Thank you for your title suggestions and comments. As I explained last week, we will be keeping “A Better Look” as the title of this renku. And several of you noted that this would be your choice, independently of any technical considerations.
One “technical” reason that I haven’t mentioned before, about choosing a word or phrase from the first verse (hokku), is that the movement within a renku is forward. Always forward. So, if the title occurs somewhere after the first verse, our attention may be drawn back to the title when we encounter that word or phrase later. And if the title is something that doesn’t appear anywhere in the renku, we will still feel the drag of our expectation that it may be in the next verse as we read along.
All the same, it is possible to use a phrase from later in the renku. And, even if we do not do so, it can be fun to look for phrases that might serve in this way.
Among those you have suggested, I am particularly fond of:
“the scarecrow’s hat”
“a pail of polliwogs”
“(A Pail of) Pollywogs”
In addition, I find the following phrases potentially resonant as titles:
“the slow drawl”
“not a scratch”
I had planned to take a complete break for a couple of months at this point. The months of February through the first half of April are a particularly busy time for me in my role as managing editor of The Heron’s Nest. But the comments from several of you about how this feature is a positive creative outlet in a time when it is most needed have caused me to look for a middle way.
What I’ve come up with is a simplified way of keeping this going until I can once again turn my full attention to a new renku session.
Tan-renga is a short linking form, involving two verses, by two poets. Here is some additional information about it: http://www.graceguts.com/essays/introduction-to-tan-renga
As Michael Dylan Welch says in this Graceguts post, “The word “tan” simply means “short,” so a tan-renga is a short renga—just two verses. The two-line capping verse responds to or turns on the three-line starting verse, thus making a new whole, creating something similar to the 1,300-year-old form of waka (known today as tanka). A key technique is to link and shift with each response verse, adding something at a right-angle to the preceding verse, yet still connected, whether emotionally, tonally, or in some other creative way.” (emphasis added)
So, I will offer three lines and invite you to offer candidates for a two-line response verse. I will highlight and comment briefly on some of the offers next week. I will then invite participants to offer three-line verses during the following week, from which I will choose one to begin another round. And we will continue in this way until I am able to devote my full attention to a longer renku (probably in mid-April).
Here is my first three-line offer:
wind beaten marquee
Some of the Silence (1999)
Please use the comments box, below, to enter your two-line “capping” verses. I will review offers that arrive before midnight on Monday, February 2 (New York time zone). On Thursday, February 4, there will be a new posting in which I will comment on some of the two-line “capping” verse offers and issue an invitation for three-line verses we might use for a new round of tan-renga.
Looking forward to seeing your capping verse suggestions!