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The Renku Sessions: Imachi

renkuchainWelcome to another Renku session. I am Linda Papanicolaou. The renku I’ll be leading this time will be 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.

I look forward to your joining us in the adventure!

As I’m a northern hemisphere poet, this will be a spring renku, and we’ll be using the following template loosely adapted from Renku Reckoner:

spring
spring
spring (blossom)
non-season
non-season
non-season
winter
non-season
non-season
non-season (love)
non-season (love)
non-season (love)
summer
summer
non-season
autumn
autumn (moon)
autumn

Participants in the Renku Sessions here at The Haiku Foundation typically come from all corners of the world and at any one time we are not all not experiencing the same season or even the classical seasons of the northern hemisphere temperate zones where renku began. International online renku has developed an inclusive approach to traditional Japanese kigo that avoids hemisphere-specific season references such as April = spring, Christmas = winter, etc. We will be sensitive to alternate experiences, but still, if we’re all to be on the same page we will have to have verses that clearly articulate season with as much commonality as we can. There are several season word lists online. Here are three that I use often and recommend:

o Kenkichi Yamamoto, “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words,” tr. Kris Kondo and William J. Higginson, online at Renku Home (2000, updated 2005)

o ” The Yuki Teikei Season Word List”, online at Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 1997.

o World Kigo Database , ed. Gabi Greve, also includes links to a number of regional kigo lists and saijiki.

 

CALL FOR HOKKU

Let’s get underway with a call for the first verse, the hokku. A “call to renku“, the hokku creates an auspicious beginning for the endeavor. This will be a three-line verse, with cut, and a season reference that places us in spring.

• 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,16 April, Eastern USA time.

• The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 19 April, Eastern US time.

This Post Has 80 Comments

  1. Hi Linda, I can not find the verses that I put yesterday afternoon Italian time, maybe I was wrong?

    2.
    borderline
    between two colors
    snow and grass
    —————————————–

    3.
    green lawn-
    wrapped in the wind
    dandelion

  2. It’s now midnight, Eastern US time, and the window for submissions for the hokku is closed. We have twenty-eight participating poets. Many thanks to all of you. I’ve enjoyed reading all the wonderful offers and have learned about the Japanese spring Day of the Horse festival. I also now know what a “great blue hairstreak” is! I’ll be back on Thursday with our hokku and a call for submissions for the wakiku.

  3. new buds
    cherry blossom blossoms
    my child’s pink cheek
    :
    kingfisher sea
    reflects the sky
    diving into you
    :
    the hand
    that rocks the hatchling’s nest
    spring gales
    :
    sheets
    billowing on the line
    spring showers
    :
    lengthening days
    lighten my mood
    spring in my step

  4. warm enough
    pockets full of flat stones
    down to the lake
    *
    *
    half-submerged log
    a string of baby turtles
    tries to get footing
    *
    *
    a cracked eggshell
    at the foot of the tree
    new birdsong

  5. *
    red tide
    awash in wrinkles
    the old guard
    *
    *
    red tide
    the on-again off-again
    cyrillic cuff
    *
    *
    red tide
    adrift in the starry night
    a boxed ear
    *

  6. Welcome, Linda for a new poetic journey!

    ***
    hazy moon
    the migrant leans
    on his shadow

    *****

    enliven again
    the sprouting grasses
    on a winning track

    *****

    melting snow
    a hummingbird behind
    the pine tree

    *****

  7. Hi Everyone

    It’s exciting to be starting a new journey with Linda as our guide. Renku is addictive!

    Verse 1:

    into the blue
    the lark ascends
    silence

  8. g’day Linda,

    Thanks for guiding us with this journey.

    Herewith, some offers:

    along the foreshore
    children are running
    with bright red balloons

    ***

    balmy morning
    a new batch of bean seeds
    into fragrant soil

    ***

    school holidays
    the chuckles of kids
    on park swings

    ***

    peace and love
    B

  9. Spring greetings, poets!
    ~
    scampering puppy
    blazes a crooked trail- –
    spring sneezes

    white swan
    with cygnets in tow, , ,
    comet sighting

    snowmelt waterfall
    plunging through rainbows
    diamonds in the mist

      1. About baseball or hip-hop music videos? (Lol)
        .
        I also had to google—about ‘day of the horse’—but I’m puzzled since it’s Dec 13 (which I don’t think is spring in either hemisphere), and I’m not sure how it relates to betting?

        1. ” ‘day of the horse’…it’s Dec 13″ – Chris

          .
          Where would that be, I wonder? 🙂 I got the kigo from the ‘500 Essential Japanese Season Words’:
          “SPRING–OBSERVANCES
          first [day of the] horse (hatsu uma, early spring). A shrine festival. According to the old Chinese calendar system using the twelve signs.”

          .
          But here it is explained via google: http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=1067
          There’s an unintentionally funny sentence in there: “The origin of treating the first day of the horse in February as the ennichi (special festival day) of Inari is found in a legend that states that the deity (saijin) of Fushimi Inari Shrine descended from Mount Inari in 711 on the eleventh (alternatively, ninth) day of the second month, the first day of the horse, but it is not certain if this is true. ”
          .
          There’s a first day of the horse and a second day of the horse and in Japan they’re both held together in Feb, which is said to be ‘early spring’.
          .
          How ‘day of the horse’ relates to racetrack betting? Well, in early spring, different cultures celebrate the horse in their own ways. 🙂 The Japanese have ‘day of the horse’ festival (actually 2 days). In other countries, the spring racing season begins. Here, it’s a lead-up to the Melbourne Cup, in September. In the USA, it’s a lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, in May.
          .
          ‘Horses for courses’. 🙂
          .
          cheers,

          – Lorin

  10. Good morning, everyone, old friends and new! What a delightful collection of offers!

    In response to Polona’s two queries, yes, good points both. Whether the eventual hokku is early, mid- or late spring would have consequences for a blossom verse in the daisan because we should not back up in time. Also, a flower in the hokku would clash with a blossom two verses later. A plant maybe less so: technically Persistence/Avoidance rule-of-thumb would say that we could do it if we kept plant material going through the wakiku, but that’s something that might be more appropriate to a longer form, whereas an 18-verse renku is still pretty short and I don’t think we want such a slowly developing opening.

