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Book of the Week – The Renga Project edited and designed by Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman

An excerpt from the The Renga Project Forward, written by Jon Davis: “Our project began on the summer solstice of 2013 and ran through the course of 52 weeks, to end on the summer solstice of 2014. Each Friday, during the entire year, under the burning sun of summer, the freezing blizzards of winter, and the tumultuous winds of spring, we added a new stanza to our display structure in the Santa Fe Railyard and removed the oldest stanza. Six sequential stanzas could be seen throughout the year, changing weekly. Each poet read their stanza as we hung it on the sign, a series of 52 extremely short poetry readings.

We also invited 52 visual artists from New Mexico to each respond to a stanza with a pen and ink line drawing. Like the Dadaist exquisite corpse, the drawings link one to the next. Each artist saw only the poetry they were illustrating, and not the drawings which came before or after. This book presents the entire poem along with the 52-panel drawing. Collaboration was created within and between writers and visual artists, with renga inspiring a transdisciplinary inspiration across art forms.”

The Renga Project was published by Axle Contemporary in 2014.

Following are a few selected poems from the book:

fallen petals – leaves of light –
dissolve, barefoot becoming
in the campfire moon
sing to me, Yosemite
old bear seeks your taste
at noon the sun hits
a mark on the wall penciled
many years ago
where does the chill come from? why?
an owl is flung towards night

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 2018 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 the THF Digital Librarian Kenneth Pearson and are used with permission.

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