I’m Kala Ramesh from India and I will be your guide for the eight-stanza rasika renku
It’s Thursday and I’m back!
I received 97 candidates from 45 renkujin (renku poets) – a staggering number of hokku offers to choose from … for just one position!
The hokku is an autumn moon verse. There were many strong images, but I couldn’t take them, for, either they were falling short of syllable count or they spoke about moonlight – moonlight is not a seasonal word nor is it a substitute for moon. And a few verses spoke about love. When writing renku, we need to constantly check the schema – for it clearly states the verse allotment. Unlike rengay, renku is non-thematic but there is a pattern and the schema is meticulously followed.
When it came to form – I received many sentence haiku. Hokku needs a kire (a cut) and it’s effective when you show the cut with a kireji (cut marker or a punctuation).
There were many which appealed to me. Let me talk about a few which worked and didn’t work as a hokku:
the day moon caught
in a tree’s branch
Liz Ann Winkler
I particularly liked L 1. It is unusual and I loved the juxtaposition here.
to the other side
Yes, every renku is a journey. The resonance between the words and images is effective here. For a hokku, I would have liked to see this poem with a cut marker, like this:
to the other side…
That pause gives that much needed ‘ma’ here!
a river of words
glitters under the moon
. . . incoming tide
I love the meeting of the river and the ocean here. Succinctly done.
our flashlights probe
the corn maze
Nicely done with effective visuals. The word ‘probe’ is most appropriately used here.
he sings his heart out
I like this a lot but starting off the renku with an unknown ‘he’ creates an ambiguity which is not needed.
a hint of moon
peeking through my shutters
the pumpkin man
Again, this has traces of a pivot, meaning L2 acts as a hinge door. The hokku needs a clear ‘cut’. Otherwise, this is a fun hokku!
catching the glass eye
of a mounted deer
This poem is sad and poignant for it reminded me of the days when hunting was legal. But it reads like a sentence, which weakens the hokku.
soaking in moonlight
and good cheer
In Sushama Kapur’s verse we have the word ‘Kojagiri’, and the explanation she has given is: *Kojagiri is a harvest festival in India.” The word itself means ‘one who is awake’. Generally, in the first few verses foreign words are not used because it becomes difficult to understand.
at the harvest moon
This verse is visually effective but two seasonal words, in my view, is a bit too much in a hokku. Harvest moon and scarecrow are strong autumn season words in the Japanese tradition.
the quiet sounds
of a table being set
This is an absolute ‘quiet’ winner. I love the L3 and it gives a good feeling of a gathering that’s about to happen.
a just born wail cheers
the surgical room
Oh! We all know, we’ve seen and heard this cry. Generally, the hokku is a celebratory verse and I see a lot of celebration here.
the long distance driver
sings of home
I love this. I have a weakness for any haiku which is about music!
Eiko Yachimoto once said that the ageku (the last verse) can be independently composed and kept ready! It doesn’t have to link to the previous verse. In that case, can you keep this verse for the ageku, Andrew? Ageku is generally uplifting.
the long distance driver
sings of home
We’ll see at the end if we can use this verse.
a spontaneous gatha
for the rising moon
Nicely tuned to our renku.
in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso
This seems to give a good impetus to the whole process of collaborative work. “In Zen, ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.” (Wikipedia)
There was a tie and a battle in my mind for almost 24 hours, which one to choose and …
The hokku chosen for this renku is Laurie Greer’s offer:
the moon colorized
by its aura
I’ve known of old black and white films being given colour. But, the moon colourized by its aura is an imaginative way to express an image. opening credits – is an arresting way to begin this hokku.
Congratulations, Laurie! You are beginning the rasika for us! Thank you for this brilliant hokku.
True to Basho’s beliefs – you have helped us to start off this renku on a stretch of imagination!
It’s not necessary to be so strict about rules, especially in rasika, so we’ll do away with the kireji (punctuation) since the kire (cut) is very strong here between L1 and Ls 2 & 3.
I’m going the suggest “The Moon’s Aura” as our working title, though ‘Opening Credits’ would also serve us. This hokku beautifully suggests our involvement and the way in which we’ll be moving forward – imagination will play a huge part in colouring this renku! Exciting!
We move on to our second verse – wakiku
For those who are new to renku: The hokku is the only verse in a renku which requires a cut – something we do when writing a haiku, which juxtaposes two images to create a whole. With rare exceptions, all of the subsequent verses should read straight through, sentence-like.
As already mentioned, the first verse, known as a hokku, is the only stand-alone verse in the entire renku – all other verses depend and lean on the previous one like a pack of standing cards, for their support.
Progression and diversity are the essence of renku, and we should try to include a wide variety of things in nature, seasons and the world of humans.
In renku we don’t link to our own verse.
The requirements will be as follows:
A two-line verse of 12 syllables or less.
Without a grammatical break.
A non-seasonal verse, with human presence.
An indoor activity.
Move away from autumn and the moon – don’t repeat words already contained in the hokku.
The relationship between the first two verses is especially close, with the second verse closely supporting, or buttressing the hokku, and usually remaining in the same scene.
You are now invited to submit up to three wakiku (second verse) offers. Please post them by Sunday, 10th October.
The selected wakiku will be posted next Thursday morning (Eastern US time) and instructions will be given for submitting the daisan (3rd verse.)
Thanks once again for all your lovely offers.
Keenly waiting to read your waki.
Allow your imagination to run wild!
And most importantly don’t forget to have fun!
With palms pressed,
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