skip to Main Content

The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 21

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.

Paul MacNeil makes the selection this week. Here is his selection, with comments:

“I was attracted to several proposed stanzas such as Marion’s abacus, Theresa’s puppets, and Mary’s hogan. I liked the novel linking technique with same word with different meaning of the adopted word abacus to “counter,” but it would be the third reference to youth in a row. Both the second and third examples are unique but quite obscure. A Google search is required for most people to understand the folk practice to entertain children in Manzanar. I personally knew what a hogan was — I saw them near the Painted Desert in Arizona as a teenage tourist. I doubt if most Americans would. Sure, world-wide readers can do research, but there is not much immediacy in that initial puzzlement.

I chose to go for a new area for our communal work’s direction. Humor is often included in the spread of a renku.

Three small corrections are needed. I hope Michael Henry will allow me to edit “cleanup” as properly one word and the typo to spell “aisle.” And, to avoid a lower number than the six (pairs of boots) from verse eighteen, I have revised “aisle three” to “aisle thirteen”:

on the store’s intercom
comes a cleanup request
for aisle thirteen

        1. –Michael Henry Lee

My finding humor is from his linking technique to the milk maybe spilling or falling to the floor. Made me smile.  Carmen did ask: what comes next? He is setting it in a retail store, switching focus from my kitchen. Doesn’t have to only be a supermarket. The cliché of the “cleanup” is easily placed in a big store such as Walmart. Staff with broom and dustpan or pail and mop are summoned to a place in the store. While we have bicycle lights as a transportation topic and a kiss cam eleven verses back, this use of microphone and speakers is another foray into technology. Basho had a horse and lantern; we have electronics.”

Thank you, Paul and congratulations, Michael Henry!

Michael Henry Lee will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Michael Henry, 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 (May 31) 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 twenty-two will be the third and last in this sequence of three non-seasonal verses, in two lines this time. It will be followed by a pair of winter verses.

Verse twenty-two must link to the twenty-first  verse (and only the twenty-first 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

her scars stay hidden
though the neckline plunges

    –Debbie Feller

each time I wake
the moon lights
something different

    —Gabrielle Higgins

the whir of dragonfly wings
in the remaining heat

    —Sally Biggar

a neutrino
passes through the chestnut
and the worm, too

    —Lorin Ford

the tension of the needle
piercing linen

    —Carmen Sterba

Dutchman’s breeches
sprout along a cliff’s
ragged edge

    —Maureen Virchau

six pairs of boots
by the pilgrim shrine

    –Polona Oblak

in full flight
fledglings skim
through the archway

    –Barbara A. Taylor

my toddler puts her milk glass
on the kitchen counter

    –Paul MacNeil

on the store’s intercom
comes a cleanup request
for aisle thirteen

    –Michael Henry Lee

This Post Has 45 Comments

    1. If I’m being truthful, this should read…
      .
      they tell us in Dublin
      our flight is from London

  1. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    police block off the area
    with yellow tape

  2. Barbara A. Taylor says:
    —-
    Congratulations, Michael.

    ~~~~~

    triskaidekaphobia
    on the last train home
    >
    Barbara A. Taylor

  3. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    the smell of rancid oil
    makes his stomach turn

  4. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    longing for more colour
    on the white noise machine

    1. Hmmmm…is that too close to voice on the intercom?
      Probably…so we can delete this one.

  5. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    an unexpected noise
    from the compost bin

  6. nice progression, well done, Paul and Michael 🙂
    .
    something orange spreading
    in a Petri dish

  7. among the secrets
    kept by the dead

    —–

    (in response to Michael Henry’s request for more verses)

  8. Congratulations, Michael! So much fun!
    ——-
    recalling where they were
    on Jerusalem Day

  9. i’m hopping to see lots more verses between now and Tuesday
    were off to a good start with insight into the process but a smaller proportion of verses
    **************************
    have a safe Memorial Day, for those of us “celebrating” or remembering those who are no longer with us to celebrate anything

  10. ” It might be that the next HNA (Santa Fe, NM the fall) has a scheduled feature on the haiku of WW2 interment camps.” – Paul

    Ah, that explains it. 🙂 (I just couldn’t resist!) I wish I could be there at the next HNA, had hoped I might be.

    Peace! 🙂
    – Lorin

  11. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    an exaggerated slip
    on the thespian’s stage

  12. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    .
    the voice in my head
    was clear & without bells

  13. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    were Joan’s voices
    epilepsy or divine
    .
    or
    .
    were Jeanne d’Arc’s voices
    epilepsy or divine

  14. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    she played Quidditch
    for hours on end

  15. on the store’s intercom
    comes a cleanup request
    for aisle thirteen
    .
    –Michael Henry Lee
    .
    the voice in my head
    tells me not to laugh

  16. An excellent introduction of humor in this renku, Michael. 🙂 I think Paul’s choice makes for a good shift at this point.

    I’m enjoying these conversations. I love learning more about renku and traditions, and the spirit of discussion in this particular renku is positive all around. 🙂

    I like what Lorin added here:
    .
    “When we’re involved in a ‘world’ renku, or reading one, I think we can all expect to have to research to expand our knowledge sometimes. Otherwise, the poem as a whole can too often read as if everything in a renku happens in Japan and/or the USA.”
    .
    I’m in complete agreement about the need to stretch a bit and expand our thinking and knowledge by looking things up in the renku. In the last renku, I found I had to look up so many things, but it is exactly in doing that that I came to appreciate the wide experience and knowledge of the poets that participated. For example, I enjoy learning about a new species of animal or the mythology of a land i’ve never really studied. I expect most of us, as writers, are people interested in many things and automatically look them up. Our world is vast and diverse. Let’s enjoy that in our fine renku.
    .
    I really love the way this piece is coming together and I think John Stevenson deserves a big thanks for encouraging us to participate as temporary sabaki/new verse selectors. We learn by doing. The sign of a great teacher is trust in his/her students (sort of like trusting the toddler to put that glass of milk on the counter).

