After a short hiatus, The Renku Sessions returns to The Haiku Foundation. I am John Stevenson and I will be your guide for a twelve-verse renku, in which we will compose one verse per week until completion. A longer session, with a different leader, is being planned to follow this one.
Renku is a kind of game for poets, through which a collaborative poem is created. Succeeding verses are written by different contributors. Throughout the entire work, each new verse connects in some way with the one preceding it but with no others. A renku is not narrative in nature. Rather, it has been likened to traveling down a winding river, in which we know where we have been and which way we must turn to follow the river, but not yet where or in which direction we will have to turn next.
I will aim to make this session enjoyable for both new and experienced renku partners. Rather than laying all of the rules before you at once, a nearly impossible task and surely a way to discourage newcomers, I will give you a few requirements for each verse and leave it at that. My hope is that this will be fun and will encourage you to want to do it again. Subsequent practice will always yield new lessons. But, first, it has to be fun.
I now begin by asking you to submit offers for the starting verse (hokku). Here are the requirements:
- a three-line poem of seventeen syllables or less
- an image that suggests autumn (for poets in the northern hemisphere) or spring (for poets in the southern hemisphere)
- a two-part structure – two different images, separated by punctuation (a comma, dash, ellipsis, etc.) or by a line break that clearly indicates a break in narrative structure
Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Tuesday, November 19 (New York time zone). On Thursday, November 21, there will be a new posting containing my selection for our opening verse, some discussion of other appreciated offers, and instructions for composing the second verse.
I look forward to seeing your offers!