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 Daisan:
Twenty-three writers submitted verses for our daisan, including a few who have just joined us. Welcome!
The requirement was that this be a blossom rather than a flower verse. Still, we had a lot of flower verses submitted and unfortunately it meant that many offers had to be eliminated from consideration. If some were yours, do save them. Spring will not come again in this renku but an opportunity for a flower topic may arise again and you may find your idea can be retooled to another season. Or you may have a pocket haiku. The blossom verses were all very nicely visualized and I enjoyed trying each submission with the hokku and wakiku that would be its maeku/uchikoshi pair.
This verse by Polona Oblak is the one I kept coming back to as I read through them all. It’s the one we’ll place:
the apple orchard
turns all blossom
Since we already have a lot of plurals in the hokku and wakiuku (icicles, eaves, breaths), Polona’s choice to draw back and show us the whole orchard, with the generic “blossom” rather than “blossoms”, gives us a sense of abundance without another plural. Notice how the fragrance of the wakiku spills into the verse, recasting from the scent of the earth to the scent of the apple orchard.
The one problem is that it’s a purely descriptive non-person verse like the hokku and we can’t go back to that just yet. This is easily fixed with–if you’ll permit me–a bit of wordsmithing:
a row of icicles
blue sky and sunshine
dripping from the eaves
on Earth Day, deep breaths
for the scent of it
see how overnight
the apple orchard
turns all blossom
Framing the verse with an imperative implies the needed human presence while leaving the heart of Polona’s imagery—the suddenness with which the orchard is coming into bloom—intact. We have the person/s who were inhaling the scent of the earth in the wakiku, now viewing the orchard. And a three-verse progression from the sense of temperature through sense of smell through sight.
Many thanks, Polona. I hope my edit is okay with you, and I hope everyone likes our completed first three verses as much as I do. I love the wonderful ideas you’re all coming up with. Onward!
Call for Verse 4:
- Two lines
- Non season
- Person or non-person
What to avoid: In the previous calls for verses I’ve kept things as brief as possible in order not to set up too many hoops for you to jump through. However, many of the blossom submissions used falling or fallen blossoms as a season reference, which would have created kannonbiraki problems with the dripping icicles of the hokku. To help you direct your efforts, from here on I’ll be listing including what to avoid in the calls for new verses. For verse 4, it is the following:
- Anything in the hokku is off limits for the rest of the renku, or at least till we get to the ageku–the final verse. This means no icicles or cold things, no dripping or falling things or even lined up rows of things, no.sky, color blue, sun, roof eaves (or possibly even other parts of a building though this can be decided on a case-by-case basis).
- No named holidays, nor other imagery similar to the wakiku
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, 7 May, Eastern USA time.
• The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 10 May, Eastern US time.