    But while it’s good to understand the concept, write where the spirit takes you and don’t think too much about it–at least not at this point where we’re still very open. Verses from the heart are always better, and I keep all of the placed submissions because some of them may be simply waiting their place later in the renku.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Could you explain this a bit?
      .
      “I keep all of the placed submissions because some of them may be simply waiting their place later in the renku.” – Linda
      .
      I’ve been under the impression that the hokku is the only stand-alone / cut verse in a renku, any renku. If that’s the case, I don’t understand how any hokku offers could find a place later.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. A habit from Yuki Teikei renku sessions where time is a constraint and there are piles of submission cards on the table–sometimes a verse that is submitted for one slot is perfect in a later slot–sometimes with quite different meaning than the original intent–so the sabaki generally holds on to everything until it’s clear there’s no further use for it. Interestingly, I was recently in a kasen with Eiko who did something similar–placed a couple of verses at once when she had submissions she felt made a good sequence.

      2. Thanks, Linda. Ah, yes, I understand now, in the context of live renku. I’m not sure how well it would work over 18 weeks on THF, though.
        .
        I understand that tweaking is the prerogative of sabaki, for any verse.
        .
        What I’m not sure about, in context of a renku done over many weeks, with one selected verse per week, is: how long are the authors of all the verses that aren’t selected for a particular spot / week expected to hold onto them just in case sabaki wants to use them later?
        .
        Considering that there are many participants in THF renku, and that the side-benefit of not having a verse selected for any particular place is that authors accumulate verses they can work into haiku or the like, my question is: are participants expected to suspend ownership for the duration, just in case sabaki might want to use them later?
        .
        My understanding is that there is a submission period and once a verse is accepted, all rights for non-accepted verses return to the author, who may then do what they like with them.
        .
        – Lorin

        1. That’s a good point. The other part of live practice that I miss here with the strict Monday/Thursday routine is that there isn’t much provision to select a verse that may need some work between author and sabaki–and even help from other participants–before it’s placed and progress resumes. A verse pretty much has to be right and good to go as-is, or it’s out of the running. In a good live session there’s a lot of editing–sometimes to a point where the original idea is almost unrecognizable.
          .
          Plus there’s the problem here that participants outnumber verses and not everyone gets placed. I like how John handled it in that first kasen: publishing multiple agekus.

          1. Hi Linda,

            I think people are getting used to the idea that sabaki may make relatively minor tweaks to a preferred verse without consultation. . . changing a word or two, omitting superfluous words, changing line breaks etc. The schedule, as you say, doesn’t allow for consultation. And that’s how it is. People learn and adapt. And sabaki can always say why any changes have been made, which gradually helps everyone get on the one track.
            .
            Yes, participants outnumber verses: a fact. It’s so different, isn’t it, than renku done with a selected or limited group, whether live or not? But we can adapt, as participants. Instead of considering all of our non-selected verses as ‘failed offers’ (when, after all, there can be only one chosen verse each time) we can think of them as a collection of draft haiku and senryu. . . a bonus gained from participating & a benefit not to be underestimated.
            .
            When there are so many participants, none of us should feel entitled to have a verse selected. Those who do feel entitled should have a go at being in the sabaki hot-seat for a change. 🙂
            .
            I’m most grateful that you’ve consented to sabaki-ing another renku, Linda and look forward to participating.
            .
            – Lorin

          2. Lorin: I see that the platform has not given me a Reply button for your “I think people are getting used to the idea. . . ” response so I’m backtracking to the nearest Reply button I can find and hoping this winds up in the right place.
            .
            Re “Instead of considering all of our non-selected verses as ‘failed offers’ (when, after all, there can be only one chosen verse each time) we can think of them as a collection of draft haiku and senryu. . . ” —Well put. The verses that have been offered are rich in possibilities. I hope people will give consideration to getting together with one or two others and using some of them in other renku, too.

    1. Perhaps “empty” should be removed as this could be seen as stating the obvious for tadpole collecting?

  11. welcome back. Linda!
    .
    a question or two, if i may:
    .
    is there a preferred or maximum number of entries by each participant for the current verse?
    .
    as, according to the schema, we begin with three spring verses, last of which is “blossom” in the daisan, it would probably be wise to place the hokku in the early spring, or at least all spring category. any thoughts?

    1. also, due to the daisan being the blossom verse, any mention of plants (especially flowering) in the hokku would be best avoided

      1. whoops! Please ignore my post, above. Wrong place to post! I wish there was a way to delete.
        .
        I was about to post a query, Paul, re ‘its mare’ ( a foal’s mother is called its dam)
        .
        – Lorin

        1. Lorin is quite correct. Forgive my sloppiness. If, Linda, you might be attracted to my “little wobbler” stanza, I’d be glad to harmlessly switch to “the” mare… or even to “its dam.” I prefer the openness, the soft sound of “mare” as poetry.

          1. Agree that “mare” is softer than the correct “dam”. You could also open it more by going to an indeterminate article–

            bright grass
            a little wobbler butts
            against a mare

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