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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 25

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.

Michael Henry Lee was unable to make this week’s selection, so I am doing so. On a personal note, my wife had a bike accident on Tuesday and she had hip replacement surgery yesterday, with a lengthy period of rehab and recovery likely. While I don’t expect this will interfere with my administration of this renku feature, it is likely to result in less day-to-day involvement for me during the next several weeks.

What a lively set of discussions and verse offerings we have had this time! It’s one of those occasions when I wish I was choosing ten verses instead of just one. 

Since there were so many good offers, I have chosen to focus on another aspect of renku practice; what might be described as the social quality of renku. It’s a party and we want everyone to have a good time. What this translates to here is the fact that there were several fresh and lively offers from poets who have not yet been included in the renku-to-date (as well as many from poets already included). So, I narrowed my search on this basis and I’ve selected:

could it be
that women prefer
a room with a view?

          1. –Karen Cesar

A provocative question, our first since verse eight to be framed as such. The link is literary, as were many of the offered verses. But what really makes it attractive to me is the theme of gender, a great lead-in to our love verses. And the reminder that half the world has been silenced too often is also welcome. This seems especially apt for our current effort, in which women are playing such a prominent role. We have been discussing, at times, the need to be sensitive to the effect of seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres. When we talk about the social aspect of renku, there is this other set of “hemispheres” to consider – gender – and it is good to have this subject raised just as we turn to a consideration of love; an equally complex matter.

Thank you and congratulations, Karen!

Karen Cesar will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Karen, 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 (June 28, eastern US time) 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-six will be a non-seasonal love verse. It will be written in two lines. For those who may have missed the instructions about love verses from our earlier set, these are verses about love between adult human beings. They are not about love of pets, love of country, love of ice cream, etc.  They can be romantic, erotic, nostalgic or anything that seems aptly to express love (or even the absence of it) between any adult human beings. Since we are going to be writing a series of two love verses and there should be a sense of progression in them, this first one might do well to feature a relatively early image of a love relationship.

Verse twenty-six must link to the twenty-fifth verse (and only the twenty-fifth 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

recalling where they were
on Jerusalem Day

    –Debbie Feller

snowflakes
falling north and south
of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

Tolstoy in Russian
by a roaring fire

    –Michael Henry Lee

could it be
that women prefer
a room with a view?

    —Karen Cesar

This Post Has 133 Comments

  1. Many thanks for all the illuminating comments regarding the love verses.
    .
    her fingers crossed
    before a blind date
    .
    or
    .
    his fingers crossed
    before a blind date

    1. Like both of these, Marion, but remember:
      .
      Jimmy Carter
      and Rosalynn
      on the kiss cam
      .

      —Judt Shrode

    1. I guess that isn’t referring to a second person.
      .
      her first dream in Italian
      a year after they meet

    2. Hi Marian,
      .
      Can’t use ‘Italian’ because of ‘Russian’ in verse preceding the last one.
      .
      K

    1. Nice,but while I recognize narrative links as valid, I would prefer a verse with more shift in this position.
      .
      ?K

    1. Ditto here too. But they are all nice verses. Just all too close for what I am looking for here.
      .
      K

    1. Anyone…just wondering…with the earlier love verses of the lord’s taking advantage of a bride’s first night and then the long married Jimmy and Roselyn on the kiss cam…wouldn’t the renku need to progress beyond an early love relationship?
      ….
      Very sorry to hear that your wife hurt herself, John. But glad to know she is home and recovering…best wishes to you both. Am on granny duty so am late checking in. Betty

        1. I have always been taught and practiced that the two sets of love stanzas are independent of each other. Plainly, the subject/topics should not be repeated, but the sequence John mentions is _within_ the pair or trio of love verses. In the general sense — forward not back is best policy. This applies to numbers as we have experienced, and to within a season group of two or three verses. Early to later spring for example. Or “all spring” in any position. Most renku have 2 groups of Autumn and two groups of spring. Within each trio (or duo) should be forward. RE: love… it would not be proper to have mourning a spouse before courtship — in a pair.

