Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.
Our Renku So Far:
Once again I enjoyed reading everyone’s ideas. If you’ve used a topic checklist (two from Japanese renku clubs are published in Kondô & Higginson’s “Link and Shift” article), you’ll see that the offerings range through many of the categories. A few are ineligible for various reasons. In a couple of offers, summer sneaked in, though season wasn’t intrusive this time. There were other problems, though. In some of the offers (notably those with sound imagery) there was a whiff of linking to the maeku in a way that reverts to or recalls the uchikoshi. This is called kannonbiraki, one of my favorite renku words. It refers to a shrine with double doors that open symmetrically outwards. In a few other verses, echoes of imagery in the hokku also crept in here and there. No matter—even when we’re vigilant these things happen.
More seriously, a number of offers have been travel verses, proper nouns, and a very interesting literary reference to a poem about infant death. Creative energy is being spent on verses that we can’t use this early in the renku, so I’ll say a bit more about jo-ha-kyu. It might be useful to know why I place the verses I do while passing over others that seem worthy in and of themselves.
In the call for hokku, I advised that the jo as like the early stages of a party when we’re all still greeting each other and conversation is polite. That was a simplification so as not to burden everyone with rules and proscriptions while we were just starting off. Actually, there’s a defined role for each side of the renku. For the jo this involves avoiding topics such as death, war, religion, illness, lamentation, love (meaning sex), and proper nouns. Though travel and proper nouns might seem arbitrary, Carley explains that travel was a grueling enterprise in the Edo period, while the specificity of names and places can disrupt the flow of the poem. The idea is that jo be a place where participants “establish their presence” and “the reader is likewise eased in” (JEC, “A Dynamic Pattern: pacing with jo-ha-kyu,” Renku Reckoner pp. 89-91).
Another factor in the choice of verses is wider context within the poem. You may know Ferris Gilli’s paper “English Grammar: Variety in Renku,” delivered at a seminar which Paul organized for the World Haiku Club in 2000 (online at WHR Archives). If so, you know the importance of variety in renku. Variety goes beyond grammar and syntax, though. I assume you also know or participated the discussion on point of view that took place during the previous renku, which Sandra has copied to the Forums. Certain types of scent linking deal with this, too, but we’ll get into linking techniques later.
With three verses placed, our renku has developed a trajectory. Hokku, wakiku and daisan are nicely varied in syntax; all three are shasei that segue from one to the next through descriptive imagery and clear linking. While other sabakis may lead differently, my own sense after reading all your ideas is that verse 4 is the optimal time to pull things together not with another shasei but a first-person verse that leads us deeper into mood through personal response. Of the two or three intriguing offers that went in this direction. I’ve selected Barbara Taylor’s. I hope you like it as much as I do. Its mood of gentle nostalgia brings in fresh energy that’s just right for the slot. See how it colors the maeku with a layer of memory, ties the progression together, and prepares us nicely for the moon verse that comes next!
a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
to applaud a subway
– Karen Cesar
of our bygone days
~Barbara A. Taylor
Onward to verse 5—the moon
The moon appears twice in triparshva, in an autumn run on the second side, and here in the jo, where our schema says it may be either winter or spring, It’s important to understand that moon is a kigo and your verse will be autumn by default unless you clearly show we’re in a different season. You may find these resources helpful for inspiration:
- “Moon and related links”, World Kigo Database
- “Full moon names and their meanings,” Farmer’s Almanac (cold moon, long night’s moon, wolf moon, snow moon. . . )
- “Moon”, from Fay Aoyagi, “Dissection of the Haiku Tradition: Ten Short Essays on Japanese Kigo,” (originally published in Frogpond, archived online at NZPS and THF).
Specifications for the verse are
- Three lines, uncut
- Either winter or spring (your choice)
- After two person verses, it’s time to go back to non-person.
- Let this one be purely nature in its imagery.
- Again, here are your maeku and uchikoshi:
to applaud a subway
of our bygone days
Link to the maeku; shift from the uchikoshi. I think that if you just inhale the mood of the maeku and envision either winter or spring, linking will happen naturally.
How to Submit:
All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant. Calls for submissions will remain open for one week, at the end of which I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each and choose the one that best serves the renku.
The call for verse 4 will remain open until Monday, July 27, 2015 at midnight (EDT).
- If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my introductory post.
- For the archive of previous calls and submissions, click here.
- This renku will follow a schema by Norman Darlington. The layout for a Summer Triparshva may be found by reading down the second column from the right.
- Some online saijikis (season word list):
- Kenkichi Yamamoto, “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words,” tr. Kris Kondo and William J. Higginson, online at Renku Home (2000, updated 2005).
- ” The Yuki Teikei Season Word List”, online at Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 1997.
- World Kigo Database, ed. Gabi Greve, also includes links to a number of regional kigo lists and saijiki.
- Online resources on linking and shifting include
***New and highly recommended***
- John E. Carley, Renku Reckoner, ed. Norman Darlington and Moira Richards (2013, print ed. Lulu 2015), sample pages are online through Google Books.