Skip to content

The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 11

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Fifth Renku Session: New Calendar. I am John Stevenson, leading my second Kasen (36 verse) renku on this site. We will be trying something a little different this time. Instead of making all of the selections myself, new verses will be selected by the poet who wrote the preceding verse. This will be on a voluntary basis and I remain ready to preform this task for anyone who prefers to pass up the opportunity.

Here is this week’s selection and report, from Michael Henry Lee:

“My selection for verse number eleven:

the old quarry
so deep and cold
and daring

            –Mary Kendall

Thank you all for your entries. Truly each and every one of you makes this a fun, inclusive, learning experience. During the process of culling and re-culling the numerous fine entries, I was reminded what a bittersweet task editing can be. All that to say, two entries rose in prominence to the top of my list.

#1 Mary’s verse: the old quarry / so deep and cold / and daring and #2 poolside / spinning another / mai tai umbrella, a great verse from Paul MacNeil. These both made for an ultimately difficult choice indeed.

#1:  I loved this verse for its subtlety and lyricism. The contrast between the casual act of playing a game of croquet and the contemplation of executing a dangerous act of daring-do was very appealing. I found an obvious link with the preceding verse because of the implied potential of alcoholic libation involved in making this cavalier decision. How else might one be brought to such heights of risk, even to escape the heat of summer and perhaps a rather boring game? Ironically, my use of “spirited” was not initially intended to depict drinking per se and not, most certainly, in excess, but rather to convey a mildly sarcastic tone. My objective was to depict a rather “British” attitude, that kind of laid back intensity typified in the “aristo-British ” manner of doing things. The alcohol denotation was purely icing on the cake in that it gave the reader options.

#2:  This verse contains poolside, an obvious summer link, and using spirited as an alcohol reference, makes mai tai the perfect summer cocktail. The umbrella stick used as the drink favor provides a link back to a wooden croquet set. The vibrant colors of the cocktail and umbrella make a subtle link to the bright trim colors found on new croquet mallets and balls. Finally, the spinning umbrella suggests the motion of croquet balls spinning across the lawn.

It would ultimately become a decision to use implied over express imagery, with the conviction that it was a better fit using an ethereal rather than substantive link, a contrast between the picnic with its spirited croquet game and an imagined action perhaps or perhaps not taken. Congratulations to Mary and everyone else who makes these renku the success they are. Kanpai.”

Thank you Michael Henry. And congratulations, Mary!

Mary Kendall will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Mary, please contact me, either in a reply below or by e-mail (ithacan@earthlink.net) to let me know whether you accept this offer. If you do, I will ask you to choose the next verse in accordance with the requirements listed below and to write a paragraph or two about your selection and send it to me on Wednesday morning (March 22) so that I can incorporate it in the next posting, which appears on the following day. If you would rather not make the selection, I will do so, but I would prefer to know that I’ll be doing that as early as possible

Verse twelve will be a non-seasonal verse, in two lines. It will be followed by an autumn moon verse, the first of three autumn verses.

Verse twelve must link to the eleventh verse (and only the eleventh verse) but it also must clearly shift away from it in terms of scene, subject, and tone.

You will have until Tuesday night to make your offers. The Haiku Foundation site has been busy lately and the link to our renku session has not always been obvious on the home page. There is a permanent “Renku Sessions” button a little further down the home page and you can always reach the current session via this route. We will continue to check for new verse offers through each Tuesday.

With best wishes to all,
John

 

 

New Calendar to Date

new calendar
a year of
“Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson

a clownfish offers
the first greeting

    –Peter Newton

taking a fistful
of freshly tilled earth
to my cheek

    –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

café aromas
on the warm breeze

    –Maureen Virchau

sound of a flute
slowly rising
with a hazy moon

    –Dru Philippou

flickering light of a bike
from the side road

    –Marina Bellini

under the bed-sheet
tales of bold highwaymen
and horse-drawn coaches

    —Lorin Ford

has the lord executed
his droit du seigneur

    —Polona Oblak

Jimmy Carter
and Rosalynn
on the kiss cam

    —Judt Shrode

after the picnic
some spirited croquet

    —Michael Henry Lee

the old quarry
so deep and cold
and daring

    —Mary Kendall

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring
    .
    M. Kendall
    .
    the team of archeologists
    announce their discovery

  2. the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring
    .
    M. Kendall
    .
    tie-dye and gems on display
    outside the Dead show

    1. Dear Michael Henry,

      I was so surprised at having my verse selected, that I forgot my manners. I’d like to thank you for selecting one of my verses and for your excellent explanation on how you arrived at your decision. Writing poetry is one thing, but acting as a temporary Sabaki is a whole other mindset. With John’s generous help, I hope I’m able to join in with the others who have tried their hand at this.