          It is better variety — “Variety in all things” — to have different subjects. It i a big, wide world. I would advise players to use adult, human love … and it can be obvious or physical. Some submissions do not seem to be “love” verses — some do for this assignment.

          One can read past winning renku at the Haiku Society of America website … click on contests/collection, then Einbond Renku. Some winners and runners-up date back to 2002… and some are published in the HSA’s frogpond.
          .
          From 2008, for example, “The Smell of Earth” with the late Peggy Willis Lyles and Ferris Gilli some mood and some sexiness:
          .
          so few good points
          that my matchmaker shrieks
          “Impossible!”
          – Paul
          .
          bananas flambé
          kindle our mood
          – Peggy
          .
          giant boulders screening
          his slow ramble to
          the erogenous zone
          – Ferris

          .
          Peggy’s link to “match” was clever and amusing … and Ferris? Well, we wrote via Internet, but I hope she blushed … ha!

      1. hmmm, in my view the schema allows for sufficient distance between the two sets of love verses that anything goes as long as it does not repeat the context in which the previous verses appear. forward movement within a given set of verses is important (so, for example, no teenage crush after a divorce; but if one set of love verses ends in a divorce the other may begin with a teenage crush)
        🙂

        my two cents, at least, others may have something else to add…

    2. ‘sister wives’ is really appealing. It is a fresh image. We lived in Salt Lake for awhile in the 80’s. That is where I finished my degree at the university of Utah.
      .
      K

      1. Thanks! Utah is such a beautiful state…one of my favorite places to visit. How great you got to live and study there! ?

  2. John: great to hear your wife is home and on the mend / grace and
    patience for you both
    *************************
    awaiting induction to
    the mile high club

    1. Don’t you mean something else rather than ‘lovemaking’? Perhaps:
      .
      Woken up by the waves
      her lover appears

      ‘Lovemaking’ I think happens rather than appears.
      .
      K

  3. wearing his kilt
    in a gale force wind

    *

    Thanks for the welcome, Maureen, brilliant entries in here, I’m learning a lot.

    1. Another good verse, but, again it would require the following love verse be strongly ❤️ to be interpreted as a love verse.
      .
      Does anyone have an opinion on how ‘stand alone’ an initial love verse should be? It seems that ‘ room with a view’ could broadly considered a love verse…
      .
      K

      1. It would be good if, upon first reading, the reader knows beyond a doubt that this is another set of love verses.

      2. Thanks for all your comments on my efforts, Karen, I’m on a huge learning curve, and still clutching my beginners card…I’ll get there 🙂

    1. Same comment here as to Carol’s verse. Interpreting this as a love verse would require strong context.
      .
      K

  4. Being too busy to look at the Renku Sessions, I returned to a discussion on Speedo®. The ads on this side of the world use Speedo USA, but I understand they were first manufactured in Australia. In my mind, the word Speedo has become synonymous with racing bathing suits or perhaps just skimpy bathing suits. In the US we usually say kleenex for tissue, knowing that Kleenex is not the only brand of tissue. Speedo is now the only racing bathing suit for the Olympics, so I may be wrong to use it without caps, but on the other hand, in haiku/renku we seldom use caps.
    .
    Karen suggested the present tense. I’ll second that:
    .
    not liking formality
    he proposes in a speedo
    .
    Now we are left to wonder if the speedo is too summery for a love verse, though most swimmers swim all through the year. The man in my verse is not swimming. In beauty contests, women wear swim suits without swimming. However, I think I better fold my speedo verse away and put an end to this discussion. (^.^)

    1. not liking formality
      he proposes in a speedo

      Present tense is better but you still have “a speedo”, singular, Carmen. Would you say ” Tom changed into his swim trunk or ” Harry put on his board short”? Or, shopping, would you ask for a speedo/ board short/ swim trunk?

