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The Renku Sessions: Barely Time – Week 14


Please have a look at our archived renku:

Thank you to those of you who contributed comments this week, including alternate title possibilities. Suggested titles included “Missing Keys” (Chris Patchel, Nancy Brady, Wendy C. Bialek), “Walking Barefoot” (Debbie Scheving, Wendy C. Bialek), “Somehow Forgetting” (Betty Shropshire, Wendy C. Bialek) and “Falling Among Poppies” (Wendy C. Bialek). To these, I would add, “Short Night,” “Count the Stars” “Still Fresh,” “Back Seat,” “Tortuga,” “Borrowed Scent,” “Apple Juice,” “Snow Moon,” and “All the String.” And, most mischievously, I would offer “Scissors Cut Paper.” A title that consists of an entire verse would be a unique novelty, in my experience, and only possible because of the minimalism that developed as a style choice in the course of our collaborative creation. It would make it clear that we do not apologize for this style.

In live renku sessions, I like to end with a reading in which each poet recites their own verse(s). The variety of (literal) voices says something warm about what we have experienced together. Regrettably, this is not an option in this setting but perhaps you will join me in imagining it.


I’m going to be traveling at times during the remainder of this year and don’t feel that I can offer the kind of sustained focus required for another renku during that period. I haven’t heard from any experienced renku session leaders who might take up the task. I’ve come to feel that this is not a good setting for anyone to “learn the ropes” of renku leadership. And it would require even more focus and attention for me to teach that process in this setting.

All the same, I feel, as many of you do, that this kind of collaborative work is valuable and enjoyable. So, I am thinking that perhaps another period of tan-renga practice might take us forward from here. It would be weekly but could be suspended during weeks in which I am actually in transit (via cross-country trains) or in attendance at a haiku event. So, here is my offer:



Please submit one to five three-line verses that you would be willing offer for “capping” by two-line verses to be added in the following week by other poets. Enter your offers in the comments section, below, before midnight (Eastern US time) on Monday, September 19. On Thursday, September 22, I will comment on some of the offers, identify three verses to be “capped” during the following week, and suggest some things to keep in mind when “capping.”


Thank you, all,






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:

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Thank you so much John, most generous of you.
    I will delight in engaging in the energy that the Renku fostered – by writing more offerings.

  2. My offerings:
    nothing to say
    and here they are
    muttering parrots


    we patch up
    this autumn night
    under the lantern sky


    rowing the boat
    splitting the sunlight
    on the ghats of Ganges


    fitting the puzzle
    of the mountain mist
    laden with wildflowers


    a slip in my tongue
    as i spill out the secret
    of the ancestors


    Lakshmi Iyer

  3. Many thanks John for the opportunity to continue writing
    scarecrow holding
    the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    more headlines
    and breaking news means
    it’s time to water the bonsai
    prodigal sons
    and strays
    searching for home
    owls hoot, wolves howl
    and men weep
    under a full moon
    jogging faster
    by the cemeteries
    and crack houses

  4. morning prayers
    with aid leaves turn
    to and fro
    cooling off
    the water heater’s
    river of rust
    among fallen limbs
    a sunning snake
    words unspoken
    strawberries trimmed
    of mold
    dusty closet
    one good suit reserved
    for the funeral

  5. Thanks, John, for carrying on with some tan-renga

    full moon
    the long distance driver
    sings of home
    summer rain
    the riverbank swells
    with buddleia
    caught on CCTV
    a moth hovering
    round the porch light
    a broad-brimmed hat –
    taking the shade
    wherever I go
    morning sun
    from a top floor balcony
    the bark of a dog

  6. Thank you John, for leading us through these tan-renga sessions!

    Here is my offering of five verses:

    in the patio
    the peonies cry –
    late night spell

    this rooster
    wakes all the world but
    its housemates

    ballerina –
    through a glass door he
    follows her glissade

    diamond ring –
    she carries her aura
    to the sun

    dotting the sky
    a new body
    …the ship sets sail

  7. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    windfall apple
    first red
    in the maple leaves
    stealing off without a word…
    the gleam of a key
    in the crow’s mouth

  8. old gunny bag
    full of silver vessels

    Progress report
    not satisfactory
    still dad’s cheers
    hot summer
    frequenting bath tub
    mom’s in deaf ears
    withered roses
    In her pooja room
    her hand’s piety
    after tournament
    still bleeding in victory
    laurels hidden

  9. another loss
    she counts the cost
    of her addiction

    creeping dread
    wolf whistles
    follow her home

    Saharan sand
    the sunset

    autumn shadow
    still seeing the skyscraper
    that’s not there

    dry summer
    the shrinking reservoir
    reveals secrets

  10. More fun More Creative Intercourse. Thanks for all you do John!

    regular season
    their first year of marriage
    ends in overtime

    kitten season
    the reality of six more
    mouths to feed

    storm season
    stocking up on essentials
    like pretzels and beer

    soaring food costs
    flying in the face of the
    next shuttle launch

    october chill
    dire news that the cancer
    has spread

  11. Many thanks, John. A good read.

    Thank you for taking on the continuation of renku sessions with tan-renga. My five propositions below:

    the morning after
    remembering to ask
    for pronouns

    between reports
    from the battlefield
    an ad for sofas

    beyond city limits
    a tumbledown shack
    covered with roses

    hot night
    a lady cat cleans up
    between trash cans

    not catching tarpon
    up the Manatee River
    a perfect morning…

  12. Thank you , John, for keeping the fun going with tan-renga practice!

    front porch
    spider webs
    catching morning light

  13. great idea, john!

    here is my first verse offer for a tan-renga, ready for capping, (pun intended):

    white roses
    how well she wore
    that crown

    wendy c. bialek

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