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Book of the Week: Renga 4×2 by British Poets Colin Blundell and Dick Pettit

This is a collection of renku by British poets Colin Blundell and Dick Pettit. Renku is the modern version of the ancient Japanese art of renga. Renga was a complex collaborative literary (and often drinking) game played by Japanese nobility beginning in the twelfth century. Certain topics (such as the moon, and flowers) were predetermined to appear at specified locations in the poem.

From the Introduction – “We had a lot of fun and excitement in making these renga, as well as some distraught moments. We hope they will be of general interest, and, most of all, encourage those within and outside haiku circles to experiment. The form, as well as being a party game, has unlimited possibilities as an art, both for self-discovery, and as a way of determining truths about oneself and the world.”

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library and please share your favorite poem from the book with us.

Do you have a chapbook published in 2016 or earlier that you would like featured as a Book of the Week? Contact us for details. Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by THF Digital Librarian Dan Campbell and are used with permission.

Renga 4x2

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Dan. I read it all. Saved to my renku files. Blundell and Pettit cut through a rules-based renga/renku approach to give useful notes and examples of the principles; clearer, less convoluted, more concise than some.

    Favourite quote:
    “Modern renga are often disappointing. If there are no obvious rhythms or progressions, no apparent dialogue between the verses, and the verses are trite or eccentric, the reader loses interest. What are these people playing at?”

    Favourite verse: the hokku by Boncho:

    above a town
    filled with the odours of things
    the summer moon

    I got hooked on renku in the sessions led here last year, and learned so much in the exercise of this tradition, especially from John Stevenson. I read up on it a great deal. Sad that there have been none this year.

    1. Thanks Keith for your comment, I told Dick Pettit about your reply and I am sure he will appreciate it.

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