Welcome to The Renku Sessions. Renku is a participatory literary game, following a set of rules that are implemented by the leader of the session. If you would like to learn more about renku go here. And if you would like to see a sample of a complete renku go here.
I’m John Stevenson, and I will serve as your guide for this session, a thirty-six verse (kasen) renku. I have supplied the opening verse (hokku) and each week I will select an additional verse from among those submitted prior to the Tuesday deadline.
Twenty-five poets combined for one hundred nine verse twelve offers. Once again, there are verses I would love to have used but feel I have to pass up. First on the list is Patrick Sweeney’s now the acedia of the strip mall / bombards my reticular formation. This plays wonderfully with the woodland silence of verse eleven but I think that cancer and medical treatment in the leap-over (verse ten) precludes a verse that refers so strongly to neurology at this juncture.
Another good choice would have been Terri French’s a loud sneeze / from the sidewalk mime. And perhaps I’ve been punctilious here but I’m concerned that a sneeze may suggest illness and, if so, would preclude Terri’s verse for the same reason as Patrick’s, i.e. too close a relation to the leap-over.
Other verses that got a long second look included:lost glove (Dru Philippou), a ghost of fire and smoke (Vasile Moldovan), getting back on (Stella Pierides), distraught parents scream (batsword), and more offers than I have space to list from poets already included in our renku.
Our twelfth verse comes from Marion Clarke. Among other attractions, I look upon this as a good setup for the summer / moon verse that is to follow. While the verse clearly relates to the story of Pinocchio, it can be taken more broadly since that character is not specified.
Here is the verse you must link to:
he makes a wish
to become real
The next verse, the thirteenth, is the summer / moon verse. If you remember (or care to look back to) my instructions for the autumn / moon verse (number five), they indicate that any mention of the moon is presumed to be an autumn moon unless otherwise specified. So, verse thirteen will need both the moon and a summer season word or image. While it is permitted to simply say “summer moon,” let’s not do it that way. Here are the formal requirements for verse thirteen:
- Summer and Moon images
- Written in three lines, without a cut
- Linking with the twelfth verse, and only the twelfth verse
- Shifting widely to a new topic and setting
Add your suggested three-line link below, in the Comments box. You have until midnight EST, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. You may submit as many verses as you like, but please use a new comment box for each one. I will announce my selection for the next link on Thursday, May 29 here on the blog, and provide information and instructions for submitting the next link.
What We’ll Be Looking For — Throughout the Session
There are many schematic outlines for a kasen renku. We will be using one set out by Professor Fukuda in his book Introduction to World-linking Renku. It will not be necessary for you to have a copy of this book since instructions will be offered before each verse is solicited.
It is a good idea for those participating in the composition of a renku to make use of the same list of season words. There are a number of these lists available and I intend no judgment of their relative value. For purposes of this session I am suggesting the use of The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words.
Pilgrims’ Stride to Date
to the mountain pass–
a sun-warmed stone bridge
of seed trays
in the glasshouse
polished every monday
on the concert Steinway
played to the moon
by the swaying reeds
of a drone
thick with teenage pheromones
trying to reply
“I plight thee my troth.”
thinking of a red wig
of silent stories
he makes a wish
to become real