s book-mark
    and phone number

    Will probably go down as ‘lit’, despite its wry humour (and the fact it is doubtless drawn from personal experience). And by the same token Lorin’s bare chested:

    high summer –
    sharks wearing mirror shades
    bask in my garden

    goes down as ‘gendai’ despite the rather natty literary reference (which I wouldn’t have got).

    Best wishes, John

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Then…um (think, think, think) is there any reason a link can not be both a member of one of the cultrual topics (literature, art, etc) and still be innovative (gendai) and (possibly, or) true to life (shasei)? These do not seem to be exclusive categories. Your reduction of these concepts to rule-of-thumb size is very helpful, very. I now venture to guess that my own suggested hokkus were more in the literary/shasei vein. What do you think, John?

  31. lorin says:

    o, well…

    Hanrahan’s ghost
    haunting Brisbane’s summer
    the sound of water

    cat: contemporary haiku, neither shasei nor gendai
    allusion: lit. & social (social/ cultural…the recent Brisbane flood)
    specifically: Basho’s ‘old pond’ & John O’Brian’s classic ‘bush poem’, ‘Said Hanrahan’ — text here:

    http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/obrienj/poetry/hanrahan.html

    – Lorin

  32. John Carley says:

    ghost in the shell —
    learning to accept
    you make no sense

    cat: culture; film

    a nee-naw box
    full of nee-naw things –
    global warming

    cat: gendai

    chrysanthemum scent —
    the untold manner of men
    Nara has known

    Basho trans: Carley
    cat: culture; lit

  33. sandra says:

    All right, let’s have a go at this:

    punching the photographer –
    the dictator’s wife
    lines up her diamond rings

    cat: politics (Mugabe’s missus in Hong Kong)

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    cat: music (Paul Simon incl. YouTube)

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    cat: current affairs (altho’ I see current affairs isn’t a category!) & shasei

    • sandra says:

      I’d like to offer an alternative to the Paul Simon verse above:

      moonlit dogs –
      he slides a penny whistle
      into his pocket

  34. lorin says:

    …trying again, to see if this one will post:

    ants out of a hole
    the subterranean
    homesick blues on LOUD

    cat: music – Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’

    – Lorin

  35. lorin says:

    ok, that posted…will try my previous attempt again:

    Hanrahan’s ghost
    haunting Brisbane’s summer
    the sound of water

    cat: lit

    specifically: Basho’s ‘old pond’ & John O’Brian’s ‘Said Hanrahan’ (can be found on google…won’t try to post the link this time in case that’s what was preventing earlier posts.

    – Lorin

  36. lorin says:

    a nee-naw box
    full of nee-naw things –
    global warming

    cat: gendai

    – John

    I found nee-naw! and now this makes sense. Yes, gendai.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nee-naw

    – Lorin

  37. sandra says:

    Um, how many attempts should we be posting for each position?

    • lorin says:

      I don’t see a particular number of attempts specified, Sandra, so I’m assuming that it’s anything within reason, as in previous renku. . . I’d say that three to five was a reasonable number. If I’m wrong and John has a lower number in mind, I’m happy to withdraw any surplus.

      – Lorin

      • ashleycapes says:

        Good question, Sandra, John may well want to limit the verses later one, as Lorin suspects.
        He’ll let us know when he sees the wealth of riches on offer

  38. lorin says:

    ok, sorry…my posts have been all over the place. For simplicity’s sake, here they are again in the one post:

    high summer –
    in mirror shades the sharks
    bask in my garden

    (revised)

    cat.: gendai

    in cold hell
    in thicket – the ginko group
    picks blackberries

    cat: lit.

    light thickens –
    my son brings magic mushrooms
    from the rooky wood

    (revised)

    cat: lit

    Hanrahan’s ghost
    haunting Brisbane’s summer
    the sound of water

    cat: lit

    ants out of a hole –
    turning subterranean
    homesick blues to LOUD

    cat: music

    – Lorin

  39. Alan Summers says:

    I’ve been playing around with verses for some time, but not happy with them, and I’d be interested in views from John and Ashley on this…

    more tea vicar?
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls into a timepiece

    cat. colloq.; literary

    proverbs–
    the hare with amber eyes
    gives a second glance

    cat. folklore; literary

    Blood Dupre’s man
    the hare with amber eyes
    relaxes over tea

    Cat. manga; literary

    killing time
    the hare with amber eyes
    offers more tea

    cat. folklore; coloq; literary

    —end—

  40. lorin says:

    Hi Ashley, John and everyone,
    Just a note to let you know that the new issue of ‘Notes From the Gean’ is now published, online at:

    http://www.geantree.com/indexcover.html

    ‘Gean’ contains a renku section and Alan Summers is our renku editor. You’ll find two ‘speed’ junicho renku which were composed here at ‘Issa’s Snail’ , with John as sabaki, in this issue.

    cheers,
    Lorin

  41. John Carley says:

    Hi all, a couple of direct questions – so direct answers

    *number of candidates per participant – no upper limit really. Jus out of interest – one can argue that three is a good number in general renku terms as it concentrates the mind in terms of self-editing as an upper limit, and as a lower limit it still offers sufficient choice of direction specially important where a given individual is the sole person submitting for a verse position.

    * Bill posts (in part) is there any reason a link can not be both a member of one of the cultrual topics (literature, art, etc) and still be innovative (gendai) and (possibly, or) true to life (shasei)? – No buddy, there isn’t. And in conventional renku this is the case all the time too. However there are some considerations: a ‘shasei’ position would probably need to avoid overt extratextual reference (Shirane’s famous “vertical axis”) otherwise it would risk ‘fouling’ the designated cultural slots. And a very innovative take on a ‘cultural’ slot would force any immediatley following ‘gendai’ position to be more outre than might be desirable. But at the end of the day these are just markers, indicators. They are the starting position for the verse creation, not the verse itself.

    And on that last point – we do need to be aware that the only absolute obligaton on our first verse is that it functions as a hokku.

    Willie – if you’re reading, and you are indisposed for any reason, please do post a ‘pass’ if you think appropriate.

    Best wishes, John

  42. Alan Summers says:

    I’d love to see candidates by Willie, you have your own unique style, which I respect immensely. But no pressure. 😉

    I wasn’t happy with my earlier candidates, so here’s two I’m a little bit more comfortable with:

    netsuke…
    the hare with amber eyes
    jumps back in again

    cat. literature; culture; folklore;

    Mogao caves–
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls itself a timepiece

    cat. literature; folklore; history

    .

    • ashleycapes says:

      Alan, just wanted to say that I love this working of your hare verses

      more tea vicar?
      the hare with amber eyes
      curls into a timepiece

      As much as your new ones (especially the ‘jumps back in’) and think that the question is a fascinating way to start a renku, and the amber eyes are a startling image

      • Alan Summers says:

        Thank you Ashley, that means a lot to me.

        I’ve been gradualy seduced in believing the occasional question in a hokku or haiku is actually okay. 😉

        Alan

  43. lorin says:

    ‘Where’s Willie?’ ( USA film, 1978)

    My apologies, John and All…I got a bit too enthusiastic & also thought (wrongly, as it turns out) that it all had to be done very quickly. Point taken that offers are to be a max of three. Please ignore the five offers I posted yesterday and consider this revised submission of three instead:

    high summer –
    sharks in mirror shades
    bask in the garden

    gendai/ Lit. – Kaneko Tohta, haiku poet

    in cold hell
    in thicket – our ginko group
    picks blackberries

    Lit. – Charles Olson, poet

    reading Berryman–
    wind shuffles the grapevine’s
    wine colours

    Lit. – John Berryman, poet

    – Lorin

  44. willie says:

    # 63:

    Note to self:

    6x Cultural [Topics: lit, politics, art, music, religion, film] 4x Shasei 2x Gendai

    Holy cow! Missed you in my abundant reveries. Exam today – Constitutional Law – a fish out of water I was . . . thanks for the head’s up, Sandra, and my apologies to all.

    Saigon Cafe
    a refugee lucky cat
    waves to me
    (history/politics: Vietnamese “make it” in Minnesota)

    mountain road
    the elephant offers
    this blessing

    (lit: The Elephant’s Journey; Jose Saramago)

    our hands
    touch the same fresh fruit
    Che on her t-shirt

    (politics: some folks here like the iconic picture)

    These are off the top. Walking the dog now . . .

  45. willie says:

    # 64:

    Hi, Lorin,

    Tell them Willie Boy Is Here 1970 – Robert Redford, Katherine Ross, Robert Blake

    Howdy, Bill.

  46. lorin says:

    ‘Tell them Willie Boy Is Here’ 1970 – Robert Redford, Katherine Ross, Robert Blake.

    Good one, Willie. 😉

    Now tell me, o clever one, how does one do italics on this site? Let me know?

    cheers,

    Lorin

    • ashleycapes says:

      Lorin, if you put html tags around the text you want to format, it will work. I can’t show you here without making it actually happen, but html tags use both triangle brackets first, around lowercase letters ‘i’ ‘b’ etc and then include a backslash / to close off (also inside brackets.)

      Here’s a couple examples

      <i>Example</i> <b>Example</b>

      Which I’ve messed up a bit, but you can see the tags at least
      Ash

  47. lorin says:

    Great! 🙂 Thanks very much, Ash.

    – Lorin

  48. eiko yachimoto says:

    Hi, everyone, sounds like you are having a great fun.

    I will be another observer when I need some excitement;–)

    Cheers,
    eiko

  49. willie says:

    # 69:

    em in those brackets for italics – the word strong for bold, maybe.
    Don’t ask these difficult questions.

    It was a fairly good movie, Lorin. That should read 1969, btw. I liked the American “B” movies of that era: Dirty Harry, Vanishing Point. Billy Jack, Two Lane Blacktop, Electra Glide In Blue, etc. All these counter culture heros, many of them violent, anti-authoritarian, some shockingly graphic for the time. Impressionable street urchins that we were, we ate them up like candy floss. (candy cigarettes?) The Romanticists of that generation and social class.

    Two Lane Blacktop
    the hash markers go by
    in slow motion

    We watched quite a few at the old World theater, which is now the Fizgerald, where they record the, uh, Garrison Keillor radio programme, oh, its slipped my mind.

    A koyomi renku in progress at the blog nobody reads: http://renga-haikubanditsociety.blogspot.com . As usual, my inane comments are included.

    An edit of a previous candidate, for what its worth:

    our hands hover
    above the same fresh fruit
    Che on her t-shirt

    And hello to you, Ms Eiko! Guess what? It snowed again . . .

  50. John Carley says:

    Hello everybody, hmmn, this small working window is a problem for such a vast array of verses! Next time I’ll work as a text document then paste in whole.

    Anyway – pratfalls permitting below is a full list of hokku candidates in a more or less randomised order. Your task is to pick a shortlist of two, and post them, with your reasons. Given that we are all big boys and girls (and the hardest task of all for a sabaki is to pick one of their own verses in a ‘competitive’ situation) colleagues are cordially invited to include in that shortlist a candidate of their own if they see fit, or even both.

    Given that we are all over the globe I’ll give twenty four earth hours before moving to a decision.

    Thank you everybody for a positive riot of possibilities.

    Best wishes, John

    punching the photographer –
    the dictator’s wife
    lines up her diamond rings

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    moonlit dogs –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    old book
    marginal notations
    how do they dare?

    checking out
    the librarian looks up
    at a certain book

    in a good book
    someone else’s book-mark
    and phone number

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    netsuke…
    the hare with amber eyes
    jumps back in again

    Mogao caves–
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls itself a timepiece

    Two Lane Blacktop
    the hash markers go by
    in slow motion

    our hands hover
    above the same fresh fruit
    Che on her t-shirt

    ghost in the shell –
    learning to accept
    you make no sense

    a nee-naw box
    full of nee-naw things –
    global warming

    chrysanthemum scent –
    the untold manner of men
    Nara has known

    Saigon Cafe
    a refugee lucky cat
    waves to me

    mountain road
    the elephant offers
    this blessing

    more tea vicar?
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls into a timepiece

    high summer –
    sharks in mirror shades
    bask in the garden

    in cold hell
    in thicket – our ginko group
    picks blackberries

    reading Berryman–
    wind shuffles the grapevine’s
    wine colours

  51. Bill Dennis says:

    My two fav picks in order of preference are:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    Both of these appear to meet the requirement for a hokku to have stand-alone, haiku quality. Further, they both express a sense of entering into a situation. In the case of “earthquake season” there is the anxiety implicit in “earthquake” and nervous rolling. This is particularly relevant for the honored guest entering, perhaps for the first time, into the edifice of renku, and wishing to express humility at the earth-shaking honor.

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    “Dogs…” likewise seems of haiku-quality, but rather than engaging a sense immediate entry into the setting, it appears to exist in the moment just after, when the mischievous protagonist has already roused the neighbors (via their dogs) with his childish penny whistle. He is more of a defiant scamp than the humble protagonist of “earthquake season.” Perhaps that is appropriate to the “new junicho” setting. There is a flaw, it appears to me, in that the sort of supersonic whistle which annoys dogs while remaining inaudible to their human owners can not aptly be descriped as a “penny whistle,” which (to me) would be some crackerjack plastic toy appealing to a small boy, which the boy must, perforce, be able to hear. Not sure about this, but I think a dog whistle would cost quite a bit. Perhaps, “he slides a silent whistle,” but then, any whistle is silent in a pocket. I dunno.

    “Earthquake season” is my fav-de-la-fav.

  52. Claire says:

    Sorry to be such such an intruder, I just would like to know if this could be a hokku and considered as literature gendai (_as I refer to no author in particular_) If someone could tell (just to know) – Sorry, again…

    stream of consciousness
    he remembers those days of
    pushing doors open

  53. lorin says:

    Hi Claire,
    It’s probably better to email this sort of request to someone privately rather than post it here, but yes, in my opinion it’s a hokku in the sense that it’s a stand-alone verse, a haiku, & ‘stream of consciousness’ would count as a literary reference. I don’t think it’s particularly ‘gendai’, but I think that it’s difficult for us in the West to tell ‘gendai’ from not-gendai. Perhaps the fact that it doesn’t have a seasonal reference might make it ‘gendai’ in some people’s eyes. I’m not so sure, since many ‘gendai’ haiku contain kigo.

    – Lorin

  54. lorin says:

    Follow John’s prompt , these are my choices:

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    – Sandra

    As well as being an excellent haiku, strong in implication and with a clear caesura or kire, this can be read as a call having been made to the group (dogs/ us) so performing the traditional ‘greeting’ function of a hokku.

    Of my own, I’ll choose:

    in cold hell
    in thicket – our ginko group
    picks blackberries

    – Lorin

    This one is also a haiku with a clear caesura/kire, also performs the ‘greeting’ function of a hokku (ginko group/ us) and it incorporates a seasonal reference (picking blackberries) as well.

    cheers,
    Lorin

  55. Alan Summers says:

    Judging everything anonymously and not glancing at choices by others, and any comments, here is my selection:

    It was extremely difficult to narrow it down to two verses!

    I’ve selected two by others, two by myself.

    in a good book
    someone else’s book-mark
    and phone number

    I like the way the reader is immediately drawn into this filmic scene. It’s almost a pitch for a film at a studio meeting. I’m wondering what the book is, in a good way, and the play on a good reading book, and The Good Book itself, plied with a boo-mark of all things, and someone’s cellphone number. This is film-noir, and the gist of many a good film of many other genres.

    It’s also a starter verse that might, should, could, and will coax a reluctant or hesitant reader of renku inwards to the next plot scene, and stick with one of those madingly non-linear film narratives.

    And thus a great opener to a renku of this style that John and Ashley has prepared.

    a nee-naw box
    full of nee-naw things –
    global warming

    You don’t have to know what nee-naw is at all, it’s even better if you don’t because you can find its own relevant meaning to you. It’s very Doctor Strangelove and Major T. J. “King” Kong riding the bomb, even if it’s climate change, and lastly for now, because it’s not yet opened, it’s very much Pandora’s Box. Very much like renku in fact.

    Mogao caves–
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls itself a timepiece

    Will this renku be like Plato’s cave? That’s possibly the challenge of every renku. And what is the mystery of the hare, with its amber eyes, travelling through locales and time? The middle line is also a literary reference in that it’s the title of the famous book by Edmund de Waal:

    “Where have they been? In which room and in what light? He notices that the one in his hand sits on his palm like a “small, tough explosion of exactitude”. exactitude…The miracle of this book is that, by the end, we do learn the itinerant life of this collection.”

    Isn’t renku a collection, and one of an itinerant life, going from place to place, culture to culture, one side of the globe to the next?

    more tea vicar?
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls into a timepiece

    Alice in Wonderland is now a book with a timestamp of a book of a timestamp of a certain culture in a certain time of a fictional storyline with its own mythology leading into film after film, animation and songs by the Beatles.

    Each character in the Alice book has become iconic in itself, and the hare itself has morphed from this book into many other characters in literature too.

    Isn’t renku a little like “more tea vicar?” Isn’t its joy of travel quite Betjeman [More Tea, Vicar? is also a theatre revue piece] who embraced travel and architecture, rescuing perhaps one of my favourite place in the world, St Pancras.