      . . . “speedos” is fine. It’s in usage, as you say, Carmen, like “kleenex” & “coke” are . And it’s more immediately recognised than the generic “swim briefs”.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swim_briefs
      Also, it doesn’t matter if they’re made by another brand… they’re still referred to as ‘speedos’ (here, anyway)

      Also, the context makes it clear you’re not referring to a speedometer. Only a very small insect might get inside that sort of speedo and I’ve not ever heard of an insect proposing to anyone. 🙂

      – Lorin

      1. “Also, the context makes it clear you’re not referring to a speedometer. Only a very small insect might get inside that sort of speedo and I’ve not ever heard of an insect proposing to anyone. ?”
        .
        Hmmmm, don’t fireflies ‘propose’ by lighting up in the darkness? As a mating display, this beautiful evening show is always lovely to watch.

        Mary 😉

        1. I see that my attempts to be helpful with grammar haven’t gone down at all well… such is life. 🙂

          Mary, one of my favourite contemporary ‘firefly’ haiku is by an Irishman…I can’t recall his now right now but his haiku (which I think I published) is indelible in my mind:

          O, firefly
          I’d burn my own arse, too
          to get her attention


          – Lorin

  5. Just checking in to give thanks for all of the kind comments and well wishing. We have been home for two days and things are going well, though there is much to do at all hours. I’m delighted to see the lively exchange of offers and comments this time. You’re definitely giving Karen something to work with!

    1. So glad to hear that everything is going well, John. Such wonderful news! Thanks so much for keeping us posted. And thank you for your kindness and support. Wishing you and your wife the best.

    2. Good to hear that all is going as well as can be expected with your wife’s recovery from the surgery, John. And yes, you’ll certainly be kept busy.

      – Lorin

  6. on top of the world
    she shares her hipflask
    ~

    Karen: “Rereading this, I wonder if this verse inclines enough toward love?”

    I wonder would this make a difference to your preference?:

    on top of the world
    she shares his hipflask

  7. To John:
    I’ve come in late on the discussion, as I haven’t been posting very often. I was very sorry to hear of your wife’s accident. I hope all goes well with her new hip, and that the recovery process is smooth for you both.
    Marietta

    1. Carol
      .
      I ‘m having trouble understanding this one.
      .
      I am assuming ‘island wall’ is synonymous with ‘sea wall,’ but I am at a loss for how ‘he’ relates to a weakness in the sea wall. Unless maybe you mean this metaphorically?
      .
      K ?

      1. … “wall” would be out, anyway, wouldn’t it?

        snowflakes
        falling north and south
        of the peace wall

        —Marion Clarke

        – Lorin

      2. My thought with this – a couples love, strong impenetrable, but there’s always a weakness somewhere, as in our ‘island walls’

        *

        However, Lorin is on the ball, 🙂

  8. John i’m very sorry to hear of your wife’s accident, here’s some more hopes, prayers, and good old positive vibes for a full
    recovery. The renku just continues to blossom.
    ***********************************
    a camping trip proves
    her in-doing

    1. Hi Michael
      .
      Do you mean ‘undoing.’ . I can’t find a meaning for ‘in-doing’.
      .
      ?K

      1. … just consider the male mind, Karen. 🙂 I have no trouble understanding ‘in-doing’ in context, and I think Michael might’ve created a neologism, here. 🙂

        – Lorin

      2. Yes ,how foolish of me it should have been her un-doing,
        although it currently appears to be mine.

    1. Ha! Carmen, what an understatement. 🙂 Speedos …We call them ‘budgie smugglers’. For obvious reasons. 🙂
      But which is worse, budgie smugglers front-on or the hairy half-moon revealed by board shorts as they creep down the crack?

