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The Renku Sessions: Imachi – Week 13

renku_300

Welcome to another Renku session. I am Linda Papanicolaou. The renku I am leading this time is an Imachi, an 18-verse form from Renku Masters Shunjin and Seijo Okamoto (“Waiting for the Moon,” 1984). Like Junicho, the other form they gave us, Imachi is a single-sheet renku though it develops in a more traditional jo-ha-kyu structure and depends more on the flow of passages of verse in its linking.

A thorough discussion may be found in John E. Carley’s Renku Reckoner, pp. 51-56, online at Google Books. The section includes a discussion, a selection of seasonal schemata, and a lovely example, “Between the Jagged Rocks”, by JEC and Norman Darlington.

 

Choice of verse 12:

The weeks are flying! With the placement of this verse we are two-thirds of the way through our imachi. Many thanks to the 16 participants who contributed your ideas to our third and final love stanza. The particular challenge this time was the maeku, which raised the prospect of divorce without being the final verse in the run. If one chose to write a verse in the “love passing” topic category, there wasn’t a lot of room for shift. Plus, the maeku and uchikoshi each depicted both members of the liaison in third person so that another third person plural, even if not the same couple, would be a narrative continuity, which is to be avoided in renku.

Some of the submissions dealt with this by switching to a first person plural “we” or a third person singular focusing on one of the partners (“she”). Choice of topic categories was widely varied. In the end-of-love category we had divorce, death, grand opera, or simply plugging on. Some verses framed the love as memory or other topics we don’t yet have—a photo album, religion, a pet, or outdoor activities. In some cases, I wasn’t quite sure what authors intended so resorted to Google to figure it out. That’s fine for the ha section and always fun. I now know about Rolls Royce Phantoms, the correct definition of “alpenglow,” and what “link rot” is (ironically and mysteriously, Pauline and I ran into 404 errors when attempting to post, which is why there are some test messages from the service department on the thread).

More to the point, the thread has given me a chance to think a lot more about what makes for a good love sequence. What increasingly became apparent was that the renku seemed to be saying that a “love passing” verse was perhaps too predictable, that it wanted a turn in direction. Among the offers that did this we had Chuck Berry, renewal of vows, and humorous references to sex itself.

Although the expectation has been one verse per person in order to place as many participants as possible, we’re breaking the pattern here because one of Paul’s submissions is offers a delicious opportunity that cannot be passed up. Here it is with maeku and uchikoshi—our love sequence in its entirety:

at a table the couple
whispers in French
~Carmen Sterba

the Beckhams
laugh off rumours
of impending divorce
~Andrew Shimield

to imitate the love manual
we bend in strange new ways
~Paul MacNeil

In a slot where some sort of end-of-love verse might have been predicted, Paul’s takes us in a totally different, unexpected direction—I picture this “we” as a couple, married and older (though they don’t have to be—don’t even have to be just two of them, actually) attempting to spice up their sex lives with a copy of the kama sutra. You can get one “for beginners” in paperback on Amazon, though diagrams and video are widely available online. Closer to Japanese context, in 2013 the British Museum had an exhibition erotic ukiyo-e; the museum’s publicity, reflected in reviews stresses the comic aspects of the “bizarre and awkward contortions that are more laughter-inducing than arousing (review in Huffington Post); there are also informative reviews in The Guardian and The Telegraph).

Paul’s verse shares this quality in the way let’sthe maeku’s guarded laughter spill in and as “we” self-consciously try to follow the book. The verse also pokes my analysis of traditional vs. contemporary in the previous thread. and that too deepens the layering. Most importantly, it brings a shot of new energy to the renku and sets us up for a light and easy summer verse. Many thanks, Paul!

Our renku so far:

a row of icicles
blue sky and sunshine
dripping from the eaves
~Simon Hanson

on Earth Day, deep breaths
for the scent of it
~Lorin Ford

see how overnight
the apple orchard’s turned
all blossom
~Polona Oblak

opening my journal
to a blank page
~Maureen Virchau

the boy carrying
the sousaphone
almost disappears
~Paul MacNeil

Friday school shooter
with his father’s gun
~Pauline O’Carolan

red tailed hawks
ride out the winter
in a big oak
~Michael Henry Lee

again, steep beach erosion
after lashing waves
~Barbara A. Taylor

bouillabaisse
chalked on the board
as plat du jour
~ Marion Clarke

at a table the couple
whispers in French
~Carmen Sterba

the Beckhams
laugh off rumours
of impending divorce
~Andrew Shimield

to imitate the love manual
we bend in strange new ways
~Paul MacNeil

 

Call for Verse 13:

This will be the first of two summer verses. It’s outdoors and non-person, so it should inspire some nice summer scenery.  But as always, go where the spirit takes you!