  17. Congratulations, Michael. Your verse, with its droll link, fits very well.

    Regarding Theresa’s verse offer you mention in your commentary, Paul 🙂 . . , can’t help myself, can’t stop grinning:
    ” “Theresa’s puppets . . . A Google search is required for most people to understand the folk practice to entertain children in Manzanar.” – Paul

    Indeed, I had to google to find Manzanar.

    “National park in Inyo County, California
    Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed during World War II from December 1942 to 1945.” – Wikipedia

    But I’m familiar with Denpasar, the place named in Theresa’s verse offer.
    You’ll find Denpasar, Paul, if you look carefully at that south-of-the-equator part of your world map labelled “here be dragons”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    – Lorin

    1. Lorin and Paul,

      To add to your both of your comments: I just read your mention of my verse in the above summary of your selection Paul, and am quite flattered that it was in the running for the last selection. I really like the final selection of Michael’s verse and find the humor works well overall. Congrats to Michael and Paul!
      —-

      I feel the need to clarify what I was trying to convey in that verse and what it is all about. As Lorin points out, the scene is supposed to be in Denpasar, Bali — The capital and main city of Bali (Indonesia). The shadow puppet theater (“Wayang Kulit”) is a integral part of the culture there. It is really not only for children’s entertainment, although the stories (mainly based on Hindu stories/ epics, e.g., the Ramayana and the Mahabharata) often contain morals/ guidance. Everyone knows the stories, and the shadow puppet performances are social gatherings that can last for hours at a time in the evening stretching into the night. The puppet master is just that — a master who manipulates the leather (buffalo hide) puppets behind the screen (lit from behind with a lantern), to cast the shadows of the various characters (often with them seeming to get larger or smaller depending on how he tilts them agains the screen — thus my use of “expands”); he also simlutaeously narrates the story and voices each character; and he directs the musicians who play gamelan in the background by his use of a foot cymbal. The music of Balinese gamelan is often described as scintillating. I just wanted to clarify all of this. I agree that someone unfamiliar with Bali and the shadow puppet theater would have to google these to understand my verse. Thanks again for the opportunity to participate here.

      Best,
      Theresa

      1. “…the shadow puppet performances are social gatherings that can last for hours at a time in the evening stretching into the night.’ – Theresa

        Or indeed, until dawn, in some places, such as Yogyakarta (probably not Denpasar, though) Those ancient Hindu epics are long! 🙂

        When we’re involved in a ‘world’ renku, or reading one, I think we can all expect to have to research to expand our knowledge sometimes. Otherwise, the poem as a whole can too often read as if everything in a renku happens in Japan and/or the USA.

        – Lorin

      2. on the store’s intercom
        comes a cleanup request
        for aisle thirteen

        –Michael Henry Lee

        I cross my fingers
        and name the Scottish play

        – Lorin

        1. Damn new computer, or more likely, Windows (curses) 10. My verse offer above was supposed to be separate, in a new box.

          – Lorin

          1. Ahhhh, Lorin Peace! please. I did look up the proper Asian place — in Bali, Indonesia. I had even seen some video clip years ago about the shadow puppet show … do not remember what show, nor did I remember the correct place when I typed my comments without notes. I’ve flashed on a TV series of traveling chef, Anthony Bourdain: “Parts Unknown.” I have NO IDEA why I confused the two places. It might be that the next HNA (Santa Fe, NM the fall) has a scheduled feature on the haiku of WW2 interment camps.
            .
            Theresa’s expanded comments are very interesting and helpful. Good information!
            .
            I think
            .
            in a Denpasar square
            the puppet master animates
            his small screen
            .
            gives plenty of context to what is going on, even if a reader has no idea of the City mentioned. So as to International?
            .
            I could mention riding a burro down a steep trail from the South Rim. Many in the US might know the reference to the Grand Canyon, but the story is plain: burro, riding, down a trail. My own 2 cents worth (American idiom for small coins … ha!) is that regardless of obscure references a stanza in a “world renku” need some available context. Something to “hang your hat on” …. Peace, again.
            .
            Hey, Lorin, at least I didn’t type Zanzibar ? Denpasar I had never heard of, but I could find Bali on a map. I bet maybe 90% or more of “Western” world citizens could not place Bali.
            .
            To be a Smiling Pedant, the phrase I remember from history studies was “Beyond here, there be dragons.” The ancient maps were mostly of the Mediterranean, and the terra incognita was labeled as outside the Gibraltar Pillars of Hercules. North America was not yet found, and no one had any notion of a Southern Hemisphere… or of an “equator.” But exploration happened. I even learned to Google . . .

  18. Congrats to you, Michael Henry! An entertaining link and shift. I’ve enjoyed your sense of humor throughout the renku. I can hear that voice over the intercom and the subsequent groan of an employee. Made me laugh.
    *
    A belated congratulations to you, Paul, on your endearing verse. Reminded me of my son in his younger years. It definitely brought an unexplored tenderness to the renku as Barbara stated in her insightful commentary.
    *
    Thank you for sharing the details of your selection process. I thoroughly enjoyed your excellent commentary. It’s wonderful to be in the company of such knowledgeable poets.

  19. Thank you Paul and John. Of course improvements on my work are always welcome. I would be delighted to pick our next verse and I hope to continue promoting an ongoing feeling of fun, communal input and the never ending opportunities to learn
    Kanpai

Comments are closed.

Back To Top