      – Lorin

      1. ps, like ‘pants’, ‘Speedos’ is never in the singular.
        (and you’re welcome to ‘budgie smugglers’, if you want to try that variation, too)

        -Lorin

        1. Hi Lorin,
          .
          About ‘speedo’ vs ‘speedos’, would not the way Carmen has it be correct because of the adjective?
          .
          not liking formality
          he proposed in a speedo
          .
          As opposed to using ‘ speedos’ had Carmen written it:
          .
          not liking formality
          he proposed in speedos
          .
          Carmen?
          .
          ? K

          1. Karen, I can’t see any adjective in Carmen’s verse. But even if there was adjective, (eg. “he proposed in a red speedo” ) I don’t see what difference that would make. What is a Speedo/ speedo?

            Just as “The groom wore a striped trouser” or “The boy watched as Mary removed her pant” are understandable errors for those who speak & write English as a second language, so is “He proposed in a Speedo.”

            not liking formality
            he proposed in his Speedos

            would be correct.

            We wouldn’t say “He wore a budgie smuggler”, either. 🙂 Here’s a photo of an Australian ex-Prime minister in his signature budgie smugglers (Speedos)
            http://www.news.com.au/national/budgie-smugglers-enter-oxford-english-dictionary/news-story/699c7d885459197fc5911c4b4eb27efb


            – Lorin

    2. Another general question: As this verse is supposed to be non-seasonal, would not ‘bathing suit/ speedo’ be associated with summer? Too, I am wondering about using another article of clothing or if there is sufficient separation between this verse and the previous verses that used clothing? Anyone?
      .
      K

      1. I wouldn’t be too worried about ‘boots’ & speedos, but yes, a swimming costume of any kind would probably imply summer in a renku. Which is a pity, because Carmen’s image is original and funny, and also says something wry about the man’s confidence (over-confidence? ) in what he might imagine to be the persuasive impressiveness of his toolkit. 🙂

        – Lorin

    1. Hi Carmen,

      I do so much like the version using ‘speedo’. ???.
      .
      When we lived in Maine ( we live in Arizona now) we were about a mile from the beach – not much in the way of speedos there, but, a resort town a ways south of us attracted a lot of tourists from Canada. Lots of speedos – mostly on men of ‘ a certain age’ and plenty of girth and as Lorin described in her post … ??
      .
      Amazing what the substitution of a single word can do for a verse.
      .
      ?K

    1. maybe ‘photos’ would be better?

      photos of her naked
      found on facebook

      – Lorin

    1. I like this, Debbie, but I am not sure this would qualify as a love verse by itself. But, that might also apply to some of the other verses …
      .
      ? K

  9. was a room with a view acceptable in Italy? Consider the response by Maggie Smith in the film

    1. Hi Eido,
      .
      I don’t think the problem was the room – if you remember, the women were disappointed they had initially been given one without a view – so much as it was the possibility of incurring a debt/social obligation from male strangers. The mores of the time.
      .
      K

  10. Congratulations Karen! What a great job and I liked hearing about your thought process behind it too! :).
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife, John.

  11. Karen Cesar, I wasn’t able to use the reply box, so I will answer you here. At Commencement Bay Haiku in Tacoma (which Judt Shrode, Jim Westenhaver & I established), we often listen to the background of the haiku, after each poet reads their sheet. I find that illuminating.

    Personally, I can still hear my 5th-grade teacher saying, “Carmen, stop looking out the window.” However, when it comes to haiku/tanka/renku poets, I think those who prefer a view might be even between women and men.

  12. nicely done, Karen!


    could it be
    that women prefer
    a room with a view?
    .

    imagine her purple nails
    scratching your back!

  13. gosh, John, i empathise with both of you and wish your wife a complete and speedy recovery!

    1. Of the three, Mary, I prefer this one for its ability to be read multiple ways. ?

  14. Hi John
    I’m very sorry to hear what happened to you wife. My best wishes to her.

    1. Hi Carmen. I tend to agree with John Carley about explaining our verses in that discussion tends to fasten a given interpretation on readers rather than letting the reader read into the verses. Having said that … I was watching a Merchant/Ivory film – ‘Room With a View’ and was thinking how the preceding verse reminded me of the atmosphere of Edwardian England. I was imagining overhearing a philosophical discussion between a couple of stodgy old gentlemen – one who is reading Tolstoy in Russian. The topic turns to to what degree art imitates life and one of the old gentlemen muses about the entry trope to the book/ movie. I imagine that they begin to discuss/ debate Freud’s eternal question ( at least in the male mind?) ‘What does a woman really want?” The main idea being that to one of the gentlemen, the idea that a woman might value a view more than a man would is a novel idea. Perhaps it is just a philosophical musing or perhaps it has something to do with his holiday plans and is straightforward question, much as someone making an unintended double entendre. In either case I meant the verse to be read with gentle humor.
      .
      Thank you for asking.

    2. Hi John, I hope your wife has a swift recovery.

      Congratulations Karen, also I enjoyed reading the thought behind your verse – stodgy old gentlemen – for me, that really enhanced the scene you portrayed 🙂

      Maureen your verse made me smile, it conjures up a scene of mischief and naughtiness.

      1. Hi Carol! Glad that verse made you smile. Thank you for your comments. Wishing you lots of fun at the renku party.
        .
        Thanks so much for sharing the behind-the-scenes of your verse, Karen. Fascinating! I adore that movie.

  15. All my best for your wife’s recovery, John. You’ll be busy!

    Congratulations, Karen. 😉

    John, I’ve read your comments and understand your reasoning about inclusion, but, much as I appreciate the work of Forster ( I favour a ‘A Passage to India’ over ‘A Room with a View’, btw ) I’m surprised and somewhat confused to find two books in a row in this renku (both by male authors, too) when there are many topic areas we’ve not visited.

    Gender issues: I’m wondering if the title ‘A Room with a View’ might’ve somehow become conflated with ‘A Room of One’s Own’ ?

    – Lorin

    1. Yes, I have been periodically confused over the past couple of days. I was thinking of “A Room of One’s Own” when writing my comments.

    1. Interesting verse, Marie, but it strikes me as a bit long or maybe as more of a three line verse?

  16. John,
    .
    “On a personal note, my wife had a bike accident on Tuesday and she had hip replacement surgery yesterday, with a lengthy period of rehab and recovery likely.”
    .
    I am so sorry to hear about your wife’s accident. All my very best to her. It does take great patience and physiotherapy but if done on a daily basis can have people bouncing back with vitality. I was a full-time carer to my mom, for instance, who was superfit and I helped her get back from a truly awful accident after six months. I hope it’s sooner for your wife though!
    .
    warmest regards,
    Alan

  17. Hello John & Everyone,
    .
    Sorry to hear about your wife’s accident, John. I hope she is better in record time.
    .
    I would be honored to choose the next verse. Thank you all for the kind comments. I have so much enjoyed this renku, the camaraderie, and the creativity of the submitted verses.

    1. Wonderful start to this round of verse submissions! Provocative. ‘peephole’ is a great word.
      .
      K

  18. Congrats, Karen and John.
    I loved this verse from when Karen first posted it!
    The link is so clever and provocative!

    And thanks for the great commentary, John.
    May your wife recover easily and quickly from her surgery.

  19. I do like this new verse a lot–an excellent choice. Congratulations, Karen!

    John, I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s accident. Her surgery will prove miraculous–I’ve had my knees replaced, and the gift of walking again is truly a miracle. I hope her recovery is smooth and thorough. She has my prayers and caring thoughts.

  20. Congratulations, Karen! A marvelous verse. I definitely prefer a room with a view. I hope you will be able to select the next verse.
    .
    Thanks for the fantastic commentary, John.

  21. Very sorry to hear about your wife’s accident, John. Best wishes for a full recovery. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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