Our new year of renku sessions has begun. We will start with a Kasen (36 verse) renku, one verse each week. Later in the year, Kala Ramesh will lead us in a twelve verse renku. Since we are starting at the beginning of a new year, this will be a “New Year” Kasen, using a format created by Professor Shinku Fukuda.
I am providing the hokku (starting verse):
Here is the verse you must link to:
a year of
When “New Year” was first used as a seasonal topic in Japanese renku, their calendar year started in spring. Currently, this topic has been revised to correspond with the Gregorian Calendar, in which the new year begins on January 1. In the above verse, “new calendar” is the seasonal topic. There are fewer kigo (season words or phrases) for “New Year” than for the four seasons. Note that January 1 is winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. This precludes images that would invoke either of these seasons. Some examples of “New Year” topics, as listed in William J. Higginson’s Haiku World, include first sun, first laughter, first calligraphy, and resolutions. The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words adds first day, first bath, first dream, first greeting, first purchase, etc.
Our second verse (diason) will also be a “New Year” verse and can be closely linked to the hokku, almost a continuation or expansion of the scene. It should be written in two lines. You will have until Tuesday evening to make your offers (using the comments box below).
I will select the next verse from among those offered. The poet whose verse is selected will then be given the opportunity to choose the third verse (and to write a paragraph or two about their selection). More about this next time.