The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 36
Welcome 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 have been trying something a little different this time. Instead of making all of the selections myself, new verses were selected by the poet who wrote the preceding verse. This was on a voluntary basis and I preformed this task for anyone who opted to pass up the opportunity.
kjmunro has been our final selector. Here is her report:
“I have very little renku experience, so thanks to everyone for this opportunity! First some verses I was considering:
Marietta McGregor’s ‘crystal glasses on a table/laid for travellers‘ —I love the idea of the travellers, but we have already had a pilgrim shrine and a milk glass on the counter.
‘circles of children/dance to folk songs‘ —I like the circles, and ‘cheers for the oldest/runner of the race‘, both from Carmen Sterba —but is it spring?
From Mary Kendall ‘a cloud of honeybees/circles the new hive‘ —more circles, but we have already seen a dragonfly and sugar cubes.
Also from Mary; ‘young voices & skipping ropes/now set the beat‘ —but we just had a kite, and we have heard some conversations too…
a stream of bubbles
from beyond the fence
has that open-ended quality I am looking for—it is spring and, although still outside, has moved at least from the earth to the sky. It is true that we have had a peace wall already, but I have chosen this verse anyway mainly because of the feeling it gives me of something that goes on…
Thank you to all the participants, to THF, and to John, for this challenging task!
With best wishes from the sunny Yukon,
Thank you kj and everyone who has participated. I wish we had been able to include absolutely everyone and hope that this has been a rewarding experience for one and all. Your comments are invited now. I will just say that this experiment in sharing the leadership has felt good to me and the many points of view represented seem to have imbued this renku with a spark of vitality that makes it stand out. It happened that I was leading a renku session during this past weekend and I read our first thirty-five verses to those attending. It was, in very many ways, a great example of the variety, interplay, and forward motion of good renku.
Our next session will begin in early October and will feature Kala Ramesh. She will ask you to offer a hokku and will provide instructions for that in her first post. Stay tuned!
With thanks and best wishes to all,
a year of
- –John Stevenson
a clownfish offers
the first greeting
- –Peter Newton
taking a fistful
of freshly tilled earth
to my cheek
- –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy
on the warm breeze
- –Maureen Virchau
sound of a flute
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
has the lord executed
his droit du seigneur
on the kiss cam
after the picnic
some spirited croquet
—Michael Henry Lee
the old quarry
so deep and cold
her scars stay hidden
though the neckline plunges
each time I wake
the moon lights
the whir of dragonfly wings
in the remaining heat
passes through the chestnut
and the worm, too
the tension of the needle
sprout along a cliff’s
six pairs of boots
by the pilgrim shrine
in full flight
through the archway
–Barbara A. Taylor
my toddler puts her milk glass
on the kitchen counter
on the store’s intercom
comes a cleanup request
for aisle thirteen
–Michael Henry Lee
recalling where they were
on Jerusalem Day
falling north and south
of the peace wall
Tolstoy in Russian
by a roaring fire
–Michael Henry Lee
could it be
that women prefer
a room with a view?
absinthe and “that look”
as they suck on sugar cubes
all the agar plates
one last guess at
the weight of the Blue Hubbard
- –Sally Biggar
searching for candles
in the back of the drawer
- –Carol Jones
release the faint scent
of face powder
- –Marietta McGregor
how this kite gently pulls
- –Betty Shropshire
a pink petal
comes to rest
on a raindrop
a stream of bubbles
from beyond the fence
- –Marion Clarke
This Post Has 38 Comments
Great Renku. Enjoyed it immensely. Thank you all.
Polona, I am so very sorry for your loss.
Lovely ending. Congratulations, Marion!
Thank you, John, for your leadership. I think the renku reads very well. It has been most enjoyable to be along for the ride.
Thank you all.
Sorry for your loss, Polona.
Peace and Love
Thank you, Barbara! 😀
..wonderful 36 !
What a lovely ending…am deeply indebted to all of you. Betty
Congratulations, Marion and KJ! What a wonderful way to end the renku! This has been so much fun . . .so thankful for the experience and for everyone involved.
Thank you, Debbie. Yes, it has been fun.
Thanks everyone for the kind words – it has been a pleasure (& an honour) to participate in this way… please forgive me for not replying personally to each one as I am packing for Santa Fe (see you there, Carmen!) … the leaves are turning here, & frost at night, so while I am looking forward to the weather there, my thoughts are with those enduring the extremes of Mother Nature…
with best wishes to you all, Kathy
Kathy, I’m looking forward to meeting you.
what a wonderful experience this kasen has been! thirty six weeks of collaboration within a supportive group of poets resulting in a variety of styles and topics and a really nice flow to the renku. everyone did a great job when in the position of sabaki, and special thanks to John for facilitating the whole process. i think the experiment proved a great success.
life presented challenges for some of us during the course of the composition. I’m glad, John, that your wife is on the mend, and hope Betty isn’t too badly affected by Harvey. as for me, well, i buried my husband just over a month ago so wasn’t really up to participating actively in the final stretches of this renku. still, i want to say i loved every week of its course.
