I hope that some of you have been missing the renku feature. My apologies for the gap. This is chiefly due to a couple of factors. One is that I have not proven very effective in finding other qualified leaders for the sessions and, thus, have had to wait for my schedule to clear a bit. And the other is the many opportunities that have filled my schedule during the first half of this year. In addition to helping to judge or administer a series of haiku contests, each of which has drawn thousands of entries, I have been busy with theater work. This has, most notably, included my first experience as co-director of a film. “Voices for Peace,” a documentary focusing on local (to Albany, New York) and international peace activists, two of whom have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, premiered last weekend.
Here’s hoping that you are ready to get started again. So, this is a call for you to offer potential hokku (opening verses) for a twelve verse Jûnichô renku. Your verses should feature either a summer (Northern Hemisphere) or winter (Southern Hemisphere) kigo from the list of 500 Essential Season Words on the Renku Home web site. Also from this site, the following guidelines.
Practical Guidelines for the Jûnichô Renku Form
by Seijo Okamoto, Master of the Haikai Sesshin
translated by William J. Higginson and Tadashi Kondô
- A renku must have literary value and a sense of stylishness. This is what Bashô called “timeless and fashionable” (fueki ryûkô).
- A twelve-tone renku consists of twelve stanzas. There is no front or back. One blossom stanza, which may be any flower in any season–it need not be cherry blossoms. One moon stanza, which may be any sort of moon in any season. About two love stanzas, in any position. About half the verses will be seasonal (a pair each for spring and autumn, one each summer and winter), and half non-seasonal, in a flexible order. About half with human focus, the rest on places, animals, plants, and the like.
- Progression and diversity are the essence of renku. Accordingly, a wide variety of things in nature and the world of humans should appear.
Please present your hokku offers in the comments section, below. Offers should be made by midnight, eastern US time, on Monday, June 20. On Thursday, June 23 I will post a selection of the offers, with my comments, and select the verse that will get us started on our next renku journey.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy: https://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct