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.
Good morning! I’m pleased to announce that our chosen hokku is one of Simon Hanson’s:
a row of icicles
blue sky and sunshine
dripping from the eaves
In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere this has been a harsh winter, and midway through April some of us are still getting snow. At my place up in the mountains, the warmth of house heat always liquifies the snow on the roof so that icicles form along the eaves. In really bad winters they can grow quite long and thick, like jail bars that almost close off the view out the window. Yes, when the weather warms, blue sky and the dazzle of sunlight refract through the glissade of melting water.
There’s a traditional kigo in this hokku: melting ice, koori toku 氷解く, mid-spring (see entry in the World Kigo Database: https://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com/2005/09/ice-koori.html). My own haiku teachers often remind us that kigo are not simply calendar or weather reports—they’re the emotional heart of the poem. That’s especially true here. Notice that Simon has not simply said that the icicles are melting but has shown us through a cluster of sensory images that evokes the joy of warm weather and real spring finally arriving.
It’s a verse that fits well for the hokku of a modern renku form with traditional qualities. At 16 syllables it’s in the longer range for short-form verses, and while the line lengths may be irregular in syllables (6/5/5), in stresses it’s 2/3/2–a well-formed, measured verse. Admittedly it’s personal style, but when I’m leading a renku that follows jo-ha-kyu dynamic, I like hokku that take their time and establish a sense of time and place that lets the reader settle into the poem before things pick up in the ha. For me, Simon’s verse does just that and I’m very pleased we have it. Onward to the:
Call for Wakiku:
This will be a two-line spring verse. Here are a few requirements, or just things to keep in mind:
- Season references may be mid-, late- or all spring, though with a hokku of mid-season, anything the saijiki codes early spring is not an option.
- The function of the wakiku is to support and enlarge the scene of the hokku, so sit with Simon’s verse a bit and ask yourself, what else?
- The hokku is what we’d classify as a “non-person” verse–sometimes called a nature verse though it’s more accurate simply to say that there is no one in it. We’ll be switching back and forth between person and non-person every two or three of verses throughout the renku. The wakiku may continue non-person mode, or you may introduce someone.
- The verse following the wakiku will be our blossom verse, so please no spring flowers. No moon, either, please–our moon verse comes later.
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,23 April, Eastern USA time.
• The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 26 April, Eastern US time.
Happy writing! I look forward to what you all come up with!