    Hokku is like the train station itself, and each successive verse its train and in-between stations.

    Alan

  56. sandra says:

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    Ahem.

    Okay, so it’s one of mine but …

    The contrast between the “rough” music of the dogs and the human’s penny whistle; the small allusion to the Pied Piper. Starting something (in this case, the junicho) at night hints that it’s a little risky (risque?), maybe a has a certain touch of piracy about it. Also, gosh darn it, this is an accessible verse. I’m anticipating our readers (and me) will be reaching for Google plenty during the course of this poem so although it’s a small homage to Paul Simon, it is possible to “get it” without knowing that.

    Umm, actually that’s me done.

  57. sandra says:

    Okay, maybe second thoughts are good too – the only thing I’m not sure about with “dogs in the night” is a clear season to fix the start of the junicho. For me, it’s summer but that may just be because I wrote it … and it’s summer! 🙂

    My other choice is:

    Saigon Cafe
    a refugee lucky cat
    waves to me

    (dogs, cats … whatever next … oh yes, elephants, hares, sharks …)

    I like the hope that’s inherent in this one. I suppose any refugee outside an internment camp could be said to be “lucky”. Anywhere is better than where they were.

    “Saigon Cafe” gives us a good back story with just 2 words. Again though, no obvious season, although “lucky” and “waves” leads me to “spring”. There’s also implied colour (red), movement (waves) and implied scents (cafe). Clever.

  58. ashleycapes says:

    Geeze, this is tough indeed, I have it down to four after much internal debate, but here are two that I like a lot

    more tea vicar?
    the hare with amber eyes
    curls into a timepiece

    and

    our hands hover
    above the same fresh fruit
    Che on her t-shirt

    The ‘hare’ because of the rich material around Alice and because the question is fascinating to me, as I’ve seen very few hokku start such, and I like that touch.

    And ‘Che’ because it has captured a moment all right, the subtle political nod and the very human and natural part where two people reach for the same fruit. Classic.

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with John!

  59. willie says:

    # 80:

    Good morning, people. Yes, its morning here – the pool of testosterone accumulated in by skull is slowly metastisizing back throughout my now upright body, making it far less likely I’ll hurt myself with the keyboard, or worse yet, have three small fifteen pound dogs revolt and turn on me in a dervish of gnashing teeth and claws, (I hear Cavalier Spaniels can be especially vicious when they finally turn) much like the renku sessions when i lead my American friends.

    Which leads me to

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    Golly, but that is pure. Such clean lines – as an aside, I almost imagine a slide whistle for some reason, I don’t know why – maybe because I expect our lead to be more provocative, for some reason, Lord knows I try to impress, but Sandra does it standing on her head, Antipodal puns aside . . . reminds me that I do things ass-backwards so often for trying too hard.

    A question remains however: should the lead verse start us off with a bang? I mean this is a short Junicho; should we aspire to be so clever? I often live in a movie of my own making, or some sort of theater of the psyche, yet so often I am proven wrong, late to the start of the big picture, only to catch the plot of you particular characters later in the intermission.

    Two Lane Blacktop
    the hash markers go by
    in slow motion

    ghost in the shell –
    learning to accept
    you make no sense

    Perhaps these two fit the bill for reference to modern literature, or should I say entertainment, Two Lane Black Top being a title from a relatively obscure American movie. A haunting scene that, the lonely protaganist traveling across the entire U.S. literally mounted atop a supercharged ’56 Chevy, unassumedly defeating all challengers with his powerful totem, only to discover he just can’t win the girl, find true love and meaning in life, an endless quest for redemption from such a shallow life. You had to see it . . .

    But that ain’t the point of renku, is it? This is a collaborative effort, one of friendship, tempered by hard knocks, dissappointment sometimes, with a hopefulness of a final celebratory verse as the outcome, job well done, captured the swag, blew some minds on the way, everybody’s happy . . .

    Look, I’ve gotta bail – enough of this hornswaggling chatter. I’d love to stay and comment on so many fine verses, I’m not lying to you . . .

    Pithy, that ‘Ghost’, descriptive of the process, a subtle anticipation of the pain and pleasure yet to be endured and revered, we bricks in the wall, ‘if we all work together as a team’. (Pink Floyd)

  60. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    Sandra (cat: shasei)

    Hi everybody, this is our hokku – not least on the grounds Bill gives above. I also love the expression ‘earthquake season’ – so appropriate for a sequence which is not organised around the seasons! The overiding reason for my decision is that this verse is most definitely ‘stand alone’ (c.f. JP: ‘tateku). This is a haiku/hokku in which there are multiplex layers of synergy between the vast and the specific. It is beautifully voiced and makes no attempt to satisfy the dubious demands of conventional visual symmetry.

    My other short listed verse was:

    Two Lane Blacktop
    the hash markers go by
    in slow motion

    which has multiple layers of spatio-temporal movement. As a Vanishing Point nut I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t even seen the film (but just found it on YouTube). I had to Google hash marks before I was sure they were used for. Brit-fact: did you know that Britain has more surveillence cameras than the rest of the European Union put together?

    The sheer weight of consensus obliged me to return to this stanza and ask me why I han’t also shortlisted it:

    dogs in the night –
    he slides a penny whistle
    into his pocket

    I think it may be the pronoun which is one unknown too far. Hmmn, so would it be better (by my lights) as first person? Perhaps not. Perhaps my gut feeling was that for such an innovative exercise I wanted to go with a hokku predicated less on intangibles.

    One think I did notice was that for some reason the candidates that relied heavily on extratextual reference seemed less approachable. But this may simply be conservatism on my part – pure lack of imagination.

    Ok, here it is again. Then I’ll make a comment about verse #2.

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    In the same way that this verse is a conventional hokku (if we smudge over ideas of kigo) then I’d like to approach verse #2 as a conventional wakiku. The element ‘waki’ means to flank/buttress/support – and that’s what I believe we should do: generate a tight pairing with a relatively underplayed supporting verse.

    I have a suspicion that a topic area from the ‘cultural’ category might provide the frame for our wakiku; our working strictures disbar another ‘shasei’ verse here, and I think a ‘gendai’ verse might be too loud.

    This, as with all, is a competitive verse position.

    Allez les gars! John

  61. willie says:

    Kowalski?
    Are you out there, man?

    This started out as a joke, but in the immortal words of Robert Plant,

    Cough! . . . yeah, leave i’ . . .

    That’s Cleavon Little reciting, as the blind “negro” DJ in a southwestern U.S. redneck town, the only soul brother who understands, the plaintive words over the air and penetrating the ether, to the protaganist Kowalski, ex-cop, race car driver and general roust-a-bout, driving delivery of a Dodge Challenger Hemi motored muscle car, hell bent for leather across the dusty, barren deserts, high on speed and eschewing the “system” and the “Man” that keeps us all down, bro’, he don’t care, beat that f’in’ machine , man, go Kowalski, set us all free, baby!

    Oh, dear me, what is it with Americans and their cars and the endless highways? Shades of Mad Max . . . freedom, baby, freedom.

    • lorin says:

      Good morning, Willie. . . . petrol heads! Though once, a long time ago, I was taken with Dennis Hopper. . . a good actor, too. ah, it’s all comin’ back to me.

      …exit into a flashback, gotta find my Jefferson Airplane.

      – Lorin

  62. lorin says:

    Congratulations, Sandra, it is indeed a very good hokku/ haiku and straight shasei, too, with the true feel of the real!

    (I’ve been following the Christchurch earthquake and its aftermaths…tragic, devastating)

    – Lorin

  63. lorin says:

    …my offers for the wakiku:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    too many shadows
    on groundhog day

    cat: film; Nth American popular culture

    haley & the comets
    still boppin’ along

    cat: music

    deep in the mountain
    the ring’s secret

    cat: Lit; film

    – Lorin

  64. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    the horse is screaming still
    in Guernica

    cat: cultural / art

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    cat: cultural / music

    my loving tree has bourne
    the strangest fruit

    cat: cultural / music

  65. willie says:

    a different version to my original offer:

    Kowalski . . . are you out there?

  66. Bill Dennis says:

    Here’s my offering:

    from election-night rubble
    a poster gives the glad hand

    (Politics–there’s quite a bit of wreckage from our last election)

    steady hand steady eye
    sketching landscap from a skiff

    (Art–yes, Art was a good friend of mine)

    the cathedral un-perturbed
    rings only its smallest bell

    (Religion–thinking of the Catholic church’s response to the ever-renewing child-abuse scandal)

  67. sandra says:

    Thanks for the wamr comments, all. I’ll sit this one out I think.

  68. John Carley says:

    hmmn, looks like everyone’s caught my sydlszix ia ! J

    ps – Alan – whackykoo?

  69. willie says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    too many shadows
    on groundhog day

    cat: film; Nth American popular culture

    haley & the comets
    still boppin’ along

    cat: music

    deep in the mountain
    the ring’s secret

    cat: Lit; film

    Kowalski . . . are you out there?

    Kowalski?
    Are you out there, man?

    (film)

    the horse is screaming still
    in Guernica

    cat: cultural / art

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    cat: cultural / music

    my loving tree has bourne
    the strangest fruit

    cat: cultural / music

    from election-night rubble
    a poster gives the glad hand

    (Politics)

    steady hand steady eye
    sketching landscape from a skiff

    (Art)

    the cathedral un-perturbed
    rings only its smallest bell

    (Religion)

    Insert Big Al here –

  70. haikutec says:

    My verse candidates for:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    for the eighth album
    of Pearl Jam

    Cat. Culture sub-topic: music:

    “Estado Libre y Soberano
    de Puebla” Baby!

    Cat. Culture with sub-topics: natural history; State independence; Film

    the testicle tree
    and tests of a cheap motel room

    Cat. Culture: sub-topics: Natural History; Sexual Education: Plain Sex; and further down topic: libido

    Alan aka Big Al aka Big Man (Glasgow slang)

  71. willie says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    too many shadows
    on groundhog day

    cat: film; Nth American popular culture

    haley & the comets
    still boppin’ along

    cat: music

    deep in the mountain
    the ring’s secret

    cat: Lit; film

    Kowalski . . . are you out there?

    Kowalski?
    Are you out there, man?

    (film)

    the horse is screaming still
    in Guernica

    cat: cultural / art

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    cat: cultural / music

    my loving tree has bourne
    the strangest fruit

    cat: cultural / music

    from election-night rubble
    a poster gives the glad hand

    (Politics)

    steady hand steady eye
    sketching landscape from a skiff

    (Art)

    the cathedral un-perturbed
    rings only its smallest bell

    (Religion)

    for the eighth album
    of Pearl Jam

    Cat. Culture sub-topic: music:

    “Estado Libre y Soberano
    de Puebla” Baby!

    Cat. Culture with sub-topics: natural history; State independence; Film

    the testicle tree
    and tests of a cheap motel room

    Cat. Culture: sub-topics: Natural History; Sexual Education: Plain Sex; and further down topic: libido

  72. mary white says:

    Hi Ashley. This new Junicho looks really interesting but the proof is in the pudding. I would like to be in the second one please

  73. mary white says:

    Can you email me please ans i’m not familiar with navigating this site

  74. Claire says:

    Sounds really great. Can’t help asking for a place if there is still place…
    Barbara, Genevieve, Mary, Ashley, ???

  75. kala says:

    Would love to join in too.
    Guess I’m too late?
    _kala

  76. ashleycapes says:

    Hi mary, Claire & kala! I certainly hope there will be a second ‘new’ Junicho – how about I e-mail you each with where we are at the Snail. As you would have seen, this Junicho is full, but I have existing lists for other renku on the site. I’ll add you to them.
    Here’s a link showing everyone who has signed up so far

    https://issassnail.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/call-for-renkujin-the-snail-reopens/

    And am working on an updated version, which I will e-mail and post soon

  77. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    —–

    hokku (shasei) Sandra
    wakiku (cult: music) John

    Hi everybody, this is our opening pair. ‘Pair’ being the key word. So much is unconventional about this sequence that I am keen to retain as much contact with the source genre as possible. It is notable that very many of the candidates, though excellent in themselves, already ‘broke away’ strongly from the hokku – a feature more reflective of daisan (verse #3) than wakiku (verse #2). Either that or, as was the case with my other two offerings, they were perhaps too ‘strong’ – too challenging for this early in a sequence which might still be expected to show that notions of jo-ha-kyu are independant on other conventional features of renku – that they have an intrinsic validity.

    So, we have a relatively conventional and understated opening pair with good synergies of language between them such as earth/air; roll/wave; avocado;curve etc. I feel that in this poem, more than ever, a sensitivity to the wider ‘poetics of utterance’ will be key to success.

    To Daisan, and an admission. I’m almost certain that of the proposed strictures at the head of our page “No two verses of the same category may appear as a pair” is one that arose from my promptings in discussion with Ashley. It is a mistake; it is aesthetically wrong and, taken together with other suggested strictures, logically impossible (at least I think so: I’ve been moving coloured squares around in my head, and it wasn’t good!). So I propose to abandon it forthwith.

    It may very well be that Daisan works best as a further verse from the cultural category. Although if this is the case I do not believe it can direclty name check a work as does wakiku with Terry Riley’s ‘Rainbow in Curved Air’. The function of Daisan is to break away – which won’t be a problem in terms of topic or tone I’m sure, but I would ask colleagues to be as mindful of how the verse is voices as of what it says. With all this novelty around it is perhaps rather too easy to forget that in any style of renku the topic of the verse is the scaffold only.

    All verse positions in the poem are formally ‘competitive’.

    Right, I’m off to Sheffield for a Crust Punk/Metal gig.

    The things we do for love!

    Best wishes, John

    the cathedral un-perturbed
    rings only its smallest bell

    • ashleycapes says:

      Excellent explanation, John – I think you’re right about the need to for our renku to keep the sense of familiar, and having a waki that flanks the hokku is perfect for that.

      I’m going to remove that item from our guidelines above too, in case the team is referencing it.

      Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with for the daisan, as I feel that without the more moderate opening pair you’ve chosen, it would be incredibly difficult for the daisan to leap off.

    • willie says:

      Good to hear everyone’s out and about.

  78. John Carley says:

    Damn, sorry folks, I had intended to comment on the Cathedral candidate – which was the alternative choice for wakiku. But I think from my general comments above you’ll see why it felt so eligible – underplayed, balanced, tightly linked.

    Best wishes, John

  79. lorin says:

    …getting what I can in now, as I won’t be around tomorrow until possibly too late:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air – John

    a world of mirrors
    for this Bodhisattva
    of the data banks

    cat: politics; technology; Lit.

    etched deeply
    into a god’s face
    the human touch

    cat: art; archaeology

    through sounds of water
    in a unit bathroom
    the scream

    cat: art; Lit

    – Lorin

  80. willie says:

    come with uncle
    and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets
    and devil trombones.

    (cult: film)

  81. Bill Dennis says:

    Here’s what I’ve got:

    doodling in tongues
    laser-light illuminates
    the family Bible

    (category: religion)

    strict funkaholic
    the beauticulture museum
    fried hair exhibit

    (category: art)

    wind warping
    the bushwa
    from the back row

    (category: film, [i.e. The Last Air Bender], or literature, [i.e. Épater la bourgeoisie or épater le bourgeois is a French phrase that became a rallying cry for the French Decadent poets of the late 19th century including Baudelaire. It means to shock the middle classes or the bourgeoisie.])

  82. lorin says:

    A quick good morning to all.

    I think that if we’re doing allusion, Bill’s idea of giving a few clues to us all about what the intended allusions refer to is a good idea. After all, we’re different individuals with different life backgrounds, interests and experiences and our minds probably don’t all work the same way in regard to allusion.

    So, for mine, posted of the wee hours of this morning:

    1. ‘a world of mirrors’ – a)Julian Assange, of wikileaks and the mirror sites that spring up to keep the certain data accessible to the public. A SF story by Roger Zelazney, in which one character (not the heroine) gained a different sort of control of internet data and used it for secret control of world affairs, titled 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai .

    2. ‘etched deeply’ – (or ‘carved’, ‘gouged’ are alternatives) – one of the the cave carvings found in Lene Hara cave, Timor, dating back to the Pleistocene. Timor is not far from the Northern West Coast of Australia.

    3. ‘through sounds of water’ – a) the most widely known of Basho’s haiku. b) a gendai haiku by Ami Tanaka. c) Edvard Munch’s most well-known painting.

    – Lorin

  83. willie says:

    Earlier, in haste to run out the door, accidently clicked this quote in – needs trimmin’!

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air – John

    angel trumpets
    and devil trombones;
    gravity all nonsense now

    (cat. – lit./film)

  84. haikutec says:

    running late
    the final catcher’s big watch
    strikes twelve

    cat. Culture: Sequoyah’s syllabary: sub-topic, language and law

    the quantum mechanic
    replaces horse-power
    with cat-power

    cat. quantum theory and popular culture; sub-topic The Copenhagen interpretation

    a shrinking violet
    joins a legion of heroes
    and vies for attention

    Cat: Popular Culture: sub-topic: Comics: Legion of Super-Heroes

  85. ashleycapes says:

    Just letting everyone know that Sandra is having problems accessing wordpress blogs at the moment and that she’ll be back as soon as possible!