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  3. So happy for you ,Mary! Thank you for giving us another great verse!
    —-
    her scars stay hidden
    though the neckline plunges

  4. she dips a paintbrush
    into cobalt blue
    *
    she dips a paintbrush
    into cerulean blue

  5. Congrats to you, Mary! I can feel the refreshing chill in this verse. The layering of adjectives nicely echoes the quarry’s depth. I’m sorry I’m late to the party. I’ve been dealing with internet connection problems. I read your offering as a summer verse, but I understand Polona’s issue. I agree that it’s important to be open to discussion. So glad you are selecting the next verse. Your hard work, enthusiasm and positivity throughout the renku sessions are sincerely appreciated. Hope you have a wonderful time!
    *
    Great job, Michael Henry! Thank you for sharing so much of your editing process.

    1. Thank you, Maureen. What lovely and generous comments. I’m sorry you are having internet connection problems, and I hope they are resolved for good now. I agree with you–discussion is always important, and I have so much to learn about renku. I look forward to your contributions. :)

  6. the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring
    .
    M. Kendall
    .
    she draws us a picture
    of the multiverse

  7. the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring
    .
    M. Kendall
    .
    the contest’s winning verse
    slightly alludes to Shiki

    1. Steve, a quick question: are you referring to the Japanese novel/manga? (I’m not very up to date on this topic although I’ve enjoyed a fair amount of anime thanks to my son who loves it.)

      1. Hi Mary, glad you asked. I meant a twofold implication of Masaoka Shiki and your reference to the cold, and the Shiki anime in reference to “daring” linked by the possibility of injury– the series is considered as a horror genre. I’d hoped both versions could seem unintentional, but also as a direct reference to your winning verse.

  8. Yesterday I was surprised by what I found in the “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words” for renku because I realized for the first time that the vast majority of the Japanese season words are a single nouns; whereas, the translation in English turns out to be two words: an adjective and a noun or two nouns but one is used as an adjective. (1) Example: hazy moon = oborozuki.
    .
    The only exceptions are when the Japanese season word is a combination of a noun and a prepositional phrase. (2) Example: spring clouds = haru no kumo (haru = spring, no = of, and kumo = cloud or clouds), or two nouns with one used as an adjective. (3) Example: spring wind = haru kaze.

  9. Sorry, my last post was too jumbled. I’ll make it easier to read:
    .
    John wrote, “Introducing “cool” to Mary’s verse might be viewed as providing it with a second kigo, though the original kigo (“swimming”) is implied rather than stated.”
    .
    the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring
    .
    I speak Japanese, but am not an expert on Japanese. Thinking about the Mary Kendall’s verse below, using cold as an adj is 冷たい, tsumetai, which could be used with quarry. Another word for cold as an adjective is 寒い, samui, as in cold weather or day. Samui can also be used as a noun. Thus samui could be used as a kigo. However, kigo’s are only nouns, aren’t they? Thus I would think that the adverb cold is not a kigo. As John said, “the original kigo (“swimming”) is implied rather than stated.”
    .
    I really like Mary’s verse. To me jumping in a near freezing cold quarry actually shows it is summer. No one would jump in a quarry in winter. Let me give an example of an experience I had in during summertime in Japan. I was teaching in a college room without an air conditioner and unfortunately was overwhelmed by heat stroke. A nurse covered me with ice cubes. After an hour I bounced back. If this explanation had a kigo, it would not be ice cubes, it would he heat stroke. If the word cold is changed to cool, it would change the wonderful contrast of the splash in the quarry in summer.

  10. the old quarry
    so deep and cold
    and daring

    I speak Japanese, but am not an expert on Japanese. Thinking about the Mary Kendall’s verse below, using cold as an adj is 冷たい, tsumetai, which could be used with quarry. Another word for cold as an adjective is 寒い, samui, as in cold weather or day. Samui can also be used as a noun. Thus samui could be the kigo.

    Kigo’s are only nouns, aren’t they? Thus I would think that the adverb cold is not a kigo. As John said, “the original kigo (“swimming”) is implied rather than stated.”

    I really like Mary’s verse. To me jumping in a near freezing cold quarry actually shows it is summer. No one would jump in a quarry in winter. Let me give an example of an experience I had in during summertime in Japan. I was teaching in a college room without an air conditioner and unfortunately was overwhelmed by heat stroke. A nurse covered me with ice cubes. After an hour I bounced back. If this explanation had a kigo, it would not be ice cubes, it would he heat stroke. If the word cold is changed to cool, it would change the wonderful contrast of the splash in the quarry in summer.

