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 for wakiku:
Nineteen participants submitted for our wakiku, and again it was a lovely collection of ideas: spring streams, waterfalls, various animals—birds, frogs, baby animals—and human occupations such as housekeeping and gardening. I’m interested in the reference that people used because it tells me a lot about where everyone sees the renku as going. Thanks to Pauline, I now know about “bear bells.”
From the instant Lorin Ford posted her Earth Day it was clear to me that it brought a special energy to the poem and that it should be our next verse:
a row of icicles
blue sky and sunshine
dripping from the eaves
on Earth Day, deep breaths
for the scent of it
Since Earth Day fell within this week’s submissions window this is really a season reference not to be missed. Note also that Earth Day is an autumn celebration in the Southern Hemisphere where Lorin lives. Her verse could equally be an autumn verse, yet see how deftly it adapts and takes its season from a hokku that presumes northern hemisphere spring. In season and topic, it links a mid-spring earth topic to late spring human observance, releasing a scent of sunshine and melting ice that is implicit in the hokku, while also preparing us for the blossom verse to come. It also has a nice continuity of language, “. . . dripping from the eaves / on Earth Day . . .”, that recasts line 3 of the hokku. Finally, it even reads like drawing and exhaling a breath, which creates a momentary pause for us to savor the season before plunging deeper into the renku. Nicely done, Lorin. And onward now to the daisan!
Call for Verse 3, Daisan:
The third verse is our break- away, called so because it’s the first verse in the renku that must link to the previous verse, the maeku, while shifting away from the verse prior to that, the uchikoshi. We will need the following:
・ Three lines, continuous language without a haiku-like cut.
・ Blossom verse, late spring: In traditional renku forms this would mean plum or cherry blossoms, though in modern forms one may also find other blossoming and fruiting deciduous trees such as apple, or peach as well as cherry, provided their blooming season is late spring. As imachi is not an historical form, we’ll be flexible and allow for a variety of blossom species. No plum, though—plum blossoms are a late winter / early spring season reference and we’re already in late spring with our wakiku.
・ A person verse: The hokku was a non-person verse but the “deep breaths” of the wakiku imply a human presence, so this verse will have to include a person or people in the context of blossoms.
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, 30 April, Eastern USA time.
• The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 3 May, Eastern US time.
Happy writing! I look forward to what you all come up with!