  86. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    After quite a while of dealing with the help desk (several phone calls but she was actrually trying to be helpful) I resorted to the oldest of IT tricks. Switch it off (at the wall) and back on again … and it worked! Whew.

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that S

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air J

    putting it into cruise control
    for the badlands,
    Kansas here we come

    cat: film/contemp culture (The Wizard of Oz; Dust Bowl exodus)

    Dorothy is a drunkard
    but the Tin Man’s
    got a great steampunk blog

    Cat: film/contemp culture (Wizard of Oz/steampunk/blogging)

    knocking back
    another smiley-face pill she stares
    at Billy Apple’s apples

    Cat: contemp culture/art (drugs/emoticons/Billy Apple http://radicalart.info/things/copied/index.html)

  87. sandra says:

    It’s a good idea to express the source contents of our ku, so thanks for that.

    I also wonder if, because of the wide-ranging and esoteric subject matter, we need to briefly note how the candidate ku link to the previous ku … or am I teaching John to suck eggs (contemp. culture – simile)?

  88. willie says:

    Oh, Sandra,

    the Badlands are in South Dakota! Kansas is south, next to Missouri (my home state).
    I’m not rebuking you, since it is after all “flyover” land, the Midwest, i.e.

    Now you take North Dakota (please!), central to the U.S. (I thought Kansas was?). They put the S.A.G. (Strategic Air Command) there – twelve minute lead time before the ICBM’s from the Russkies would hit, allowing us time to retaliate, get our B-52’s in the air, destroy the world, MAD, (mutually assured destruction) . Believe you me, It certainly made me feel secure as a grade-schoooler practicing diving under the desk knowing we had that capability! Sure would like to visit the missile silos in Minot, though (wouldn’t want to live there).

    Me Da’ was born up there, his mother and father transposed Ioweigians , they . . .oop!erm . . . urp – i feel a verse coming on . . .

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima / the light over Hiroshima

  89. willie says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that – Sandra

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air – John

    angel trumpets
    and devil trombones;
    gravity all nonsense now

    Oh, yes, the allusion:

  90. sandra says:

    Hey Willie,

    Not to be picky, but there are badlands all over North America, this from Wikipedia:

    “Some of the best-known badland formations can be found in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., Makoshika State Park in Montana, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and Badlands National Park in South Dakota together form a series of extensive badland formations. Another popular area of badland formations is Toadstool Geologic Park in the Oglala National Grassland of northwestern Nebraska. Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah are also badlands settings. A small badland called Hell’s Half-Acre is present in Natrona County, Wyoming. Additional badlands also exist in various places throughout southwest Wyoming, such as near Pinedale and in the Bridger Valley near the towns of Lyman and Mountain View, near the high Uintah Mountains.

    The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan, Canada gained notoriety as a hideout for outlaws. There is a large badland area in Alberta, Canada, particularly in the valley of the Red Deer River where Dinosaur Provincial Park is located. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta.”

    Okay, so none in Kansas! Darn poetic licence.

    The one I actually had in mind was in Alberta, as mentioned above. We were driving (using cruise control) back to Calgary from the dinosaur museum – the city made me think of nothing but the Emerald City, all glass skyscrapers rising from the plain.

    I will rewrite that ku.

  91. sandra says:

    In light of Willie’s remarks above, which I did answer re badlands all over – but not in Kansas! -but the answer seems to be lost to the ether, I’d like to rework 2 of my submitted ku:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that S

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air J

    putting it into cruise control
    for the badlands,
    Emerald City here we come

    cat: film/contemp culture (The Wizard of Oz) nb: Alberta badlands

    each noon the Tin Man
    updates his steampunk blog
    while Dorothy sleeps it off

    cat: film/contemp culture (The Wizard of Oz)

  92. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    hokku – Sandra [cat: shasei]
    wakiku – John [cat: cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cat: cultural – politics]

    remaining:
    4x Cultural [Topics: lit, art, religion, film]
    3x Shasei
    2x Gendai

    Hi everybody, we have our first three verses.

    In a recent poem I attempted to use the phrase ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’. The verse was not successful. A discussion ensued as to whether Aushwitz or Bergen-Belsen were simply so ghastly that they must necessarily overwhelm a poem. I think Willie has settled the points at issue.

    Above I have seperated names, categories and (for ‘cultural’) sub-topics from the text. Our poem must stand in its own right irrespective of who has written what. By the same token I believe that additional information as to linkage style, extra textual context, authorial intention etc belongs to the realms of academic exegesis, or at least to post-facto technical analysis. If our readers cannot access our work without supporting information I am not at all sure that it can be considered as poetry, although it may still be literature. I don’t think we need to know about Willie’s proximity to the silo’s, or the Strontium 90 in my own bones, to understand that ‘moon’ reflects ‘sun’, or that rainbows were supposed to be a promise.

    #4 is a challenge. Do we ‘harden’ the implications of #3, or subvert them? The only thing I’m pretty sure of is that now is not the time for a ‘spectacular’ – this is not the place for something very showy in style or structure.

    General renku technique suggests that the ‘surface’ content probably needs to move some distance from earth/air/moon, and specific human, or just possibly, animal protagonists are indicated.

    Hmmn, thinking as I type – these considerations, and the fact that we’ve had two ‘cutlural’ in a row, may indicate that a relatively down played ‘shasei’ verse is indicated.

    But that is ‘may be’.

    We stay competitive, though the chance of me picking another verse from Willie at #4 is vanishingly close to zero.

    Hmmmn, how very interesting.

    Best wishes, John

  93. willie says:

    I’ll be under my desk until beckoned.

  94. Bill Dennis says:

    Here goes!

    old women at the bus stop
    all grown tan from waiting

    the young x-ray tech wears
    a St. Christopher medal

    in the big-box store’s shadow
    sunflowers face toward the sun

  95. John Carley says:

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    —–

    my daughter
    takes me to a shushi bar [cat: shasei]

    my frog pond is a frog pond
    nothing more [cat: shasei]

    my busy busy busy
    busy street [cat: shasei | gendai?]

  96. lorin says:

    ” By the same token I believe that additional information as to linkage style, extra textual context, authorial intention etc belongs to the realms of academic exegesis, or at least to post-facto technical analysis. If our readers cannot access our work without supporting information I am not at all sure that it can be considered as poetry, although it may still be literature.” – John

    Hi John…agreed, but my reference to “a few clues to us all about what the intended allusions refer to” was intended only for us, the participants here. I’ll admit to cultural ignorance as far as your wakiku went, until you mentioned Terry Riley’s ‘Rainbow in Curved Air’.

    Do we have a ‘disaster’ motif, natural and man made, going on between the hokku and daisan? Interesting in context of the Yokahama earthquake and burning in the ’20s that led to the military ascendancy in Japan, that led to Japan’s military ‘outreach’ policy in WW2, that led to…

    Here are my submissions for #4:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima


    that blue note
    play it again, Sam

    cat. – film

    the sparrow sings
    and the canary

    cat. – music or shasei

    a blues harp
    for a three dog night

    cat. – Lit.

    Macquarie Dictionary of Australian slang :
    three-dog night
    noun – a very cold night. [from the practice of bushmen of sleeping with their dogs; the colder the night, the more dogs needed]

    An Australian novel with this title, by Peter Goldsworthy.

    – Lorin

  97. lorin says:

    …amendment :

    a blues harp
    for a three dog night

    cat. – Lit. , cultural or shasei

    – Lorin

  98. Alan Summers says:

    a change in the rabbit’s coat
    as it leaps to new cover

    Cat. Shasei topic: Natural History parallel topic: Cultural sub-topics Art & Literature

    a woodblock artist’s cartoon
    is destroyed for him

    Cat. Shasei topic: Cultural: Art, and pre-cursor to current nuclear (family) literature e.g. manga

    a cup of twig tea
    leaves a bitter aftertaste

    Cat. shasei, topic: Food/drink sub-topic: health parallel topic: tea ceremony

    • willie says:

      a change in the rabbit’s coat
      as it leaps to new cover

      historically, Japanese have been quick to adapt to new culture – “from now on I’m going to put aside my childish thoughts and become a ‘shishi’ {a man of high purpose} Yoshida Shoin 1865
      American interventionism influenced the Meiji Restoration, The fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, etc.

      a woodblock artist’s cartoon
      is destroyed for him

      anti-shogun-ite “propaganda”? Meiji the Emperor was maybe a puppet king; a sixteen year-old front for the the Chrysanthemum stamp-wielding “new breed” samurai behind the scenes.

      a cup of twig tea
      leaves a bitter aftertaste

      It seemed Corporate Japan owned New York and other American holdings/property late in the 20th century. At least, that was the fear and resentment.

  99. sandra says:

    Hello all,

    Willie the Champ!*

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    can I squeeze
    one more scone out?

    shasei

    birthday visit to the model shop
    the planes older than he is

    shasei

    quickly filling with fog
    the saint’s iron halo

    cultural (religion)

    *Kids’ book by English writer/illustrator Anthony Browne.

    • willie says:

      . . . check’s in the mail.

      Ilike these:

      can I squeeze out
      one more scone?

      the swallow sings
      and the canary

      Daughter takes me
      to the sushi bar

      in shadows of the big-box store
      flowers face the sun

      a cup of twig tea
      leaves a bitter taste

      abbreviated, American style . . . (what’s the big rush?)

  100. sandra says:

    or maybe that should be:

    one more scone?
    yeah, why not

  101. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    [provisional]

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]

    remaining:
    4x Cultural [Topics: lit, art, religion, film]
    2x Shasei
    2x Gendai

    Hi everybody, many thanks for yet another fantastic range of options. Which being the case, what excuse have I got for meddling?

    a cup of twig tea
    leaves a bitter aftertaste

    The core semantics of this verse are perfectly adapted to the very difficult task of taking the poem on from Daisan: they remark and recontextualise without seeking to amplify or challenge. In terms of emotive impact I think it is absolutely crucial to have a verse here that slips by almost unremarked, and a part of this is structural. When I read Alan’s draft I experience a very slight syllable over-run (c.f. jiamari) – which is itself in part a product of the fact that the opening sequence has such a good metrical balance (assuming such things to be important).

    OK, so *if* a redraft is to be considered, any other considerations? Yes. As I remarked in the notes above, the person/place considerations of general renku theory (c.f. ji-ta-ba) would point us in the direction of a person verse here. Alan’s draft would probably be considered one such, albeit indirect (c.f. ashirai), if we’re going to redraft then perhaps hardening that up makes sense. Hence my first person pronoun.

    Last consideration: the verb ‘leaves’ can only work after a line break, otherwise it tends to read as a compound noun: twig tea leaves

    Comments please.

    When writing a conventional Junicho the season and topic choices exercised early on progressively define, delimit and narrow the options for later in the poem. I’m starting to sense that this is happening with the structure of our poem too. But let’s settle the text of #4 before speculating further. I’ll answer a couple of direct queries on a seperate post.

    Best wishes, John

    • ashleycapes says:

      I’m a fan of the re-write, John and I think this comment gave me some excellent insight into the link & the overall structure of the renku

      re: the daisan “they remark and recontextualise without seeking to amplify or challenge”

      Another thought on the overall progress of the verses, I’m interested to see where the gendai will fit best. Would the be more effective spread apart within the 12 verses? Or kinda within earshot of one another? Because I imagine the gendai verses almost as a pair of jokers in a deck (perhaps wrongfully?) I’m really looking forward to seeing where they pop up.

  102. John Carley says:

    Hi all, if you’ve just experienced some phantom comments from me – sorry. I think I’ve cleaned up the posts now!

    Lorin writes in part: my reference to “a few clues to us all about what the intended allusions refer to” was intended only for us, the participants here

    It’s a conundrum alright. And I used to be an advocate of exactly that. But for myself the only way to be certain that artistic responses are not based on the exclusive extra context is, like the reader, to not have sight of it.

    I think at the core of this is the status of the cultural reference. If it is the sole vehicle for the linkage then it is of course crucial that it is understood. If it is an enhancement to the linkage then the reader can still appreciate the poem even if they miss a specific reference, or two. And of course at back of this are a huge raft of issues about the ‘vertical axis’ in international and intercultural writing. Bottom line – hopefully our hokku and wakiku work together even if one doesn’t know that Terry Riley made extensive use of cascading arpeggios.

    Lorin writes in part: Do we have a ‘disaster’ motif, natural and man made, going on between the hokku and daisan?

    I don’t believe so. ‘Cataclysm’ was the word playing in my mind. And if such were the surface content of each verse then yes, I think we’d have a problem of ‘return’ (c.f. uchikoshi no kirai). But I don’t believe that this is the way our readers will experience the sequence, thanks in no small part to the absolutely crucial effect of #4 in moving us smoothly on.

    Best wishes, John

  103. Alan Summers says:

    Hi,

    The rewrite of my twig tea is fine by me. I recognised it had to be as quiet as possible, an invisible bridge, and glad it has that possibility. 😉

    Alan

  104. lorin says:

    “Comments please.” – John
    a cup of twig tea
    leaves a bitter aftertaste
    to:
    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    Yes, the revised version works better, both in context of the renku and in itself, imo. The original could be read as a general statement.

    (along the lines of ‘a bushfire leaves a burnt landscape’, ‘ a pint of Grappa makes a happy man’ and the like)

    – Lorin

  105. John Carley says:

    Flying visit – thanks for your generosity Alan. And thanks for the very suggestive remarks too Lorin, in which I’m reminded of notions of ‘sufficiency’ and ‘insufficiency’ as applied to haiku theory by… erm, Jim Kacian amongst others.

    Please keep the comments coming, team. As for me, one thing is certain about Ashley’s radical approach to renku – it’s every bit as demanding as a conventional one!

    btw – I know for a fact that he’s open to suggestions for naming this new type of 12 verse sequence. So get the lateral thinking going.

    Best wishes, John

    • ashleycapes says:

      Absolutely! Ideas are most welcome re: potential names for this sequence

    • Bill Dennis says:

      More seriously, as a possible name, given that the sequence of seasons and topics which shape any renku is altered (and it really does not matter what the precise alterations are, variations are possible), perhaps this might be called an “New Sequence” junicho. Of course, the process might equally well be applied in any form of renku–kasen, shisan, etc.

  106. lorin says:

    …just to let you know: I’ll be off now, and won’t have internet access again until very late tonight, when I’ll probably be too tired to read anyway. I’ll check in again tomorrow morning, around the usual time. If this is likely to hold anything up to do with the next verse, please just go ahead without me.

    – Lorin

  107. ashleycapes says:

    I think John has explained something about the ‘cultural verses’ beautifully. Obviously the readability of a poem is important, and so the cultural literacy of any given reader will imapact on whatever we create here.

    But if the cultural referents contain delicious ‘extra’ linkage to an already well-linked pair, we are certainly in luck as readers!

  108. willie says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    despite all the whispers
    the elephant
    joins our table (culture:lit/.gendai)

  109. sandra says:

    Quick question to sabaiki:

    Does “rainbow” in v2 mean we can’t use the names of colours in other verses? Any colours or just Roy G Biv?

    Thanks.

  110. John Carley says:

    Sandra writes: Does “rainbow” in v2 mean we can’t use the names of colours in other verses? Any colours or just Roy G Biv?

    Well you had me head scratching with Red Green Blue for a minute Sandra. Which is not easy when one is also chewing the carpet. Why? Well, there aren’t lampposts high enough from which to string the ‘if blue no tangerine’ brigade – hell, we’ve already had ‘avocado’!

    These ‘rules’ are almost all plucked out of the air by persons struggling to legitimise – I don’t know what really, their self-hatred perhaps. There’s a long and probably unreadable exegesis of all this stuff on Renku Reckoner called ‘Occurrence and Recurrence’ (it took me seven years to write). At its simplest the argument is that the function of the historically acreted repetition criteria is to avoid the reader thinking; ‘Hang on, we’ve just been talking about that’.

    So the appearance of ‘rainbow’ would, in such a short poem as ours, be likely to make colour references like ‘prism’, ‘photochromatic’, and ‘refraction pattern’ a problem anywhere else in the poem.

    Clearly we wouldn’t want a load of verses (or inter-verse links) predicated on straightforward colour references either, but that’s just bad writing in just about any genre that works on progression rather than refrain.

    Forgive me Sandra, it is not my intention to appear rude – specially to a person who has courteously raised the query in the first place. But if I ever get my hands on the person who first uttered the word ‘backlink’…

    Ashley writes in part: ‘po-mo-cho’. Or should have. He’s clearly been at the carpets too! Anyway, on the subject of naming: ‘junicho’ means ‘twelve tone’, as in Schoenberg. I keep wondering what other ‘twelves’ we have which might serve as referants?

    Best wishes, John

    • sandra says:

      Thanks, John. Just the answer I needed. I’d missed “avocado” as a colour, but as soon as you mentioned visions of 70s bathroom suites popped into mind. I had a friend with an eye-boggling green shirt (ruffle down the front) which he insisted wasn’t green, but “pistachio”. Ah, the 80s. Mind you, he was from Lancashire!