Thinking of you and yours as you grieve , and praying too.
Oh, Polona, I’m so sorry to learn about your husband. Thinking of you at this sad time.
Polona, I hope you have family and friends who will gather around you at this difficult time. Though most of our poet community may live far away, we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
I’m so sorry to learn about your husband’s passing. Please know that you will be in my prayers and my thoughts.
Oh, Polona…what we lost was minor as a family spread across the gulf coast…nothing to ever compare to the heartbreak you are experiencing. My deepest condolences. Betty
So very sorry for your tragic loss, Polona. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
thank you all for your words, thoughts and prayers.
he had been ill so i knew it was coming. still, it doesn’t make it much easier…
but life goes on and i’m not done yet! there are still things to look forward to…
What a lovely last verse, Marion! It brings back blowing bubbles in childhood. Good to hear that Kala Ramesh will be the next sabaki!
By the way, I’m going to Haiku North America in Santa Fe next week. Marshall Hryciuk will be the renku sabaki for three nights. Karen Sohne will be facilitating the renku. I’m sure John Stevenson will be there. Is anyone else going?
Thanks, Carmen – lucky you! 🙂
Congratulations, Marion! Very happy for you. A perfect ending. Cheery with a bit of mysteriousness. I can hear the laughter of children. And such a thoughtful and detailed commentary, kj. Thank you for all your time and consideration.
Many thanks to John. A truly excellent teacher. Very knowledgeable, welcoming, open & kind. The world is a better place.
Thank you to all the poets here. I truly enjoyed this experiment. Fun and educational. I especially appreciate the commentaries. It was so interesting to experience our writing styles beyond that of haiku and renku verses. Happy trails until we meet again.
Thank you, Maureen. I love how you interpreted my verse. Yes, there will always be children where there are bubbles – even if they are hiding behind a fence! 🙂
This was indeed a special renku and John was a kind and most helpful leader.
Wow, thank you so much for selecting my verse, kj. (I hadn’ t realised wall, borders and fences would play such a big part in my writing 🙂 )
John, what a great renku. Thank you for leading us and inviting those who felt inclined to act as sabaki to do so. It has been a lot of fun and much has been learned.
And thanks to everyone who took part – there has been a great collaborative spirit in this renku and I will miss it. I know it will take quite some time for me to stop checking in to see what’s been posted!
Thanks, Maria! 🙂
Wow, can’t believe it’s over! Thirty-six weeks of anticipation and pleasurable reading. All good things do end, though. What a lovely verse of farewell, Marion, congratulations! Thank you kj, I enjoyed your choice and your reasoning.
Great thanks to John as sabaki for quiet guidance all the way through. I’ve enjoyed playing very much and will miss everyone. Thank you all. Maybe we’ll meet again in another renku!
Thank you, Marietta – and I certainly hope we all meet up again in a forthcoming renku. 🙂
I’ve just realised that I missed John’s last point about Kala leading the next session – looking forward! 🙂
A lovely bubbly ending for this renku, Marion. 🙂 And I see in those floating bubbles all the colours of the rainbow… how fitting, not just as a link to k.j’s verse, but as a light-hearted, implied reference to the whole renku. Well chosen, k.j. 🙂
John, it’s been a true delight to be involved in this renku. This has been a great experience of truly collaborative renku. Deep bows and many thanks to you. It has been fun, and thanks also to everyone else involved.
I’m delighted you enjoyed it, Lorin. Yes, I’m a big fan of anything rainbow coloured. Must be the Aquarian in me! 🙂
Congratulations, Marion, on your excellent verse. KJ, I enjoyed following your thinking in selecting this final verse. Well done, both of you!
John, thank you for being such a fine leader and taking a risk by letting us have a go at being sabaki. Being able to ask questions and listen to such thoughtful answers made this very meaningful. Thanks to all the poets–I loved reading your verses each week.
Thank you, Mary! 🙂
A very fine effort, one and all. Thanks to John Stevenson for a lot of work!
When I’ve written renku with John, we all read the finished project out loud. . . each taking her/his own part. I think we writers and readers of New Calendar could enjoy reading it aloud slowly and with meaning. We have some humorous, some serious, some square, human and nature, some beautiful verses. A good capstone to this wonderful artistic experience.
I couldn’t have said it better so may I just second Paul’s sentiments
Michael Henry Lee
I totally agree, Paul and wouldn’t it be lovely to have a recording of everyone reading their verses! 🙂
Congrats again Marion, from your work based haiku, to this renku verse, you are on a roll!
Wonderful renku in total too!!!
Thank you so much, Alan. Your words mean a lot. 🙂
Thanks for letting me take part in this Renku session. Many thanks, John, for including one of my verses, an honour indeed.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the wonderful entries over the past few weeks, an immense learning curve and so much to learn, still.
Look forward to the next session.
Congratulations, Marion. A brilliant choice, kj.
Thanks you, Carol. 🙂
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