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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 1

renkuchainOur 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:

new calendar
a year of
“Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson

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.

John

This Post Has 104 Comments

  1. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    —-
    nursing a dream
    of a slimmer me
    .
    – Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy
    .
    The second line could also be “of a bigger me” (that may add to the wonder ) 🙂

  2. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    —-
    the writing more beautiful
    than the postcard
    .
    – Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

  3. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    —-
    the infant’s scream
    in the warm water
    .
    – Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

  4. new calendar
a year of
“Natural Wonders”
    —-
    at every step on the street
    a smile and a greeting
    .
    – Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

      1. My Scottish friend, Doug, has often been called upon to be the first-footer for someone in NZ – he’s not asked so often, he says, now that he’s bald and his dark hair isn’t apparent! 🙂

  5. new calendar
    
a year of

    “Natural Wonders”
    *
    John Stevenson

    first purchase half price
    in the January sale

  6. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    turning the page
    sunrise over the mountain

  7. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    first greeting
    the cardinal visits the feeder

  8. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    ~ John

    unseen paths echo
    with the first footfall
    ~Betty

  9. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    –John Stevenson

    winning the first round
    of Euchre

  10. Happy New Year John and everyone 🙂

    new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    –John Stevenson

    winning the first hand
    of Euchre

  11. Greetings John and thank you for undertaking a brand new renku for the new year.
    .
    .
    new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    –John Stevenson
    .
    .
    sparrows chitter
    the first day into light
    .
    .
    sparrows chitter
    light of the first day
    .
    .
    fluttering wings
    tinged by first sun

  12. new calendar
    
a year of

    “Natural Wonders”
    *
    John Stevenson
    *
    a welcome bear hug
    is the first greeting
    *
    Karen

  13. Thank you very much for your leadership, John.
    *
    the first sun rising
    above mountain peaks
    *
    a mountaineer
    points to the first sky

  14. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”

    from the top of the hill
    the full breadth of the lake

  15. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”

    first greeting –
    warm laughter of friends

    1. new calendar
      a year of
      “Natural Wonders”
      .

      first greeting –
      warm laughter of friends

      1. new calendar
        a year of
        “Natural Wonders”
        .

        first greeting –
        warm laughter among friends

  16. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    dawn
    a smile breaking across the child’s face

  17. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    – John

    the gift puppy old enough
    to leave its kennel mates

  18. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson


    pyrotechnics
    the length of the lake

    or maybe:

    fireworks exploding
    the length of the lake

    – Lorin

  19. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”

    time off for good behavior
    the future looks bright

  20. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    .
    clapping along
    with Radetzky March
    .
    (proper names, I know, just couldn’t resist; the traditional Vienna New Year’s Concert customarily ends with this piece)

  21. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    .
    the diary’s first entry
    mentions cloudless sky

  22. So nice that new renku session started. Below some of my offerings:
    *
    priorities change
    on the resolutions list
    *
    blank spaces
    in the first enso
    *
    first rooster so soon
    after the fireworks

  23. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    .
    – John Stevenson

    the poets’ first meeting
    circled in gold
    .
    – Karen

    1. An interesting verse but I think we will save kissing for now, in case we need it for verses 8, 9, 26 and 27, all of which are to be “love” verses.

    1. I’m not sure if there is a similar practice the world over, but it’s tradition here (Ireland) to brave the icy waters of the lough on New Year’s Day, often to raise funds for a local charity.
      .
      BTW I’ve never tried it myself! 🙂

      1. I like the fact that this can be taken to be either the winter event you are thinking of or just the general response we are likely to have upon plunging into the water. And this idea of plunging in is apt, in one way, for where we are in a new renku. But it’s also a little dramatic (gasps) for the opening section (Jo).

        (I’ve never tried it, either!)

        1. chatter of swimmers
          before the first dip
          .
          (I was thinking of the sound of swimmers chatting before they jump in the first swim of the New Year, but I guess ‘chatter’ could also make it cold? Around here it doesn’t matter as it’s blooming cold getting into the lough even in the height of summer!)

    1. Hi Marion! See my note to Marietta, below – let’s avoid proper nouns for a while.

  24. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    ~ John

    rock cairns limned in first light
    along the mountain rim
    ~ Betty

    1. new calendar
      a year of
      “Natural Wonders”
      ~ John

      placing each pebble to be
      limned in first light
      ~ Betty

  25. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    –John Stevenson


    flurries of snow
    obscure Half Dome

    1. Glad to see you here again, Marietta! Remember that we are going for the new year but not for either winter or summer. I like the idea of invoking a particular natural wonder, though we might want to avoid proper nouns for a while. Will I see you at HNA this year?

      1. Hello John, and a Happy New Year to you! Yes, HNA is definitely on the cards. Always wanted to see Santa Fe.

  26. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    –John Stevenson

    Year of the Rooster and all
    are precipatively aroused

    -Marietta McGregor

  27. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    –John Stevenson

    Year of the Rooster and all
    are precipately aroused

    -Marietta McGregor

  28. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson


    photographers
    the length of the lake

    – Lorin

    (re: “gunshot the length of the lake” – JK)

      1. Thanks, John, and for steering me & maybe others in the right direction…ah yes, the linking came to mind but (she blushes) there’s nothing that makes it New Year verse. I didn’t even think about including a reference to New Year. I’ll try again when my mind is less fried. 🙂

        – Lorin

        1. Yes – “& maybe others.” It’s a general concern. I will say, though, that I loved your verse so much that I was hoping there was a New Year reference in it that I had missed. These first two are going to be the only New Year verses in the renku and they have to register clearly as such. Otherwise, I would have snapped up your offer since it so aptly meets all the other challenges for this verse.

  29. new calendar
    a year of
    “Natural Wonders”
    *
    – John

    **

    together we flip through
    the latest cruise line brochure
    *
    – Sandra

    1. 🙂 where there’s one clownfish, there are many. . . while we still have a reef. Interesting coincidence, Peter, I’ve been trying to draft a ‘clownfish’ haiku for weeks (not for here)
      – Lorin

  30. Thank you, John, for doing this again, and a great idea to offer participants the opportunity to share in the selection process.
    .
    To break the ice, offering a candidate for wakiku:
    .
    waking up in time
    for the first rooster’s crow

  31. The hokku, which is the ancestor of the haiku, is expected to have certain attributes. It contains a seasonal reference (to the season in which the renku session is taking place or, in our case, to when it begins to take place). It includes a “cutting word,” which gives it a structure different from the other verses of the renku. It is written as an indirect compliment to the host of the renku session. Our host is The Haiku Foundation and I have thought about how each month THF features poems from a new country and what a wonder it is that haiku is now so widely written and read.

    The next verse is typically written as an indirect reply by the host of the party. “The Haiku Foundation” cannot write this verse. So, who is the host in this instance? My feeling is that this feature has developed a strong and flexible sense of community among the poets who have participated in it. So, any of you might speak on behalf of all with this next verse.

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