  111. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – shasei
    #6 – cultural
    #7 – gendai
    #8 – gendai

    Hi everybody, with particular thanks to Alan we have our first four. As indicated above I’m also fairly sure of where our next verses need to go in terms of category and tone etc.

    #5 and #6 ideally become increasingly ‘prominent’ whilst retaining the tightly balanced cadences of our opening. #7 and #8 are both topically, tonaly and structurally innovative – this is where the maximum overt ‘challenge’ to the readers’ expectations occurs. #9 – #11 then draw the reading back towards recognised ground, with #12 providing a classic ageku ‘payoff’. In sum, I am proposing a relatively conventional application of the jo-ha-kyu pattern of performance as applied to renku by the Basho school.

    So, to #5. Ideally this is drawn from personal experience and relatively free of extratextual dependencies. Thanks to Alan’s nicely judged #4, #5 will not need to strive overly for effect. In terms of linkage – it can loosen (in a way almost like a ‘daisan’ part two) – specially if we keep the way it is voiced tight.

    Last thought: because ‘moon’ at #3 is so redolent of ‘autumn’ in the source genre we might need to be sensitive to seasonal references in #5 in order to avoid that ‘just been there’ feeling. Maybe.

    We are competitive.

    Best wishes, John

  112. Bill Dennis says:

    Here’s me. If read aloud, keep the voicing tight.

    a seventh instar
    chewing carpet inkle
    youthful appetite
    (shasei, summer)

    shouted words
    the stunned mouth
    left open
    (shasei, no season)

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed
    (shasei, no season)

  113. Alan Summers says:

    Punk Junicho:

    Although on a light note, it’s intriguing that if this is twelve tone, then there is another precedence of where classic form meets new form aka punk:

    “It has been not unreasonably argued that Arnold Schoenberg was the first punk because his 12-tone system introduced atonality to modern Western music.”
    Brian Burks

    Just a thought,

    Alan

  114. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    (a) dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – topics remaining: lit, art, religion, film]
    #7 – gendai
    #8 – gendai

    Stop right there! I know I said this is supposed to be a competive position. But Bill hasn’t featured yet, and it is not possible to better this verse. Equal it, maybe, but not better it.

    Bill, everybody – does the indefinite article at the head of line one help to force two equally heavy stresses on ‘dead’ and ‘roach’? Or does it just detract? I honestly don’t know myself, need to come back fresh to see it.

    Lorin, unless you’d prefer to go competitive I’d like to reserve #6 for you. I just thought that someting succinct and ascerbic would be right up your street!! Ideally something that draws on lit, art, religion, or film.

    Wow, this is moving at a pace. And it’s a revelation too – personally I have never smoked an insect.

    Best wishes, John

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Articles are always questionable and I wondered about it myself. Just now I think the link would be better without. I don’t mind someone else with a better link being put in here…, or anywhere. If I don’t have a link chosen at all for inclusion in this junicho, I’ll be very satisfied just to have participated. It’s really very much fun.

  115. lorin says:

    Good Morning, everyone,

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed – Bill

    This gave me my first smile for the day 😉 I think the renku definitely needed a touch of humour after the mood first four verses. The possible social situations implied here, the ambiguity of that roach until we get to L3 (bring back ’68!) are classic comedy, yet real (at least in my memory) Delightful, Bill!

    . . .and a hard act to follow.
    . . . and the choices are narrowing like that gorge in ‘Deliverance’.
    John, I don’t feel up to succinct and certainly not ascerbic, but I’ll rack my brain today, and I’ll try.

    – Lorin

  116. lorin says:

    …” mood of the first for verses”
    – Lorin

  117. lorin says:

    …dammit! Not hard to tell I’ve been having the odd problem recently, is it?

    “mood of the first four verses” !!!

    – Lorin

  118. lorin says:

    . . . best I can do with the particular restrictions for this position. I’ll understand if none of these are suitable.

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed — Bill

    days of wine and roses
    almost forgotten

    cat. film

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    cat: Lit

    at the wedding, Grandpa’s
    can o’peas routine

    act: film

    Yoko Ono’s wish tree
    alive and breathing

    cat: art

    – Lorin

  119. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    (article at head of line one of #5, prov)

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – gendai
    #8 – gendai

    Hi everybody,
    Much kudos to Lorin for such a rapid and effective response, after being put on the spot too. I guessing that anybody who reads ‘roach’ as ‘insect’ only will percieve the link as being between death and the loss of consciousness! So I guess issues of what the reader does or doesn’t ‘get’ are not reserved for our experiments with ‘cultural’ topics and the like.

    And speaking of which, when anticipating how this experiment might shake out, I had a half idea that once a title was used somewhere in the 12 verses we wouldn’t be able to get away with citing another directly. But although I instantly picked up Huxley, and was the one to cite Terry Riley earlier, I didn’t experience any ‘return’ when I read this candidate. Hmmn, and that’s with an intermission value (c.f. sarikirai) of only three clear verses.

    Anyway, I’ve gone with this candidate because it is witty, very tightly phrased, and a perfect set-up verse, as the rapidly closing doors are just about to be completely subverted by a gendai outburst!

    Bill – thanks for your generosity of spirit. In the text above I’ve kept that indefinite article for two reasons, one is that Lorin carries it in the text to which she’s linked, and the second is that there is a kind of alternating beat of definite and indefinite articles as we read from the first verse onwards. There certainly are issues about articles in particular, and terseness in general, in English-langauge haikai prosody – a part of which is whether techniques which prove effective for haiku and hokku are necessarily transferable to (all) the body verses (c.f hiraku) in renku.

    But that’s for another day. Let’s keep that precise draft under review. Indeed our text remains a working text only until it is completed, and ‘signed off’ by all.

    to #7. We are gendai. We are competitive. Please consider your candidates not just as linking verses, but in the light of the full text. Structural and prosodic innovation is welcome, but not obligatory.

    Best wishes, John

  120. William Sorlien says:

    # 158:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    ******

    so many choices!
    row upon row
    of tin-foil hats

    maudlin tears –
    a nicotine patch
    for a beer coaster

    (wait – this may be shasei – a long winter)

  121. William Sorlien says:

    Ack! – ‘row upon row’ “recalls” ‘wave upon wave’.

    so many choices!
    the closet full
    of tin-foil hats

    so many choices!
    my closet teems / my closet bursting
    with tin-foil hats

    teems . . . ?

  122. William Sorlien says:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    ******

    so many choices!
    the closet bursting
    with tin-foil hats

    bowing their heads
    the congregation
    all in tin-foil hats

    seeking the void,
    transcience
    in a tin-foil hat

    maudlin tears –
    a nicotine patch
    for a beer coaster

  123. William Sorlien says:

    Pardon the repeated posts:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    ******

    alone in the forest
    unwittingly
    I enter the void

  124. lorin says:

    Thanks, John . . .I couldn’t see beforehand why you’d choose that one, but I think I do now
    Though I wouldn’t normally write links to my own verses, I can’t resist having a go at this gendai spot, since there are only two and one’s a 2-liner (or shorter verse) so:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    from the keyhole’s
    fig belly
    a new sun hatches

    (& hatches could go if it seems to commit kannonbiraki )

    100 billion
    neurons

    tapped
    deep
    to granite

    secrets

    beyond the text
    fresh footprints
    full of stars and questions

    – Lorin

  125. lorin says:

    . . . or, maybe a change of preposition for my first:

    in the keyhole’s
    fig belly
    a new sun hatches

    – Lorin

  126. lorin says:

    in the keyhole’s
    fig belly
    a new sun [hatches]

    from the keyhole’s
    fig belly
    a new sun [hatches]

    …with hatches or without hatches

    – Lorin

  127. haikutec says:

    a future waterfall
    bursts dancing pinheads
    into new angel DNA

    lucky Shuang hsi
    and what not to use
    as toilet paper

    too much pressure
    from the Martian School
    for Old Country Men

  128. sandra says:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    chewing down
    on his lip, the archer
    releases

    yet here I am,
    releasing this arrow
    into the forest

    in a sea of sheep
    we start to count
    our blessings

    mesmerised
    by the flint wall,
    warm under my hands

  129. John Carley says:

    a dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    they swap their faces back again they swap

    algorithmns
    talking up the market as we watch

    Arrgh, tension headache from all the noise in this public library – no way I can come up with a third candidate (without first murdering someone). Having said which – at least it would be in the cause of art!

    Later, John

  130. Bill Dennis says:

    Now that the cable connection is working again…

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing
    (Sandra)

    going out
    of business
    ten years now

    bulldog pup
    using his head
    to gain entrance

    cat’s eyes
    sweeping saphires
    back in the bag

  131. Bill Dennis says:

    Oy, sorry Lorin! Easily confused, the old toad by the mating pool.

  132. eiko yachimoto says:

    I have felt so many times that renku has a mysterious power to predict and forecast things. This new form on Issa’s Snail does it too…

    I have been speechless and numb after the M9.0 earthquake that shook my house last Friday. When the power came back the next day, I saw unthinkable tsunami attacks on TV. I feel helpless and I can not think… but it occured to me that Japan’s location ( we are in the most dangerous and complicated plato border) must be one reason why we needed renku. Renku consoles and encourages…

    • William Sorlien says:

      Hello, Ms Eiko,

      It’s good to hear from you since we were all concerned. We’re so glad you are safe.

      Willie

  133. lorin says:

    Dear Eiko… so happy to hear from you! Glad to know that you’re ok right now.

    The situation in Japan right now is scary indeed, the big earthquake, the tsunami and the damage to the nuclear power stations! I read that the main island of Japan has been shifted 2 to 4 metres! Those tectonic plates we all sit on are moving, and it’s caused a shift in the earth’s axis, as well!

    First New Zealand, then Japan and a smaller quake in Tonga early this morning, about which we know little. There could well be more quakes in the near future around the Pacific Rim.

    We live on the one Earth.

    Take care,

    – Lorin

  134. Alan Summers says:

    It was fantastic to hear on Facebook that you were safe in the Ginza district. Were you on the 20th of a building?

    Thanks to Facebook (and Twitter) we’ve got to hear that so many of our Japanese friends and colleagues are safe.

    I heard that there have been as many as 165 aftershocks? Millions without electricity. One town has lost over half its population. A second nuclear power plant is to explode, but fortunately not its core.

    69 Countries have offered their help, and it will be the most complex and continuously dangerous rescue and repair operation in our world’s human history.

    I was part of Europe’s first biggest evacuation since WWII, and I cannot praise the people of Japan highly enough for their polite, well-mannered, actions in Tokyo and other places.

    all my very best,

    Alan
    http://area17.blogspot.com

  135. eiko yachimoto says:

    Lorin, Willie, Alan, thank you So much for your kind words!!!! They decided for
    scheduled power-out for all East Japan to save the electricity and our city (Yokosuka)
    will not have electricity from 6 to 10 in the morning and 4 to 8 in the evening.
    Things are getting back to the normal usual shape in This area.

    with prayers
    for those in uttermost pain, eiko

    • sandra says:

      Hello Eiko,

      I have been thinking of you since I heard/saw the news of the quake and tsunami.

      Japan’s wonderful urban search and rescue team that has been working non-stop in the ruins of Christchurch jetted home immediately the news came through. There, they went straight back to work. Your country responded so quickly to our plight that our Prime Minister has sent one of our USR teams to Japan to do what it can.

      The news footage has been shocking and our hearts go out to the people of Japan.

      Best wishes,
      Sandra

      PS My hokku was written from my memories of earthquakes – like Japan everywhere in NZ is a quake zone – and as a tribute to the people of Christchurch. Now, I would like to dedicate it to our two nations.

      Kia kaha, we say here. Be strong.

  136. eiko yachimoto says:

    Kia kaha—thank you, Sandra!

  137. John Carley says:

    Eiko writes in part: “Renku consoles and encourages…”

    Indeed. Clearly we must continue. Just before the disaster struck the verse choice for the first ‘gendai’ position had posed some questions I was unsure how to answer. There’s an appointment I must attend this morning, after which I’ll get the details up here so that we can consult.

    Best wishes, John

  138. William Sorlien says:

    .

    we proceeded
    to surround
    the entire area

    .

  139. William Sorlien says:

    .

    we proceeded
    to encircle
    the entire area

    .

  140. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    —-

    100 billion
    neurons
    tapped
    deep
    to granite
    secrets

    mesmerised
    by the flint wall,
    warm under his hands

    swap their faces back again they swap their

    Hmmmn, deeply confused. Well no, I’m now almost 100% certain I was wrong to propose the indefinite article to line one of #5. The text above carries Bill’s original draft. But that’s all I *am* certain of.

    Above is a shortlist of candidates for #7. All are altered (despite my miserable track record to date). Lorin’s (the first) because I think we will lose the reader with those line spaces in the original draft. Sandra’s (the second) because we are desperately short of ‘person’ verses anyway so I think we have to distinguish from the first person of Alan’s #3. Mine (the third) because the phonics needed the tighter ‘swap’ to start the line.

    OK – here are some objections. There may well be other layouts of Lorin’s verset that would be more successful. Sandra’s is *wonderful* but may be too conventional. John’s may have just disappeared down its own backstreet.

    Please would you disengage your intellect, read the text from verse one. And then make any observations you like about the shortlisted candidates.

    As for me – I’m tempted to go with either Lorin or Sandra, not from humility (a quality I shamefully lack) but from the synchronicity of granite and flint. They must know something very arcane and southern-hemisphery. Either that or it’s simply that, as a true Englishman, I can’t tell the difference between Australia and New Zealand.

    Ho-ho-ho! John

  141. lorin says:

    Good Morning ( is it? it’s 5:20am and I woke from a bad dream, but the weather forecast for here seems a pretty ordinary mix of everything one might expect in Melbourne. . . in Spring or Summer, though. I don’t know what happened to our lovely, stable Autumns)

    Not sure if I can ever totally disengage my intellect. Such as it is, it’s what my gut feelings use as a kind of translator. But here goes:

    Though all three verses link to #6, I don’t see Sandra’s as a gendai verse, not what I would recognise as an EL equivalent of a gendai verse, anyway. I could go into why, with a bit of thought, but that would take engaging the intellect more fully.

    John’s has almost the circular movement of what probably is the classic EL one-liner:

    swap their faces back again they swap their

    The ‘almost’ is interesting: it’s that first ‘swap’ that acts like the needle skipping back on an old record player. If a person verse is desperately needed here, then this is clearly the one to choose.

    Mine, yes, the space intervals would get lost within a renku or the reader would. It’s be fine with me simply the way John has it. Here’s an alternative layout for consideration, though (if it will work here..unfortunately I don’t know how to do html)

    100 billion neurons
    tapped
    deep
    to granite
    secrets

    I’ll have an intuitive go at html, having learnt how to bold and italicize from Ashley. If it doesn’t work, at least we can count the sp’s:

    100 billion neurons
    tapped
    deep
    to granite
    secrets

    But something struck me when reading through the whole renku a few times, so I’ll boldly say it and show it: John’s verse also links with mine! (Mine was partly inspired by a presentation I went to last Thurs. night with my son, by Prof. Terrence Sejnowski “a pioneer in computational neuroscience”, ‘The Computational Brain’. These people are gearing up for ‘the technological singularity’) John’s may be read as a warp in perception, but it also fits with the (still science-fictiony to me, but fast becoming probability) of an interface of humans and the next age of computers!

    So I’ll make the outrageous suggestion of the possibility of:

    #7
    100 billion neurons
    tapped
    deep
    to granite
    secrets

    #8.
    swap their faces back again they swap their

    or edited to shorter, and a good, tight, classic ‘circular’ EL form one-liner too, imo:
    #8.
    their faces back again they swap


    None but the brave! 😉

    – Lorin

  142. lorin says:

    !!! well, all the sp’s disappeared alright, but so did the hoped for spaces. So now I have to resort to ‘numbers = spaces’:

    100 billion neurons
    (1) tapped
    (5) deep
    (6) to granite
    secrets

    100 billion neurons
    tapped
    deep
    to granite
    secrets

    – Lorin

  143. lorin says:

    … “the next age of computers” should be “next generation of computers”, which, when it happens (& it will, within 30- 50 years) will certainly be a ‘new age’ which will totally change our (or for some of us, our children’s and grandchildrens’) perception of what it is to be human.

    – Lorin

  144. sandra says:

    Yes, mine is conventional; no, it is not intended to be gendai because a) I don’t believe I can write a gendai verse yet; which leads me to b) so it would be futile to attempt. Sorry, John, it’s beyond my ken at this stage.

    So, if the sabaiki believes my verse to be too conventional, that’s fine. Still love those flint walls, though!

    mesmerised
    by the flint wall
    a hippopotamus

    🙂 (hippopotamus is one of the few things I have finally understood in a gendai haiku)

    I prefer John’s offering, mostly because of the rhythm I think. In my head I have been playing with a small change to it (very like Lorin’s suggested amendment):

    his face back again he swaps
    (or her face)

    I believe Lorin’s verse may be too dense and will halt the reader in his/her tracks *or* he/she will skip it. The gendai verses I have read do, despite their beyond Mars subject matter, seem reasonably approachable, at least on the surface. Perhaps a way round might be to present it as a 3-liner:

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    and that way the form doesn’t add to the general bamboozlement.