Specifications for the verse:

  • Three lines
  • Summer season
  • Non-person verse
  • Outdoors
  • Link to the maeku, shift from the uchikoshi.
  • Anything in the hokku is off limits for the duration of the renku.
  • Also, don’t include a moon–that topic is reserved for later in the renku.
  • Please also check your offers for repetition of topics, aspects or significant words from earlier in the renku—this is not necessarily a blanket proscription, but if you can find a different way to get your meaning across, so much the better.
  •  By the way, we do not yet have the nature topics/categories of mountain, river,  beasts (i.e. mammals), or insects.

 

Registering your verse offers:

  • Use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of this thread to submit your offers.
  • Please hold revisions or corrections to a minimum, but if you must do so, use the “Reply” link on your own post rather than initiate a new submission.
  • Post your submissions before midnight Monday, 9 July, Eastern USA time.
  • The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 12 July, Eastern US time.

This Post Has 59 Comments

  1. Submissions are now closed, folks. A nice group of submissions this time. Stay cool, dry or otherwise safe if you’re in some of the weather that’s making the news this week. See you Thursday.

  2. low tide
    each bear opening clams
    her own way

    all the while
    the glacier carves
    a deeper V

    in the back plot
    bean and cucumber vines
    tangle

    1. Just saw my three haiku were posted as one 9 liner.
      Please read as three separate haiku: again
      ********
      low tide
      each bear opening clams
      her own way
      ********
      all the while
      the glacier carves
      a deeper V
      ********
      in the back plot
      bean and cucumber vines
      tangle

    2. Welcome, Jennifer!.Nice linking–love the image of those vines–certainly a lushly growing garden!

  3. Gorgeous photos, Linda…thanks!
    .
    .
    Here are a couple of attempts.
    .
    .
    on Forbidden Peak
    a summer evening’s
    rosy glow
    .
    .
    on Forbidden Peak
    summer evening
    alpenglow

      1. Good for you for getting a place name into it. We’re almost at the end of the ha section–in the kyu we avoid proper nouns as they lead out of the renku.

      1. Always a point when those early verses scroll back out of consciousness but still doing a number on your brain. After you wrote that alpenglow verse last time, I did some googling and still don’t quite understand what it is but apparently it makes mountains rosy. Can you do something with that and just not mention the sun?

        1. Ahh, Linda and Judt . . . Alpenglow is sooo poetic and can be lovely. It is in the physics of the earth turning. Just before dawn, it is already sunrise to the east of you. ..sometimes in clear weather, that light bounce up and at the same angle reflects on a mountain peak to the west. Glowing. As the earth continues to rotate, the highest point(s) will show the first actual sun. Rosy if the other clouds away from you are pink/red at that dawn. Science becomes haiku! In the evening, something of the reverse. The sun sets beyond you — colorful clouds are lit from a place further west. Even if clear — no cloud. Some of that colored light bounces up and is perceived. The phrase: Purple Mountains’ Majesty come to mind. Oh there is a lot to it about particulate in the air, seeing the low sun through more atmosphere, etc. NOT every sunset or sunrise, but amazing to see — and for the people with a poet’s eye… ahhh!
          .

          I may be off in the science some, but I am an amateur.

          1. Thanks, Paul. I am pretty much sans-science. But alpenglow is one of my favorite things in the world.

    1. Mmm–I know that river well–though upstream from the canyon.

      Problem, though–we have a “blue sky” in the hokku.