    John wrote, “Introducing “cool” to Mary’s verse might be viewed as providing it with a second kigo, though the original kigo (“swimming”) is implied rather than stated.”

    1. Very interesting comments and information, Carmen. Thank you very much for sharing.

  11. i really like this verse. it’s almost perfect for the position, or would be if…
    .
    i keep reading “cold” as “cool”. because, in every reference source i know, “cold” by itself is season word (or kigo if you will) for winter. “cool” , however, is attributed to summer. nuances, i know, but i don’t think the verse as originally written should stand in this position. fortunately, it only requires the easiest of fixes to make it work. therefore it would be great if the author and the selector would agree to replace “cold” with “cool”. Mary, Michael Henry (and of course, John)?

    1. I see your point, changing cold to cool not a problem for me. My experience with the heat of summer and the difference in the water temp from a deep well or quarry would produce a bone chilling effect . Thus my extrapolation of the heat of a summer day against even the thought of jumping into a deep and dangerous quarry as cold producing indeed. The kind of tangible jolt that the verse provides. Any thoughts John, Mary or others.

      1. This seems like a good idea but my first thought is that “coolness” is an English translation of the Japanese kigo and, not speaking Japanese myself, I am unsure what to make of the translation. If we are to be bound by kigo as used in Japanese, this is an issue. If we see ourselves as engaged in a process of establishing a global English-language practice, perhaps it is more of an open question.

        Introducing “cool” to Mary’s verse might be viewed as providing it with a second kigo, though the original kigo (“swimming”) is implied rather than stated.

        I do think the verse has more of the “jolt” that Michael Henry mentions as it is and I do like that.

        1. i take your point, John.
          however, in my native language there is a distinction between “mraz / mrzel” (cold as noun and adjective) and “hlad / hladen” (cool idem) so it never occurred to me that this could be a translation issue.
          i do like the jolting effect of the verse (daring being the key word) but we still have a directly stated winter “kigo” (or whatever the english equivalent is) vs. the implied summer activity (which, with a bit of a stretch, could occur in any season; with darker overtones even in winter).
          so, in my mind, the verse does not feel like summer, but, as we are mostly writing for fun and educational purposes, i can live with that.

    2. In writing this verse, I was indeed going for the shocking-cold jolt of water on a hot summer’s day. Polona has of course raised a very interesting and legitimate point. I have a great deal to learn about renku from those of you who are far more experienced, so, while I prefer “cold” to “cool,” I will defer to the Sabaki on this. Thank you all for your comments.

      1. it was never my intention to diminish the value of your verse, Mary, just wanted to point out a possible inconsistency in defining a season. if the general consensus is the verse does have a summery feel i’m fine with that for the purpose of this renku (it is a great verse).
        the thing is, we are an assembly of writers from all over the world and it is natural that we wil perceive the same scene in different ways. i mean, my definition of cold will certainly differ greatly from that by someone living in the tropics or near the polar circle.
        i also admit i would say, “this water is cold” if i referred to the temperature of the sea or lake i was about to plunge into (or not), just wouldn’t use it in a renku verse. and i think it is okay that we discuss different points of view as we can all learn from that.

        1. Polona, I do understand what you were saying and why. I’m here to learn, and following this discussion has given me much to think about. This international group of poets has so much to share and teach one another. Your comments are always welcome. ?

          Best,
          Mary

        2. My two-cents– to me, any reference to a cold-spring one would desire to swim in on a hot summer day could only be a summer kigo. Likewise, a reference to a hot-spring in a body of water,that is literally a hot-tub in nature, would be referenced as a winter activity. I sat in one in the snow before, and the stark contrast was fascinating and lovely. That being said, I don’t feel that I’ve said anything to shed light on the two kigo discussion, except that for me, Mary’s verse was understood to mean a cold quarry on a summer’s day. Good one Mary, yours too Paul, and the synopsis of the two were great Michael.

  12. just to keep the ball roll’n
    **********************

    a search of our souls
    remains fruitless

  13. Michael Henry, thank you so much for the honour of selecting my verse to be part of this reiki. Your comments were great to read and learn from–editing is not an easy task as you said. Lorin Ford so aptly pointed out that John has given us a unique opportunity in this renku by letting us choose the following verse. With his help, I would love to try my hand at it. (John, I’ve emailed you privately.)

Comments are closed.

Back To Top