    I look forward to watching this one develop …

  145. lorin says:

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    …that’d be fine with me, too, Sandra. The way I had it (the two intended ways, one of which didn’t show here) might be better as a verse within a ‘normal’ contemporary poem rather than in a renku, where the form might look out of balance in presentation with the rest, gendai verse or no gendai verse. I guess these things need to be balanced.

    – Lorin

  146. lorin says:

    “The number of neurons in the brain varies dramatically from species to species.[22] One estimate puts the human brain at about 100 billion . . . neurons and 100 trillion . . . synapses.[22] ”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron

    “The human brain holds about 100 billion nerve cells.”

    “An adult human brain has more than 100 billion neurons”

    http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/AniciaNdabahaliye2.shtml

    – Lorin

  147. ashleycapes says:

    Just a quick note (as I’m sliding behind in all kinds of things until I finish putting together my students’ recording studio) but I agree with John, that ‘swap’ would be a great beginning to the next verse, and I like the abstract nature of the verse itself too. Back in the morning with more thoughts (I hope)

  148. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    —–

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – cultural
    #10 – cultural/shasei
    #11 – shasei / cultural
    #12 – cultural

    cultural topics remaining: art, religion, film

    —–

    Hi everybody, I’m pleased to report that normal bossiness has been resumed and I’m once more unfeasibly sure of myself. The fact that this is almost entirely due to the observations of colleagues (above) is simply proof that I pick good colleagues.

    Well ok then, the truth is that my speculation that gendai verses might also (neccessarily?) involve structural innovation was wrong. Lorin’s original five lines and my single line have certainly not lost out by a less challening presentation, and in truth I think the latter is probably more effective as given above. Clearly I need to teach myself how to suck eggs here, because I’m always banging on about ‘balanced and proportional cadences’, so why is it a surprise that gendai is more about content and language than structure?!

    There are a couple of wider points here that I’d like to touch on, so you can skip this next paragraph. Firstly ‘gendai’, and Sandra’s shortlisted verse. A very wise man (woman actually) once remarked to me: never let conventional expectations get in the way of a good verse. In this case read: ‘unconventional expectations’. For me that was the conundrum of Sandra’s verse – it was absolutely fantastic, but, by my reading and my interpretation of the standards of this experiment, it felt very much like a ‘shasei’ verse. So what to do? If we adopted it then the gendai verse(s) would be deferred. So what? Well yeah, but then would the ‘jo-ha-kyu’ dynamics also be pushed too far out of kilter, or rather: would the dynamic pattern be constrained in such a way that it followed an unconventional dynamic, and so constituted a further challenge in this already challenging poem. As I remarked at the outset, it is my instinct to be as conservative as possible in order to allow Ashley’s proposed category and topic innovations to be examined without further flummery (an unfortunate word choice, but you know what I mean).

    Second condundrum: how could Lorin’s suggestion be correct? How is it possible that a verse concieved as a link to #6 can appear at #8 without automatically committing the sole true renku ‘sin’ – that of return-to-last-but-one ? Maybe it’s just that it’s a lousy verse, struggling so hard to be ‘different’ that it ends up so far from its maeku (head verse) that it needs a buffer verse to make any sense at all – and by sheer radom chance a colleague has penned just such a buffer verse. Or maybe it has something to do with the characteristics of scent linking and the dynamics of za or group mind – and a warning about being overly deterministic as seeing ‘sequence’ as being analagous to ‘linear progression’. Ohmmmn.

    What a lot of rubbish. I’m an Englishman; I drink beer and pick fights, not witter on about transcendental medication. So let’s press on. If you look at #9 through #12 above you’ll catch my drift. I do think we need to avoid three cultural verses in a row. So there will be a pair either now, or to close. Art, religion and film remain. I have *no* idea about the order. But I do suspect that as both Lorin and I have name checked titles of works (Rainbow in Curved Air, The Doors of Perception) we probably can’t name check a full title again.

    Let’s keep our language tight. I think we need people. And it’d be good to see seasonal/temporal reference too.

    All comments queries gratefully etc. We stay competitive.

    Best wishes, John

  149. sandra says:

    A good solution all round, John. Thought I’d jump in, inspiration hit!

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    face turned up
    he paints an index finger
    and then another

    stuck in a traffic jam
    he keeps the prayer wheel
    rolling, rolling, rolling

  150. Bill Dennis says:

    still-life men horses
    a composition of parts
    called After the Planes

    (art: after Guernica)

    sealed-mouth
    conversion experience
    re-born a moth

    (religion)

    paws in the mirror
    the backwards cat exchanges
    blows uncertainly

    (film: “Heisenberg’s Cat” Jules Verne, in a feat of precognition heretofore unknow in the annals of literature, wrote a screneplay of this title for the yet undiscovered medium of the moving-picture, depicting the life of a cat which lived in the home of a scientist of the (then) future, one Werner Heisenberg. Verne’s ability to predict future events in his tales is widely remarked upon and this would be its outstanding example, had the manuscript not been…well, some call it lost, some detect the pilfering hand of time travellers. Quite coincidentally, as you may already have noticed, when this ku is held to a mirror, the word “swap” appears, almost as if by prior arrangement.)

  151. lorin says:

    Wow! Bill, this fascinates me:

    paws in the mirror
    the backwards cat exchanges
    blows uncertainly

    (film: “Heisenberg’s Cat”

    I’ve googled, but can’t find this as afilm, which is sure to be one I’d like to see. Can you help?

    I know about Schrödinger’s cat, but not this one. I’m guessing that Heisenberg’s Cat is some kind of take on Schrödinger’s thought experiment?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

    Interesting that you noticed the ‘mirror’ sense part of John’s:

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    I did, too.

    – Lorin

    • Bill Dennis says:

      In an effort to provide adequate detail to assist detraining of the reader’s understanding, perhaps I was not sufficiently clear about the factitious nature of my rather matter-of-fict account. Added to my teen-aged fascination with back-yard quantum mechanics, my cinematic background, extensive as it is, does not extend to actual, specific knowledge, and that may have inadvertently colored my account of this significant, historical pseudolude. I do regret any confusion this may not have caused.

      • lorin says:

        🙂 …then you must write it, Bill. Truly. Whether ‘straight’ or as a send-up. Perhaps as a story first, then who knows? a screenplay after your story wins a Nebula Award or the like. It’d be good.

        – Lorin

      • lorin says:

        …and ya never know, you might turn out to be the Jorge Luis Borges of the 21st century. 😉

        – Lorin

  152. lorin says:

    ( I know who Werner Heisenberg was, of course. How interesting!)

    – Lorin

  153. lorin says:

    I’m going to pass on this verse, and just sit back and enjoy reading all of the submissions.

    – Lorin

  154. John Carley says:

    Some excellent material here, I think. Heisenberg would know of course!

    Willie, Alan – if you are struggling (and God knows the news from Japan has left me disorientated a lot of the time) then please do feel free to post a ‘pass’.

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    from memory
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    cat: cultural – religion

    the latest thing
    at auction
    the Nootka totem pole

    cat: cultural – religion

    a medieval fake
    exposed or not
    by carbon dating

    cat: cultural – religion

    Best wishes, John

  155. Alan Summers says:

    Hi John! 😉

    Other than being dangerously flat broke, and knee deep in more than one donation raising literary project for Japan, I’m okay. 😉 Here are some candidate verses:

    heart chakra
    today I feel the need
    to water magnolias

    little sparrow
    I regret nothing today
    flowers in the wind

    $30 million suit
    why do we bully
    our neighbour?

    my faith tested
    by a fox on a gate pillar
    sharing life stories

    testing my lip balm
    I kiss the lost cities better
    on my makeshift map

    Alan note: do we/should we have a moon verse somewhere? One of my verses happens to be a moon verse:

    magnolia moon
    fukushima needs petals
    for everyone’s heart

  156. Alan Summers says:

    Way too many pronouns so I’ve amended:

    lemon lip balm
    I kiss the lost cities better
    on my makeshift map

    OR

    lemon lip balm
    I kiss the lost cities better
    on this makeshift map

    Alan

  157. lorin says:

    …well, I can’t resist posting one 🙂

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    Midsumma brings
    Elvis and Lady Gaga
    to the macho men

    cat: art

    (performance art/ street theatre; the arts of costume and make-up; )

    http://www.midsumma.org.au/midsumma-2011/651

    – Lorin

  158. William Sorlien says:

    Sorry, unavoidably detained – I have no offer for this next position.

    Man vs Cat. Always hard to predict an outcome. I mention The fingers’ or ‘paws’ verses. Both wonderful.

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    paws in the mirror
    the backwards cat exchanges
    blows uncertainly

    face to the ceiling
    he paints one index finger
    then another

    Sandra’s could be two categories, then? Yet a verse on religion would trump this ambiguity of topic. I do find it to be more quiet, yet with a more discernable interpretation, though both verses are nearly of the same metre.
    Bill’s verse reads like a zen koan to me, something indefinable, the break for line 3, maybe, that effects my response.

    lemon lip balm
    I kiss the lost cities better
    on my makeshift map

    i don’t quite grasp the signifigance of lemon, unless, a seasonal reference, isn’t it? i prefer this of Alan’s submissions. Thank you, Alan.

    from memory
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    i wonder if this verse does the most justice to this position; clearly worded, humility progressing to a passionate beginning of kyu after our foray into gendai.

  159. Alan Summers says:

    Hi William! 😉

    Man vs. Cat reminds me of the famous and infamous Don DeLillo Bear vs Shark. I think I did a review for my MA. 😉

    Thanks for liking possibilities of my lemon balm verse. You said: “i don’t quite grasp the signifigance of lemon, unless, a seasonal reference, isn’t it? i prefer this of Alan’s submissions. Thank you, Alan.”

    Lemon is widely known as comforting so that was my main basis for this, as well as it sounded better than the alternatives. My wife was wearing lemon and ginger balm (non-chemical) in London Underground (memories of 7/11 etc…).

    There was no seasonal reference intended, just a mark of respect for the landscape, and towns and cities forever changed by the quake and tsunami.

    Alan

  160. lorin says:

    These would be my picks:

    #1

    from memory
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    cat: cultural – religion
    – John

    I’d almost say, “This be the verse”. I like the change of mood, and of course the change of pace. After what might be complex mind states in the previous two, a simple man and a simple faith hits all the right buttons for me here. The multiple names of God , in context of the previous verse, also put me in mind of Joseph Campbell’s work on gods and heroes (eg “The Hero With Many Faces”, and others) My one hesitation is at ‘memory’. Depending how one reads the last-but-one verse, it might be committing ‘kannonbiraki’? Or not. But ‘from memory’ feels redundant to me, in relation to ‘recites the names of God’ and ‘a simple man’. I’d take it for granted that such a man wouldn’t be reading the names out or have someone in the wings with a prompt card. Besides, I see an ideal opportunity in L1 to have the much needed seasonal reference. It could be any season. The simple one that immediately occurs to me ( possibly because of all those images I’ve seen of snow falling in Japan recently, (‘snow falling on rubble’ rather than ‘snow falling on cedars’) :

    in falling snow/ as snowflakes fall
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    #2

    paws in the mirror
    the backwards cat exchanges
    blows uncertainly

    cat: art (unpublished film script (c) Bill, 2011 😉 )

    Just because I like it. It’s brilliant and delightful, but I wonder whether the renku needs more complexity like this at this point. On the other hand, that it’s clearly a cat exchanging paw taps with its reflection to test reality might ease the reader out of the sense of complexity in the previous verses. Maybe if it was ‘kitten’ in there instead of cat, there could be a seasonal reference, as it would be in Japan…’young animals’, including colts, fillies and kittens of exploring age ( 🙂 but not</i) including ponies) are kigo for Spring.

    – Lorin

  161. sandra says:

    Some nice commentaries here, thank you.

    from memory
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    It’s said that camels knows the 100th name of Allah/God, the only one that man does not, hence their general air of superiority!

    This is a lovely verse, and I support Lorin’s suggested amendment”

    in falling snow
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    because it adds wabi-sabi … in the snow a man and many readings – simple because he has given away his worldy possessions; simple because he’s “not quite right in the head”, maybe a “care in the community” homeless person; or simple (uncomplicated) as a religious scholar may be.

    The other verse I particularly like is Alan’s:

    heart chakra
    today I feel the need
    to water magnolias

    Although I suspect there’s a cut at the end of L1. The image is gorgeous, though.

  162. lorin says:

    . . . and snow: it’s said that no two snowflakes are the same, so snow falling also suggests that the names of God might be infinite in their variety.

    – Lorin

  163. lorin says:

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    in falling snow
    a simple man recites
    the names of God

    (winter) -culture: religion

    paws in the mirror
    the kitten exchanges
    blows uncertainly

    (spring) – shasei, more or less (uncertainty principle or not)

    …and I almost missed Michelangelo!!! Art and religion combined! Brilliant!

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    face to the ceiling
    he paints one index finger
    then another

    . . . but it’s the word ‘face’ repeated here that caused me to skip over this one of Sandra’s earlier. Sandra, how about ‘strapped to the ceiling’, ‘close to the ceiling’ or anything else likely, rather than ‘face’?

    – Lorin

  164. ashleycapes says:

    Hahaha! Yes, it must be!

  165. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – Sandra [cultura – art]
    #10 – cultural/shasei
    #11 – shasei / cultural
    #ageku – cultural

    cultural topics remaining: religion, film

    Hi everybody, it’s great to read such thoughtful and enthusiastic exchanges. I think Ashley is on to something with this proposal.

    So is my verse choice just to spite you? I hope not. Bill’s Heisenberg verse (probably slightly simplified) and Alan’s ‘heart chakra’ were very much in the frame here, and I was also drawn to the immensely more effective draft of my ‘names of God’ verse that colleagues originated. Btw – yes, there are issues around ‘cuts’ (c.f. kirei) in internal verses of a renku, but in both the historic and contemporary literature it would be not be strictly accurate to describe these considerations as a ban. Colleagues might like to look at the technique known in Japanese aesthetics as ‘throwing in’ (c.f. nagekomi).

    Ok – why the verse choice? Cleary Sandra hits the ‘topic’ criterion with her reference to painting. The primary link to ‘face’ is subtly nuanced by the link to ‘swap’ as recent theory holds that La Gioconda is in fact an androgynous self portrait. Importantly she introduces the sense of smell which grounds the stanza and works very effectively with the downplayed pacing. The action of the verb is a superb contrast to the violence of the maeku – generating an extended and suspended time frame, an effect which is enhanced by the syntax run-on afforded by the preposition ‘amid’. The structure of the stanza also buffers the more irregular #7 allowing the move to ‘conventional’ layouts as we construct our ‘rapid close’ (c.f. kyu). The stanza also encourages the reader to directly visualise a male and a female protagonist. In this it brings a much needed balance to our poem to date. In sum – for such a ‘quiet’ verse this works very hard indeed!

    Ok team, we are on the home straight. Please read the whole text. My instinct is that we need to avoid pyrotechnics. Also, unless I’m very much mistaken, the metaphysical nature of some recent speculations means that many takes on religion are going to be problematic. Having said which – I’ve been fundamentally wrong about some of the macro aspects of this poem already.

    Hmmmn, I’ve just read back again; abstracts *do* look difficult. Anyway – we may go to ‘shasei’ here, or stay with ‘cultural’ in the form of film or religion.

    Allezooop! John

  166. Bill Dennis says:

    Now, when I say, “shasei,” you understand I do not really know whereof I speak. When I say, “religion,” recall, “those who speak do not know.”

    blind in the fragrance garden
    tracing witch-hazel’s brightness

    (shasei) n.b. a garden of plants selected for their scent, often designed for appreciation by the blind

    from her steady palm
    chickadee stealing a seed

    (shasei) n.b. a tiny north-American bird, noted for its boldness

    within the chancel rail ants
    carry off crumbs of the host

    (religion) n.b. part of the church reserved for the clergy

  167. sandra says:

    Thanks for the selection John, and “seeing into my mind”.

    And I do apologise to all who spotted the fundamental error in my Sistene Chapel verse – I was concentrating on not making it sound like he was applying paint to his own index finger, I completely missed the face! 🙂

    I shall happily sit this round out but will watch with interest …

  168. lorin says:

    I’ll be be basically sitting back, too, but here’s one, dedicated to my late father, Bruce Ford, who got to have shore leave in America during WW2 & hit a then famous nightclub. Just to keep the juices flowing:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    cold and lonely
    as plum blossoms fall

    shasei?- ha! 😉

    – Lorin

  169. William Sorlien says:

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    all those in the balcony
    rise as one

    enduring the heat
    we all rise as one

    a child’s treasure
    left in the tree

    a cigar box full
    of simple things

  170. William Sorlien says:

    above – category film

  171. William Sorlien says:

    Ehh – your patience, please.

    A serendipitous theme throughout this month’s moon viewing party –

    http://haikubanditsociety.blogspot.com

    Please join us.