        1. Dear Judt,

          I offer a thing I do, especially late in a renku, to often prevent repeating a word or image. It is boring, and has nothing to do with renku philosophy, Art, or fun. When writing live, I sketch my stanza on a yellow pad. Then, just me, I hold it up to my computer screen where a copy of the renku so far is typed. And — literally read the key words or kigo against what has gone before. Not to read the verses but being mechanical. I said it was boring . . .
          .
          This literal comparison also works to avoid the same grammatical structure — beginning with a preposition too many times, etc.; beginning with an article, object, and then verb; and the same type of linking.
          .
          Then if I am happy, I read it aloud to my partners, and one or more of them will find what I missed [Ha!] just as Linda is doing. It keeps the poem fresh. Variety is prized.
          .
          One frequent partner will come up with 3 — 5 ideas, and share them all. We others will discuss choices. Most of these will link differently. I’m sort of a one at a time writer.
          .
          Have fun — this is important.

          1. Thank you, Paul. This is excellent advice! When I am aware enough, I do something similar, but without the hard copy…very different, indeed. But somehow at times I seem to get so wound up in what I’m trying to do that I forget about everything else! 😶
            It is, after all, a collaborative enterprise! Also I often fail to consider variations in syntax.
            I really appreciate this wake-up call!!
            .
            Judt

          2. That is very useful advice, Paul. I seem to have developed something similar, but with digital stickies on my computer. It’s still amazing that one can miss some very obvious things–the more eyes on it the better.

    1. So busy trying to link and shift I forgot the summer reference!

      Verse 1:

      hot donkey follows the twists
      and turns of the Camino
      over the Pyrenees

      1. Tricky these kigo–if you’re talking about the road to Compostela, that’s a pilgrimage, and “pilgrimage” is a spring kigo (not just in the saijiki–Chaucer too).

          1. Verse 1 (revised):

            hot donkey follows the twists
            and turns of the path
            in the Sierra Madre mountains

  4. to imitate the love manual
    we bend in strange new ways

    the beach blanket
    my head rests
    in someone’s footprint

  5. historical lesson
    in the poppies field
    without notes

    ***

    blades of grass
    waiting for the rain
    in the mercy of the wind

    1. That second one is particularly powerful, Vasile. So many places suffering heat waves this summer!

  6. to imitate the love manual
    we bend in strange new ways
    ~Paul MacNeil
    .
    a file of tree ants
    each with a belly-full
    of green sunlight
    .
    – Lorin

    1. Wow–some good linking and shifting here, Agnes– I’m picturing what the female mantis does after mating.
      .
      Also thinking of the aescetic, spiritual associations of mountain peaks. It takes the renku in a different direction, which is I think what it wants at this juncture.

    1. Welcome, Susan. Are you in one of the summer heat waves that’s happening around the globe right now?

  7. Congratulations, Paul…nice perspective, and without naming a “body part” , too. 🙂
    .
    to imitate the love manual
    we bend in strange new ways
    ~Paul MacNeil
    .
    tiring of ball play
    the kitten pounces
    on a fallen loquat
    .

    (dedicated to Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831–1889) and his hilariously true-to-life shunga painting in the Huffington Post piece. . . the last image in the piece. Ah, the cats of my life!)
    .
    – Lorin

    1. ok, maybe ‘loquat’ is a “distant reincarnation” of “apple”.
      .
      tiring of ball play
      the kitten pounces
      on a drowsy fly
      .
      – Lorin

    2. 6-7-18 Hi,
      A haiku senior friend of mine can’t afford to join hsa but would like to subscribe to this blog. Is this free for a senior in need to submit poetry via the internet.

      Thanks for info.
      Janis Albright Lukstein
      Calkeypals@ aol.com

      1. Dear Janis, I am sure others will answer, but The Haiku Foundation ( THF ) is a non-profit FREE website. Please, all can participate! … and in all parts of the website. Not affiliated with the also wonderful HSA organization.

      2. Hi, Janis! Your friend should also be able to keep up with HSA by reading Fay’s newsletters, which are on the website. Frogpond is also there. The only thing s/he wouldn’t get, I think, is the Anthology.

  8. nice verse Paul, any pictures available ?
    *********************************
    a stand of pines
    steaming in the
    afternoon rain

    1. Thanks to Linda and all who commented. Very pleased.

      I add a secondary link that pleased me … A British movie I saw on USA cable a few year back about the heartthrob Beckham himself (not in it but about a girl’s adoration … she a young soccer player. He was the striker (frequent goal scorer) famous for making the ball curve into the edge of the goal, just out of reach of the goalie. Movie: “Bend it like Beckham.”

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