      • lorin says:

        yeah, Bill…I intended to get down to a beach and see how far the tide is out this morning, but I’m still here. This is the time of the real ‘king tides’…they go out further and come in further. (Nothing to do with tsunami)

        – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        Just adding my coupla kopeks to the korero – a scientist on the telly the other night said *all* the planet’s oceans would be affected by the tsunami for a couple of weeks.

        The technical term he used was “sloshing”, as in sea water will slosh about for a while before settling. And certainly people here have said they’ve noticed unusual wave patterns and currents.

      • lorin says:

        yeah, that’s true, Sandra, but that hasn’t got anything to do with the ‘supermoon’, and the high & low tides it causes. That happens cyclically (though it’s a longer cycle than the annual cycles we call ‘seasons’) and I don’t think it’s ever been tagged the ‘supermoon’ before now. I recall from childhood, must’ve been 1959 0r 60, a perigree moon that happened right after a bushfire near where I lived. I was out on the horse, and the moon rose like nothing I’d ever seen (or have see since). Huge, very close like it was about to collide with earth and red, with all the valley shadows in charcoal. I’ll never forget it. It got smaller and it rose higher, but that huge round thing rising above the hill like a SF illustration of Mars was scary!

        “. . .the near coincidence of Saturday’s full moon with perigee will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides.

        The highest tides will not, however, coincide with the perigee moon but will actually lag by up to a few days depending on the specific coastal location.”

        http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20110318/sc_space/supermoonrisesbiggestfullmoonin18yearsoccurssaturdaynight

        – Lorin

      • lorin says:

        hmmm… ‘supermoon’ , it seems there is a possible connection between it & the earthquakes & resulting tsunami, though there’d have to be some other factor involved as these happened earlier. An astrologer named it ‘supermoon’, apparently, and seems to have done his homework:

        http://www.astropro.com/features/articles/supermoon/

  172. lorin says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her – Sandra

    flying machines
    rise on the shining wind

    cat: film

    – Lorin

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Is “shining wind” suggestive of “divine wind” to you?

      • lorin says:

        No, Bill, it isn’t.

        The Divine wind (Kamikaze – kami, the gods/ kaze, wind) was originally a typhoon which helped the Japanese defeat an invading enemy, and now is a kigo for Autumn.

        ‘shining wind’ is a kigo for Spring : “shining wind (kaze hikaru, all spring)”

        Listed here, at ‘500 Essential season words:
        http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html

        – Lorin

      • lorin says:

        …and the film ref is ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’, the link being that Da Vinci seems to have been the first to draft plans/sketches for flying machines.
        – Lorin

  173. lorin says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her – Sandra

    through swirls of incense
    the Easter Bunny

    🙂

    – Lorin

  174. lorin says:

    the above:
    cat: religion

    – Lorin

  175. Alan Summers says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    Alan candidate verses:

    iceberg edges
    and cordite sting

    cult. shasei film (2 refs); history; and homage to
    Ashley Capes

    iceberg glances
    and cordite sting

    cult. ditto

    iceberg chill
    and cordite sting

    ditto

    brutal dance routine
    at the Moulin Rouge

    cult. dance; music; theatre; history; and film(s)

    through the whole routine
    at (the) Moulin Rouge

    ditto

    iceberg chill
    of future avatars

    cult. film(s); film director; and anime

  176. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel (prov)

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – Sandra [cultura – art]
    #10 – Bill [shasei]
    #11 – cultural
    #ageku – cultural

    cultural topics remaining: religion, film

    Hi everybody, wow this poem is so intense it seems to be hurtling into the close!

    Left to my own devices I’d have imagined that the remaining Shasei verse would probably occupy the penultimate position but in practice it feels to me as though further extratextual reference at this point would be one spin of the centrifuge too far. Which in turn is, I believe, afterburn from the gendai pair.

    Ok – hence the desire to centre the poem with Bill’s excellent sensory evocation. The shortened draft above is entirely due to whole-poem metrical considerations, though I think the syntax break and attendant quasi-juxtaposition can be effective in setting up a very conventionally structured closing pair.

    In any event that closing pair are going to require particular skill.

    Comments please.

    Best wishes, John

    • Bill Dennis says:

      That re-working of my link is just fine–leaner, more implicated.

      I had forgotten to say that I appreciated Lorin’s direction to the “500 seasonal words.” Who knew?

      • lorin says:

        That list is a useful reference, Bill, but use it with common sense. For instance:
        “colt, pony (wakagoma, late spring). ”

        …cross out “pony”, which isn’t a young animal, but a classification for horses under a certain size of any age, and add “filly”. (My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the Japanese word can apply to both colt or filly, is non-gendered, but we don’t have a single word for the colt/filly stage in English)

        And remember that these are Japanese season words and do not always apply very well to other world localities.

        – Lorin

  177. sandra says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel (prov)

    Just wondered about “smell” and then “fragrance” … if a problem, it could be:

    blind in the sensory garden
    witch-hazel

    • lorin says:

      ah, we’ve cross-posted Sandra. I was taking my time, trying to say what I had to say with some sort of decorum, so I missed your post.

      – Lorin

  178. lorin says:

    Hi John and All,
    I love the revised verse in itself (congratulations , Bill) but I have a small problem with it, which I’ll spell out at risk of being considered a complete fool or a bit odd.

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel (prov)

    How to put this. . . Is it only me (the only Australian here, apart from Ash) who now finds, between these two verses, “drug references”? In that ‘blind’ is a synonym for ‘exceedingly drunk’ (here, at least) and throws back onto Sandra’s verse (what wasn’t there at all before) a hint of the very real problem of “paint sniffing”. I live in an urban environment & see this paint sniffing & its effects all too often. It kills the brain, bit by bit.

    http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Inhalants_and_Petrol_Sniffing

    Would it be possible to revise the revision so that there’s no trace of a drug & alcohol reference here? We’ve already had drugs up in Bill’s ‘roach’ verse & my ref . to Huxley’s book.

    Or am I the only reader to whom this link would occur?

    – Lorin

  179. sandra says:

    I won’t comment on my verse because of course I don’t read paint sniffing into it, however I’ll be open to the idea that others might …

    Use in NZ of “blind” to indicate an intake of too much alcohol is “blind drunk”. The word would not be used on its own like, say, “paralytic”.

    I think “blind” + “fragrance garden” or “sensory garden” is crystal clear. These types of garden are reasonably common. The one nearest me was part-funded by the Institute for the Blind but is termed a sensory garden as the plants have been chosen for fragrance and texture (sniff and touch) and the raised beds are also enjoyed by visitors in wheelchairs.

    But this is one opinion only.

  180. lorin says:

    well, Sandra, I have an alcoholic Kiwi friend who is often ‘blind’ and says so, without the ‘drunk’ added. But he lives here, & visits NZ infrequently, so he may have picked up the Australian lingo, much as he wouldn’t like to admit that. 🙂

    – Lorin

  181. John Carley says:

    Hello – two quick responses before heading off out for the day.

    smell / fragrance – there’s no technical (as in ‘renku’) issue with this; notions of ‘shift’ apply substantively to the last-but-one position, not to the linking verse. So any potential conflict would need to be understood in terms of general artistic ‘crassness’ or the like. Personally I find the modulation of sensory awareness from ‘smell of paint’ to ‘fragrance garden’ to be the principal strength of this link as it is the surface of a contrast between ‘representational’ and ‘actual’ – from art to shasei.

    blind – in my usage too ‘blind’ in respect of alcohol only really appears in the compound ‘blind drunk’, though the contraction to ‘blind’ alone is possible. I think if the active verb in Sandra’s maeku referred to the paint we might have a background suggestion of intoxication, but as it stands I feel that for the majority of readers only an examination of content would unearth any potential connection of that sort.

    For me then – as long as the next verse does not rely on intimations of substance abuse we are on firm ground.

    Best wishes, John

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Thoughts: the elusiveness of the coaxed smile and the witch-hazel scent was the linking factor, for me, originally. I had not thought of intoxication, though the phrase “blind drunk” does have currency in the USA; the previous link does not suggest intoxication to me, having just painted three bird houses. And I was staying with the apprehensive searching mood of the previous link, which the verb, “tracing,” expressed. And the resolved contradiction between “blind” and “brightness” was my expression of the synthesis of the senses of vision and smell, which I think is common–as vision and touch are synthesized in the expressions, “a sharp smell,” or “a heavy scent.” Of course, there is no ignoring the link between the smell of paint and fragrance…just goes to show how really good I am at ignoring things, doesn’t it? A lot of the process of writing is not really conscious, at least on my own part, I must admit. Poetry is a process of saying more than one thing at the same time, to be reductionist about it for a minute, and a lot of what may be taken from a verse by any given reader is bound to be missed by another, even if he is the writer, or so I think.

  182. William Sorlien says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    with guiding hands
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    “lightest’? Or a synonym for intuitive?

    • lorin says:

      ps… I think I recall that the more traditional thing than a wire coathanger was once used in the old countries… a forked twig of witch-hazel!

      -Lorin

  183. lorin says:

    I like the divining rod scenario/ idea very much, Willie! Stroke of genius.

    Not sure that water divining is strictly intuitive. . . it seems to rely on letting go and relying on body awareness. . . but these things all play in together. Simply that you have ‘divining rod’, in itself, indicates whatever kind of sensing is involved.

    …not sure about L1, “guiding”, is all. . . . imo it’s a tad heavy in that one mustn’t guide the thing. And I think that the body sense or whatever it is, is implied by ‘divining rod’, so you don’t (imo) need ‘guiding’ in there as a link, either.

    – Lorin

    • William Sorlien says:

      Yes, Lorin, I was not satisfied with ‘guiding’ either – a certain haste to get on the board, as well as fill a syllable count. Sounds a bit “twee”.

      It fell to witch-hazel, used as the rod, and a figure, a father (dad) or mystic
      teaching the skill.

      Who’s a female mystic then? Let’s throw gender equality to wind. You’re better read than I; any suggestions? A Wiccan priestess?

      by wiccan hands
      the gentlest touch
      on the divining rod

      • William Sorlien says:

        As an aside, I was present when a “diviner” did his work. We were looking for, and found, an old underground cistern from the 19th C . It laid beneath a concrete driveway and several feet of soil. Out of a sense of decorum, I didn’t ask to try my hand.

      • lorin says:

        yuk, Willie…I’d be leaving ‘wiccan’ right out of it. Anyway we already have ‘witch’ in witch-hazel.

        I’m NOT a “female mystic” ( & that sounds too much like “poetess” for comfort) Just like all my old ‘hillbilly’ friends from Cann River, male & female, I can do it, and what we use is an ordinary wire coathanger. . . useful things. . . I recall a couple of my students teaching me how to break into my car with one when I’d locked myself out. When I expressed admiration, they showed me how to break into more up-to-date cars with plastic packing tape, using the Principal’s as example. (This was in the 80s. I’m old and have a tendency to reminisce)
        But the Australian native people don’t need anything to know where the water is.

        – Lorin

  184. sandra says:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    shrugging off her green
    robe she chooses
    to wear midnight

    a lone traffic cone
    on the lawn, its shadow
    getting pointier

    as the rain gets heavier
    he turns his sign
    to STOP

  185. sandra says:

    Hi Willie,

    I have found myself able to use a “divining” rod (apparently, “we” prefer it to be called “dowsing” these days) and am definitely not a Wiccan!

    I use a long piece of metal wire – straightened coat-hanger, no.8 wire, anything not too rigid – or, for smaller things a pendulum, which is usually a gold chain and charms that I wear. I have seen a TV prog. where all manner of things were used. Quite a few dowsers seem to like copper rods.

    Have I found water? Who knows, no one’s ever dug to confirm it. But I have found lost objects and very occasionally I try to ease physical pain with it.

    My late father-in-law was able to find water and was very successful. I saw him do it one day, it exhausted him. He let us try but it was only when his hand was put over mine that the rod moved. Much later, I found out by accident that I could do it … and still don’t know what “it” is!

    And anybody who calls me a mystic gets punched! 🙂

    • William Sorlien says:

      you are kind of “witchy”, though, at least in my eye.

    • Alan Summers says:

      I met the famous French family who can divine water or oil just from maps given to them. They actually came to Australia as a favour where I was working on a landcare project, and they found a fresh water source pretty quickly, and a lot cheaper than doing it drilling etc… I think their success rate is in the high ninety per cent and obviously corporations love they can do something so quickly that might otherwise take up to six months otherwise.

      Done a bit myself years ago but didn’t keep it up alas, could have used the money. 😉

    • lorin says:

      ah, Sandra 😉 what are you like with the ouija board? 🙂

  186. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    (with Wiccan hands)
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – Sandra [cultura – art]
    #10 – Bill [shasei]
    #11 – Willie [cultural – religion]
    #ageku – cultural

    Hi everybody, this is surely the verse: ‘lightest touch’ is exactly what is needed in terms of the tenor of this particular verse position in this particular sequence, as is the primary grounding in ‘actuality’ rather than speculation or abstracts. Willie also avoids all extra or inter-textual reference.

    I share the instinct that the first line is a metrical marker only; the verse would be better for an alternative. I feel that there is a degree of tautology with ‘hands’ and ‘touch’ and an over-reach or over-specification with ‘Wiccan’. Just in technical terms the verse already satisfies the topic requirements through the verb which is of course directly from the Latin ‘divinus’ and refers to a Godlike or God given ability.

    So what’s that first line?

    Best wishes, John

    • lorin says:

      hmmm. . . will have go at first line in the morning, if Willie or others haven’t come up with the goods. Have been enjoying a very nice Sauv. Blanc from that South island of NZ tonight. Yeah, not ‘wiccan’.

      – Lorin

  187. William Sorlien says:

    Right on all points, John -though my head’s crammed with ref. the Meiji restoration today, I’m afraid, my spent youth the culprit (Spring break just passed -don’t ask of my achievements).
    My Dad didn’t dowse water, clients for advertising in that Clay County weekly maybe, but that old lady from Texas who helped raise me might have. She made folk art from that clay, and carved faces from green apples, they wrinkled and aged as they dried, so human, almost alive, kept a black widow in a jar for us to identify and recognize, explained what the katydids were, that sound they made . . .and she did wield a fly swatter very well ‘cross my backside when I was bad . . . I’ll return in less than four hours – let me think on that a spell, all suggestions welcome, of course.

    • Bill Dennis says:

      dried-apple face
      divining with the lightest touch
      on the dowsing rod

      dried-apple face
      a divining touch
      on the dowsing rod

      I don’t generally get to work it into conversations, but I know how to dowse, or at least I have been shown by a woman who is tickled pink to call herself a water-witch. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch thing hereabouts which she learned from her father. She uses bent coat-hangers, and says she met a well-digger who used a pair of heavy pliers. What a body uses doesn’t seem important and she says anyone can do it, if they allow themselves. I can’t say I’ve made much use of the skill, but she has, and with good results, finding colonial-era building foundations and good sites for wells. She had had independent confirmation of her finds by other dowsers, so there is some control-group verification.

      For this ammendation of Willie’s link, I obviously took from his remembrances above, which I thought should be appropriate to associate with the rest of his link. Just suggestions.

  188. John Carley says:

    This one drawn from your text above Willie:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    wrinkled with age
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    ? J

    • William Sorlien says:

      Nice suggestions all – after I started my musings (rambling) I thought of Miss Lottie Trude, formerly of Texas, and her humble existence on that cracked and red hard-scrabble clay –

      wrinkled with age
      the lightest touch
      on the divining rod

      dried-apple face
      a divining touch
      on the dowsing rod

      hands red as clay
      the lightest touch
      on the dowsing rod

      John?

  189. William Sorlien says:

    paint . . .

    hands dark as clay
    the lightest touch
    on the dowsing/divining rod

    might have to reclaim ‘divining’ – moving away from colors/paint . . .

    yes, John!

    Thanks, all, for your patience.

  190. John Carley says:

    Hi guys – I’d be very wary of both clay and colour (shade, luminosity too) because of the artist and his materials at last-but-one.

    Best wishes, John

  191. William Sorlien says:

    I’d prefer reference to ‘hands’, then, esoteric, but not neccessary, I can’t seem to grasp it at the moment. Though we did coax a smile, earlier. Caught the modeling of clay too late, which she did. I wish I had her folk art now.
    Hands denoting age, wisdom –
    trembling
    work-worn
    stained and worried
    careful
    her patient hand
    wrinkled

    my last shot, boss.

  192. Bill Dennis says:

    From Wikipedia: “…a study undertaken in Kassel, Germany under the direction of the Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften (GWUP) [Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Parasciences]. The three-day test of some 30 dowsers involved plastic pipes through which water flow could be controlled and directed. The pipes were buried 50 centimeters under a level field, the position of each marked on the surface with a colored strip. The dowsers had to tell whether water was running through each pipe. All the dowsers signed a statement agreeing this was a fair test of their abilities and that they expected a 100 percent success rate, however the results were no better than chance.

    “Some researchers have investigated possible physical or geophysical explanations for alleged dowsing abilities. One study concluded that dowsers “respond” to a 60 Hz electromagnetic field, but this response does not occur if the kidney area or head are shielded.”

    The Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften–a name to conjure with. My only question is: how do you really pronounce GWUP? But that’s a matter of a different kidney, I suppose.

  193. sandra says:

    steady now,
    her wrinkled hands
    on the divining rod

  194. lorin says:

    Good Morning,

    hmmm, Sandra . . .do we want ‘her’ in the renku again so soon after your:

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    ?
    It seems to throw the reading back to last-verse-but -one, the uchikoshi)

    I do like ‘steady now’ a lot, though.

    – Lorin

  195. lorin says:

    steady now
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    at first birdsong
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    up with the birds
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    in dry country
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    “I can’t seem to grasp it at the moment. ” – Willie

    not grasping it
    that lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    😉

    – Lorin

  196. John Carley says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – Sandra [cultura – art]
    #10 – Bill [shasei]
    #11 – Willie [cultural – religion]
    ageku – [optional /cultural – film]

    Hi everybody, let’s move forward to ageku as the resolution of line one of #11 will not affect it. Willie, with a bit of distance we need to decide if there is a conflict with ‘hands’ in #11 and ‘faces’ at #8. If so, a construction such as ‘wrinkled with age’, ‘worn out with work’, etc becomes advisable (allowing ‘touch’ in line two to carry the sense of ‘hands’).

    Ageku traditionally has more latitude in terms of linkage style and content than just about any other verse in a sequence. This is in order for it to generate a sense a summation. In this respect anyone who has experimented with a Yotsumono will perhaps be familiar with the idea of a ‘determination’ as drawn originally from the Zekku. Anyway, this drawing together of the strands is so important that it takes precedence over the topic requirements.

    Having said which, parallels between film and renku techniques have been a mainstay of the aesthetics of the renku revival since the 1920’s so it may very well be possible to combine all elements in our ageku.

    We are a handful of syllables away from a tangible success.

    Avanti! John

  197. sandra says:

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    dropping a dollar
    in the collection plate

    woven through the nest
    a finely worked necklace

    • sandra says:

      I have noted “work-worn” and “finely worked”. Decided to post it anyway as L1 of the previous verse is marked as provisional.

  198. sandra says:

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    riding over the hill …
    the magnificent six

  199. Alan Summers says:

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    =========

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    I drink your milkshake
    all for a plain view

    Cult. famous film and T.V. quote

    the cat café runs out
    of tuna

    Cult. Osaka city: cat petting cafés

    the moonlight mask
    of Tokusatsu

    Cult. special film; kabuki influenced film

    Namazu needs to be restrained
    with a stone again

    Cult. mythology; sub-genre of ukiyo-e

    namazu excretes coins
    for the poor

    Cult. mythology; sub-genre of ukiyo-e

    namazu atones for all
    that he has done

    Cult. mythology; sub-genre of ukiyo-e

  200. Bill Dennis says:

    (category: film)

    slow as daguerrotypes
    but less serious

    a world floats
    in the stereopticon

    everything in our tintypes
    comes out backwards

    Last autumn I visited the Cinema Musuem in Torino and this is the result. I admit that references to specific films or personalities come slow to me and tend to go over my head when offered by others. An interesting fact I learned in the musuem is that the earnest faces people show in antique pictures created by daguerrotype are the result of the long time required to expose the photographic plate used in that process. Constipated sobriety was the only expression one could hold with immobility for long enough. The stereopticon is also called a “magic lantern” and it featured largely beneath the Christmas trees of my youth. Tintypes produced mirror-reversal in prints made by that process. Now you know.

  201. William Sorlien says:

    “constipated sobriety” . . . ; )

    none of that here mind you, lest it’s an after affect of a dead drunk. Cabin fever come to its fruition – almost lost my head to the Empress this morning – the sky is falling down as rain, the snow has melted, and the Mississippi is about to consume the town, if not the entire world.
    References to ‘magic lanterns’, ‘floating worlds’ and ‘backwards tintypes’ are applaudable, in my skewed view. Yet, should we go out on a ‘celebratory note’? (cf. Sagiura, author of the koyomi) Nothing but gut to go on from here of late, mate.

    I drink your milkshake
    all for a plain view – Alan

    why do I love that line? I’d like to know more . . . looking up Namazu now. You’ve taken hold of my curiosity and given it a good shake – just what we’ve needed here.

    riding over the hill …
    the magnificent six – Sandra

    say no more; a microcosm of our winter’s regret, a macrocosm of the times. Still, there is hope.

    I’m open to a L1 of any type to my last offer to move forward.

  202. John Carley says:

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    (the moonlight mask)
    of Tokusatsu

    Bravo Alan, this is the one; the reference to Tokusatsu is a perfect closing metaphor for this most modern of renku experiments that is none-the-less rooted in Japanese tradition.

    But, (why is there always a ‘but’ with me?) I’m keen not to have a second moon (above all in association with a Japanese noun), and I’m wary as hell about ‘mask’ due to our face swapping at #8.

    So, if a redraft is under examination what other criteria might we consider?

    Well, it could be good to introduce a comment on tne sequence via the metaphor. And we could boost the accessibility of the metaphor by the first person plural – which hasn’t been used in the sequence to date.

    There could be some mileage in tightening, at least apparently, the link to the preceeding verse. And lastly I’d go for three stressed beats in the first line.

    All of which gets me to something like:

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    we gasp at the delights
    of Tokusatsu

    Comments please.

    Best wishes, John

    • Alan Summers says:

      Hi John,

      More than happy for the verse to be altered. 😉

      we gasp at the delights
      of Tokusatsu

      This verse is fine by me, as it is deeply engrained in Japanese culture (and many other cultures) that we need a hero or series of heroes to defend our planet against natural disasters etc…

      I feared moon might be risky, despite Moonlight Mask being a person. 😉

      Moonlight Mask: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonlight_Mask
      Tokusatsu is a type of special film by the Japanese film makers that is influenced by Kabuki, and bunraku, hence my picking 1950s Super Hero Moonlight Mask.

      Tokusatsu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokusatsu

      we grow as equals
      of Tokusatsu

      we grow as equals
      in Tokusatsu

      Later Tokusatsu heroes grew in proportion to the size of the threat facing Japan.

      we gasp at the Kyodai Hero
      of Tokusatsu

      (Kyodai Hero means giant hero)

      we gasp at our giant heroes
      of Tokusatsu

      (giant hero means Kyodai Hero)

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Even after Will’s explanation, Tokusatsu lacks emotional impact for me. Too much explanation is needed. It is too distant a cultural artifact of Japan, tho I say this to a chamber filled with Nipponophiles. There is some difference between admiring Japanese culture and being Japanese, tho I say it at the end of a renku session. This thought arises from the same perspective as the question about the possibility of non-Japanese writing gendai links, lacking the requisite history from which to diverge. Obviously we have tried, here, but our attempts were not always successful, either. Of course, I will gladly accept the consensus and John’s final judgement.

      • Bill Dennis says:

        “Tokusatsu” translates as “special filming,” an awkward phrase, but would it be possible to make some translation of the term to reduce the obscurity?

        we gasp at the superheroes
        of special effects

        or something of that ilk, only better put.

      • lorin says:

        “. . . This thought arises from the same perspective as the question about the possibility of non-Japanese writing gendai links, lacking the requisite history from which to diverge. ” – Bill

        o, I’m not so certain about Western writers “lacking the necessary history” to write contemporary or ‘modern’ (gendai) haiku, Bill. That history is ours as much as that of Japanese poets, unlike the history of the time when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. What’s happened over the last century and a bit is that ‘gendai’ haiku has developed very much in convergence with (and influenced by) several movements of poetry in the West, notably surrealism and ‘language poetry’. Perhaps it all began with Shiki’s incorporation of Western realism in the C19, but it didn’t end there. Many Japanese haiku poets have, like many poets in the West, moved with the world-wide poetic movements of the time. We do not have to copy Japanese ‘gendai’ poets in order to write ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ haiku. We just need to know about the various ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ movements in poetry the world over in the past 100 years.

        Put a period deeply
        into the desert
        at the center of the New World

        – Ban’ya Natsuishi, A Future Waterfall

        note: ‘period’ here is an American English translation, and this sense of ‘period’, I’ve become aware, is intended to indicate the punctuation mark referred to in English, Australian English etc. as ‘full stop’.

        – Lorin

  203. Alan Summers says:

    Hi John,

    My previous post is under moderation as I put in a couple of weblinks. 😉

    Hi John,

    More than happy for the verse to be altered. 😉

    we gasp at the delights
    of Tokusatsu

    This verse is fine by me, as it is deeply engrained in Japanese culture (and many other cultures) that we need a hero or series of heroes to defend our planet against natural disasters etc…

    I feared moon might be risky, despite Moonlight Mask being a person. 😉

    Tokusatsu is a type of special film by the Japanese film makers that is influenced by Kabuki, and bunraku, hence my picking 1950s Super Hero Moonlight Mask.

    we grow as equals
    of Tokusatsu

    we grow as equals
    in Tokusatsu

    Later Tokusatsu heroes grew in proportion to the size of the threat facing Japan.

    we gasp at the Kyodai Hero
    of Tokusatsu

    (Kyodai Hero means giant hero)

    we gasp at our giant heroes
    of Tokusatsu

    (giant hero means Kyodai Hero)

  204. lorin says:

    Too late, I see… 🙂 Sorry, was caught up in other things last night.

    For what it’s worth, I only came up with one:

    work-worn hands,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod (prov)

    the turning world we share
    through google earth

    the turning world
    returns on google earth


    ‘Tokusatsu’ is a new one on me, so I’ve learnt something!

    I agree that more ‘moon’ & masks/ face-swapping wouldn’t do.

    – Lorin

  205. willie says:

    I like the suggestion of childlike awe in ‘we gasp at the delights of Tokusatsu’.
    It reminds me of going to the circus, or fishing with my dad. It seems a reference to another age, one with no sadness or fear, though that allows one a slight melancholy ache . . . pleasing.

    • Alan Summers says:

      Right on the money Willie! 😉

      It’s all of that, and the thrill of the cinema and the TV where heroes were possible, and in actual fact, despite the downplaying by workmen tackling Fukushima, where they say they merely worked in shifts, so not as affected by radiation, they are heroes, and that’s what we need.

      Even the bureaucrats are wearing boilersuits and mucking in as equals around the temporary shelters.

      Japan needed heroes just as much as the West, and they crowded round someone’s TV when the first Tokusatsu was televised. In fact my family had the same effect when we were the first to have a TV in the street. Even a BBC War Correspondent’s family had to see his first broadcast (Brian Barron) because they didn’t have a TV.

      I remember seeing the first ever showing of Dr. Who (considered to be Tokusatsu by the Japanese) where I felt like hiding behind an armchair and this was before later episodes where the hero battled daleks and cybermen. 😉

      The first Dr Who episode was around six years before the first moon landings where as a kid I was allowed to stay up all night (my parents were normally very strict).

      Whether the creators of Superman knew about Tokusatsu, it would still be considered in that genre by the Japanese. Also Tokusatsu includes Godzilla known as Gojira in Japan. Gojira is often compared to the earthquakes and tsunamis e.g.

      Tsunamis, Nuclear Meltdowns, and the Godzilla Effect
      Posted on 03/14/2011 by Bill Newcott

      “The destroyer rises from the ocean, utterly unexpected, leaves untold destruction in its wake; and gives rise to the threat of nuclear destruction.

      If the themes of the 1954 Japanese monster flick Gojira (Godzilla to us here in the U.S.) eerily echo the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown nightmare unfolding in Japan, the similarities are not completely coincidental.

      The fact is, while we consider Godzilla to be a cheapo thriller starring a guy in a lizard suit, for Japanese filmgoers less than a decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Gojira touched on fears that had long populated the nation’s nightmares…and which persist until this day.”

      From Sand and Tsunamis : Travels between Saudi Arabia and Japan blog:

      Gojira!!

      “Oh No! There goes Tokyo! Go, Go Godzilla!”
      (A great old song by Blue Oyster Cult)

      Here’s the lyrics in total:

      “Godzilla”
      (by Blue Oyster Cult):

      With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
      He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

      Helpless people on a subway train
      Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them

      He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
      As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

      Oh no, they say he’s got to go
      Go go Godzilla, yeah
      Oh no, there goes Tokyo
      Go go Godzilla, yeah

      Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
      Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
      Godzilla ga Ginza hoomen e mukatte imasu!
      Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai!
      Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai!

      Oh no, they say he’s got to go
      Go go Godzilla, yeah
      Oh no, there goes Tokyo
      Go go Godzilla, yeah

      History shows again and again
      How nature points up the folly of men
      Godzilla!

      The internet listings of Gojira and tsunami go on and there’s no need to list them here.

      I find it very emotive, and although the Tokusatsu verse isn’t directly alluding to the current earthquake and tsunami crisis, it’s there in the background. Half the world was put on tsunami alert, and one life was lost in Santa Cruz, USA.

      The earthquake not only shifted Japan about seven to eight feet, but affected the earth’s axis, and our day is shortened by an amount that would not normally happen for tens of thousands of years I believe.

      Tokusatsu is a deeply emotive word/phrase not just for the Japanese and Japanophiles, but for everyone who needs a superhero when a spectactular disaster has occurred, and we’ve had many even before the great Japanese triple disasters of quake/wave/radiation.

      I remember smuggling DC and Marvel Comics into my bedroom, and reading them by torchlight under the bedcovers because my parents didn’t approve of such writing material. But I had a need for larger than life heroes who could do what no government or police force could seem to do.

      I believe it’s inherent in the majority of the world population to believe in a hero either through religion; mythology; or popular culture, and that Tokusatsu is encapsulating that need.

      It’s a single word on the surface, but it captures everything I’ve said, and everything Willie has said. Gosh, I am emotional about the impact of this word. 😉

      Alan

  206. lorin says:

    ah, Alan, that piece by Bill Newman shines the light on your use of ‘Tokusatsu’ (a word I’d not come across before) and I understand now. Gojira /Godzilla! Yes, perfect for wrapping this renku up!

    http://blog.aarp.org/2011/03/14/tsunamis-nuclear-meltdowns-and-the-godzilla-effect/

    But without this background, I wouldn’t have had a clue., so Bill’s thoughts still give me pause: it would seem to need a lot of explanation or at least a hefty footnote, and the question does occur: are we writing for an English-language readership or for a Japanese readership and/or Japonophiles? I’m reminded again that renku, as well as haiku, depend to a great extent on shared culture.

    So my query would be along the lines of: what might be done in the first line of the ageku to clue readers in to the relevance of ‘Tokusatsu’, so that it’s not just a Japanese word?

    (L1 – – – – – – – -)
    of Tokusatsu

    after the tsunami
    the Tokusatsu

    the animated wave
    in Tokusatsu

    we relive the tsunami
    at the Tokusatsu

    saved from the wave
    in a Tokusatsu

    heroes against the wave
    in Tokusatsu

    ?
    …dunno. I’m sure someone will come up with something.

    – Lorin

  207. John Carley says:

    Earthquake Season
    _________________

    earthquake season –
    the avocado
    rolls this way & that

    wave upon wave
    a rainbow in curved air

    so beautiful
    this time of year
    the moon over Hiroshima

    the bitter aftertaste
    of my twig tea

    dead roach
    buried in the flower pot
    hastily snuffed

    the doors of perception
    rapidly closing

    100 billion neurons
    tapped deep
    to granite secrets

    they swap their faces
    back again they swap

    amid the smell of paint
    he coaxes
    a small smile from her

    blind in the fragrance garden
    witch-hazel

    flies all swatted,
    the lightest touch
    on the divining rod

    we gasp at the delights
    of Tokusatsu

    hokku – Sandra [shasei]
    wakiku – John [cultural – music]
    daisan – Willie [cultural – politics]
    #4 – Alan [shasei]
    #5 – Bill [shasei]
    #6 – Lorin [cultural – lit]
    #7 – Lorin [gendai]
    #8 – John [gendai]
    #9 – Sandra [cultura – art]
    #10 – Bill [shasei]
    #11 – Willie [cultural – religion]
    ageku – Alan [cultural – film]

    composed at Issa’s Snail
    28/02/11 – 23/03/11

    John Carley – UK (sabaki)
    Bill Dennis – USA
    Lorin Ford – AU
    Sandra Simpson – NZ
    William Sorlien – USA
    Alan J. Summers – UK

    ———–

    Hi everybody,
    I would like to propose the text above as a settled take on our poem.

    Is there such a thing as a definitve renku text? I’ve just seen Blade Runner – The Final Cut, which was what – 20 years after the initial release? And how many intermediate edits were there? As a musician I eventually learnt that there are as many mixdowns as there are producers… and A&R men to pay for the studion time!

    I won’t post any form of debrief (c.f. tomegaki) until we get this signed off. And there’s another poem of this experimental style just about to launch, so I’ll try to avoid entrenching too much prejudice in my immediate comments. But there’s a lot to think about here.

    One thing I have to say though: Bill, your comment on the potential inaccesibility of Tokusatsu as a reference to the sci-fi/schlock-horror genre is well made. It underpinned the drive for a first line that might speak of childish awe in general, and so lessen the specificity. I am very grateful indeed to Alan for his generosity in going with this, and for the exegesis that he and Willie post on the verse.

    It was this exegesis that returned me to Willie’s haibun-like account of “that old lady from Texas”. So doing I realised how inadequate, and in truth how demeaning, was my earlier suggestion of ‘wrinkled with age’. Sorry Willie.

    Best wishes, John

  208. John Carley says:

    How wierd, posts appear to be arriving and publishing out of synch. For my closing comments to Bill above please read: Bill and Lorin!

    🙂 J

  209. lorin says:

    Hi John, I guess “gasp at the delights/ of Tokusatsu” can be read, in context of the ‘substory’ relating to current Japanese tragedies of this renku, as a powerfully ironic comment about us ‘viewers from afar’.

    The current news now is photos of the ‘Fukushima 50’ heroes:

    http://www.news.com.au/world/first-pictures-of-the-fukushima-50-the-nameless-samurai-saving-japan-from-meltdown/story-e6frfkyi-1226027145986?from=igoogle+gadget+compact+news_rss

    ps… nice move to a lighter tone in “flys all swatted” 🙂

    – Lorin

  210. willie says:

    Well, I’ll be gol’ dang . . . I’m grinnin’.

  211. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    For me it’s very nice that we start with New Zealand (by dint of me living here) and end with Japan. We certainly feel “hands across the water” at the moment.

    I, too, wondered about “Tokusatsu”, and thank Bill for putting his thoughts so eloquently.

    But my second thought was that in the First Warm Day triparshva John very graciously chose my “taniwha” verse, without prejudice. Writing across cultures and languages is an occupation fraught with difficulties and “delights” so, once again, Alan’s verse proves its worth.

    I’d like to hear, just in general terms is fine, whether Ashley feels we have achieved what he wanted from his retooling of the junicho.

    One problem I see might be that it would be easy to make the junicho inaccessible to readers, if the sabaiki were to chose dense/obscure verses. We, naturally, given our sabaiki’s wisdom and all-round deft touch, have largely escaped that – the verses stand on their own metrical feet so it doesn’t matter if the reference is missed. But in the hands of a warlord? But if a junicho does end up like that will it, in fact, be read by a wider audience? Possibly not.

    Willie and John, I love the “flies” verse. Willie, I hope you will write a haibun about this woman. The story you told us has the ring of James Lee Burke!

    Best wishes to my fellow poets, it has been a pleasure to be here at Issa’s Snail with you.

    Sandra

  212. Bill Dennis says:

    And so the friends ride off into the dusty sunset, parting at their separate paths, with promises to meet again…when chance arises and needs must. I enjoyed this renku tremendously, both the composition process and the discussions. And it has been educational–shasei, gendai, Tokuhaku…, who knew? Getting to know each of you, at least a bit, has been a real treat and I hope we cross wires again, often. Reading the completed work is a trip in itself, full of associational memories each of us have created; I know I’ll enjoy them. My especial gratitude goes to John Carley, whose judgment and sensibility are impeccable and whose willingness to give of his time and of himself is exemplary. Lorin, Alan, Willie, Sandra…you’re pretty exemplary too, and creative as Mozart’s left hand–a company in which I’m honored to be included. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, drop in.
    I had a thought about the “New Junicho” format, which I’ll mention. First, let me say that I LOVE this innovation and foresee it spreading in in all directions–other forms of renku, other categories… Is it John Carley and Ashley Capes who deserve credit for this? My comments are simply reflections on the process; please do not take them as an expression of dissatisfaction.
    The categories used in traditional renku–summer, fall, winter, spring–are exclusive categories in the same sequence, while love and moon, if not exclusive of each other, are at least fairly independent of each other, though they may overlap the seasonal categories, since they are not part of the seasonal sequence. Still, there is little inherent overlap of the love and moon categories and it is easy enough to write a link which is set in one season and no other. And there are scads of established season words, which serve as identifiers and which structure the world of things according to seasonal associations.
    Categories for this “new junicho” overlap greatly, which was a conceptual problem for me, when I would set about creating a link. Please excuse my limited understanding, aggravated here by great over-simplification; gendai:modern-style and shasei:close observation of life, are easily seen to overlap. They are both stylistic categories, but not exclusive of each other, except in their separate historical origins. There is no reason to assume a link can not be both. Cultural categories: literature, politics, art (graphic?), music, religion and film, if you think about them, can be seen to overlap. There is a superficial appearance of these being in the same sequence, but it is not a series of firmly established divisions in the same spectrum. There is no reason a link could not deal with political music or religious literature. I believe I could contrive a link about a film portraying Hildegard von Bingen’s political situation as expressed in her religious writings and music. And then, there is no reason not to write that link in either gendai or shasei mode, or perhaps both.
    Perhaps one might consider these cultural categories as somewhat equivalent, in usage, at least, to the season categories of tradition, and the stylistic, gendai and shasei categories as equivalent to the traditional use of love and moon links. As in traditional renku, one may write an autumn-moon link, why not a music-gendai link and so on, in “New Junicho”?
    Some jiggering with the categories, or the eventual establishment of accepted boundaries for whatever categories will help. And back-and-forth of discussion will aide the process, and that is what I hope I am doing here (heavy as a lead ping-pong ball, I know). I’d be very interested in your thoughts, reactions and opinions.

    Yours, Bill

  213. ashleycapes says:

    Hi everyone, I’ll be back on the weekend to throw in my thoughts, but for this moment let me say that I’m very happy and thank you!

  214. lorin says:

    The text as you have it above looks good to me, John.

    Some thoughts on the ‘new renku’. I am so happy to have been able to participate in ‘Mark 1’ and the idea appeals to me immensely.

    A difficulty for me was to do with “shasei” and “gendai” . Firstly, that these styles were were included as categories. Secondly that whilst “gendai” (modern, contemporary) is a movement or “school” in Japan, many haiku in English seem to be much like “gendai” in any case (at least as far as Modern goes, and some can be considered ‘contemporay’, more or less in keeping with contemporary schools of poetry) .

    “Shasei” (sketch from life) is not a movement or school but a technique: that of writing about what’s immediately present, like art students sketch the model in a life class. Shiki promoted this technique for beginners and those who needed to ‘begin again’. (and he did not always follow it himself) It is not simply about ‘present tense’ or ‘realism’ or being ‘convincing.’ I write often from memory, even if that memory is sometimes only a couple of days old, and I also redraft and edit my haiku. That isn’t “shasei”. I might write a ku or notes for a ku now, about the overcast sky outside my window and the cramp in my foot. That would be “shasei”. But there’s no way, as a reader or editor, that I can tell the difference between a haiku that someone has written using the “shasei” technique and a convincingly ‘real’ haiku that someone has written about the moon they saw last night above the begonias or their camping trip in the Summer of ’68!

    So I think that using these terms as ‘categories’, with the implication that the difference is in styles or schools, might be misleading. ‘Traditional’ vs ‘Modern’ might be a bit better for EL renku, though a brief word about what’s meant by each and an example or two still would be good, otherwise ‘traditional’ invites the die-hard “5-7-5 syllables – always use a (listed, Japanese) kigo, – ‘shahuhachi syndrome’ mob and ‘Modern’ is anybody’s conception of the various schools of Modern and Post-modern poetry.

    Those are my only critiques.

    – Lorin

  215. John Carley says:

    Hi all, it’s a treat to read such thoughtful crits. It’ll be fascinating to see what team two come up with.

    A direct answer to Bill: it is Ashley who deserves all the opprobrium/credit for thinking outside so many renku boxes.

    Just before galloping over that horizon don’t forget that unless Ashley’s been holding out on us naming suggestions are still welcome. Japanese sequence names all tend to involve references to /plays on the number of verses. ‘Junicho’ for example means ‘twelve tone’ as in Schoenberg. So…

    a Full Shilling – pre-decimal Britain and associated countries had twelve pennies to the shilling. The expression ‘not a full shilling’ when used of an individual means: ‘not all there / somehow deficient’.

    a Twelve String – as in guitar, strands, bows, theory

    Best wishes, John

    • Alan Summers says:

      Yep, mentioning Schoenberg, in an earlier post I said:

      Punk Junicho:

      Although on a light note, it’s intriguing that if this is twelve tone, then there is another precedence of where classic form meets new form aka punk:

      “It has been not unreasonably argued that Arnold Schoenberg was the first punk because his 12-tone system introduced atonality to modern Western music.” Brian Burks

      Of course Punk doesn’t sound academic, and might be something I’ll explore myself as I often use 12 verse renku for my workshops. 😉

      Alan

  216. lorin says:

    ” a Full Shilling – pre-decimal Britain and associated countries had twelve pennies to the shilling. The expression ‘not a full shilling’ when used of an individual means: ‘not all there / somehow deficient’.” – John

    Ha! 🙂 Fascinating, these idioms. In Australia, the equivalent is “not the full quid” . It hasn’t changed since we changed from pounds, shillings and pence, either.

    Another is “a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock”. ;-), probably the equivalent of “a few screws loose in the attic”. . . not as common, but still in use.

    – Lorin

  217. Bill Dennis says:

    Culturally deprived in the States, we must fall back on our Sunday-school experience, saying someone is a ham-sandwich short of a picnic.

    I like the Twelve-String designation, riffing on the blues and implying jazz improvisation, which is really the heart of the matter. Twelve-Bar Junicho might hearken to the twelve-bar blues as art form more than to the instrument. I dunno, lights on, but nobody’s home.

  218. Bill Dennis says:

    I may already have over-expressed myself here; consider it a hallmark trait. I hope that your ability to ignore a post will make you tollerant. I have been looking at the atmospheric relationships between renku links. Whether this falls under the rubric of “linking-by-fragrance” or not, I am unsure, but that was the area I started from to arrive at this point. Of course, these descriptions could be different for each link, but this is my take and the thing about the sequence which I find interesting is the emotional sort of logic which seems to flow from link to link.

    Mood or fragrance linking between link numbers:
    1-2 primal stirring of lower orders-ecstatic response of higher orders
    2-3 ecstatic response of higher orders-aloof and tranquil beauty
    3-4 aloof and tranquil beauty-draw-down to sensory awareness
    4-5 draw-down to sensory awareness-descent to squalid reality
    5-6 descent to squalid reality-diminishing external sensory awareness
    6-7 diminishing external sensory awareness-increasing internal awareness
    7-8 increasing internal awareness-loosening ego boundaries
    8-9 loosening ego boundaries-re-focus on the mood of another
    9-10 re-focus on the mood of another-regaining sensory awareness
    10-11 regaining sensory awareness-expanding awareness of surroundings
    11-12 expanding awareness of surroundings-abandoned to external stimuli

  219. sandra says:

    Silly as a three-bob watch … a saying from my parents’ generation (and probably before). I daresay mine is the last generation that will know it – decimal currency came in when I was at primary school so although I know what my grandmother meant when she called the new coins thruppence and sixpence (2c and 5c) my kids wouldn’t have a clue.

    Internestingly, sixpences could be cooked inside the Christmas pud (after having been boiled first) whereas 5c pieces have to be slipped on to the plate during serving, something to do with the metal used.

    Ah, the good old days!

  220. g’day John, all

    Just to say that I have been following this new renku in attempts to fully grasp what sabaki was aiming to do with this structure. As a reader of this poem I find it extremely satisfying. It ebbs and flows. Every verse had personal resonance, thus the ease and the desire to keep on reading. Whilst I have no idea about Tokusatsu this last chosen verse worked as a suitable ageku since throughout I have been overwhelmed by images of disasters in New Zealand and the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear radiation calamities in Japan. The poignant relevancy of this poem is unavoidable.

    Congratulations to John and the team on a very fine poem, a good read.
    Thanks also for informative discussion. Whether or not this poem has met the desired aims of “new junicho” I wouldn’t have a clue, but it doesn’t matter to me as long as a poem is digestible, accessible to an average reader.

    Peace and Love

  221. willie says:

    I’ll have to say, ‘Earthquake Season’ is a lively read, probably made more so due to the format of topics it’s written in. The schema works well, though twelve verses might be the limit for such an innovative technique. We’re lucky to be afforded such modern structures of brevity as the Junicho on which to base this formula. However, despite the lack of sides and a corresponding chronological movement forward brought forth by seasonal references, this piece, crafted with skillful hands, assumes a potential for an uninterrupted flow all it’s own, with beginning, intensification and finale as satisfying as any good renku.

    I compared this poem side by side with a particular short renku that performed very well in its progression, and our poem was more than capable as a match for the creation of a dynamic flow, and probably exceeded the other for excitement and diversity of verse. Ingenuity was the engine to drive it forward, for sabaki as well as renju.

    It would be interesting to see my hypothesis of a restriction of length inherent in a shorter, intense form to assure the originality of the “new” renku proven false.

    Thank you for your generosity in allowing me to join you. As always, writing with the ‘Snailers’ is the most pleasurable and important of my writing experiences.

  222. ashleycapes says:

    Hello everyone! Thank you for your wonderful contributions, and patience, and your ceaseless inventiveness! And of course, to John for steering everything in the right direction. I agree, the final product has come out clear, accessible and full of its own power.

    I think Willie’s question about length is interesting, would this kind of renku work across a longer form? I’ve wondered and asked John about the Kasen, or even a Triparshva now that I think about it, where several verses of the same category may appear in little movements throughout. I wonder how that would read?

    And thank you, Barbara for your response too, great to hear that it works for you, that it has a flow and identity separate from the experiment we ran.

    As for a name, I’ve come up with nothing that struck me in private, and I’d like to hear more suggestions! Alan’s idea of a ‘Punk Junicho’ appeals to me, simply for the spirit in which punk was born, ideas of separation from a movement. And yet, so much of this renku relies on the past (as perhaps, punk has?) so maybe it doesn’t fit. But Music – one of our cultural categories, fits doesn’t it? Twelve Strings too. Hmmm…this is very difficult.

    Lorin’s points about ‘gendai’ and ‘shasei’ I don’t think I have the renku background to answer well. Though I have been researching the ‘gendai’ movement for months now, and trying to write a gendai verse is tough indeed, the more I read the more I realise I haven’t understood yet. Like any movement in a different culture to your own, it’s hard to work within. Fun though, and liberating, perhaps because gendai work has the traditional and radical (even revolutionary) within, and the tension between the two seems to sum many gendai verses up.

    Another issue is that, with much gendai verse, politics and other aspects of a society’s culture do feature. So how to differentiate between them? I think the group worked around this very well, by approaching the gendai category at a level of form and the abstract. But we can continue to tweak, for instance, if the moon & autumn kigo can appear in a single verse, can a gendai verse contain a hint of a topic that might be reserved for another verse? If it were part of the link or shift, why not?

    Could we have more exposition and example on the two ideas/categories/guidelines at the instructions section? I think once a name has been decided I might make a page at the site for this ‘New’ Junicho and try and explore some of the issues we’ve encountered here, there. That way, newcomers to the style will have additional reference, to the excellent discussion we have seen during this first renku.

    When John and I were discussing the possibilities of the ‘New’ Junicho we touched on the potential problems in using cultural categories. The cultural literacy of the reader would be important to how this was both read and written. The luck of doing this renku in the modern world, is the internet. We compose online, across time and space etc and also have online reference all around us. So it’s possible to chase up a referent as you go, though it doesn’t make for a smooth read, to break concentration to look something up like that.

    Much more satisfying to understand as you read, as we have with ‘Earthquake Season’ which while accessible certainly has its subtle points – which is part of what makes any renku worthwhile.

    All right, that’s enough rambling – hopefully it’s of some use!

    Ashley

  223. John Carley says:

    Hi everbody, I’m just back from a short holiday in deepest Derbyshire. Whilst in the village of Chapel-en-le-Frith (what he hell kind of language is that?!) I was able to sample a Hominty Pie. I’ve no idea what a ‘hominty’ is, but I do know it is not a cognate of hominy (as in ‘grits’) as that word comes from Algonquin (thanks Google). So I went to nearby Bakewell and bought another hominty pie, which left me no wiser as it was completely different. Chapel is no more than 50 miles from where I was born. ‘Hominty’ does not show up on my search engine.

    It seems to me that, if we wish to consider renku as poetry rather than some frightfully recondite pastime, no matter how we delimit our verses in terms of topic, be it ‘autumn/moon’ or ‘cultural/film’, such considerations are the barest starting point for our artistry not the end point.

    Is a knowledge of the materials and techiques employed in its realisation essential to our appreciation of a sculpture by Moore or a qawwali by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan? Of course it may be of interest, but *necessary*…

    For me Barbara has it exactly : it doesn’t matter […] as long as a poem is digestible, accessible to an average reader

    Ashley – if we have team two I’m ready to go any time there’s a page up. It might help if all participants were encouraged to scan the posts in this strand.

    I note btw that it has taken considerably more posts that syllables to complete the poem. And I don’t see much evidence or rambling or purely social comments in the exchanges!

    Best wishes, John

  224. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve just discovered this article on Bluenotes renku … you may already be aware of it, if so I apologise.

    http://www.simplyhaiku.com/SHv2n5/renku/Bluenotes.htm

    Interesting in terms of what this new beast might be called.

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