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The Renku Sessions: Pilgrims' Stride 16

renkuchainWelcome 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 have offered sixty-five verse sixteen suggestions. Among the many that seemed like contenders for this slot were two by Karen Cesar (rush hour cabbies and the Central Park kibitzer), two by Terri French (a rhinestone tiara and the street mime), Stewart C Baker’s the skyscraper’s glass and a routine spacewalk, Marion Clarke’s my daughter begs me, Stella Pierides’ smells from a meth lab, Dru Philippou’s the grocery store, and Jennifer Sutherland’s calling his number. I would also include Alice Frampton’s six hundred people in this group. This and several other verses mentioned numbers. It might be a good moment to mention what I have always considered one of the curious rules of renku. Once a number is specified, any further mention of a number cannot be a lower number. Presumably this is in furtherance of the idea that the movement in a renku is always forward, never the reverse.

Our sixteenth verse comes from Jennifer Sutherland. I asked for some urban grit and it would be hard to top this sample of Lou Reed in satisfaction of that request! Also, it seems like an interesting setup for our first blossom verse.

Here is the verse you must link to:

sugar plum fairy came
and hit the streets…

    –Jennifer Sutherland

The next verse, the seventeenth, requires a spring blossom image. I will quote William J. Higginson here, “Traditionally, a renku “blossom verse” is required to include either the word “blossoms” (hana in Japanese) without naming the type (always considered to mean “cherry blossoms”) or the term “cherry blossoms” (in Japanese, sakura by itself is enough). Today, many non-Japanese renku people accept all terms here including the word “blossoms” –and other spring-blosssoming ornamentals, such as “apricot blossoms,” “apple blossoms,” and so on.– wjh” Here are the formal requirements for verse seventeen:

  • Spring blossom image
  • Written in three lines, without a cut
  • Linking with the sixteenth verse, and only the sixteenth 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, June 24, 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, June 26 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

      comparing maps
      to the mountain pass–
      pilgrims’ stride

        –John Stevenson

      a sun-warmed stone bridge
      over snowmelt

        –Billie Wilson

      dampened soil
      of seed trays
      in the glasshouse

        –Margaret Beverland

      grandmother’s silverware
      polished every monday

        –Polona Oblak

      a sonata
      on the concert Steinway
      played to the moon

        –Lorin Ford

      dragonflies hover
      by the swaying reeds

        –Karen Cesar

      slight hum
      of a drone
      in fog

        –Alice Frampton

      the atmosphere
      thick with teenage pheromones

        –Norman Darlington

      I stumble
      trying to reply
      “I plight thee my troth.”

        –Paul MacNeil

      thinking of a red wig
      during chemo

        –Asni Amin

      the woodland
      of silent stories
      and shadow

        –Alan Summers

      he makes a wish
      to become real

        –Marion Clarke

      each mirror reflects
      only the cool moon
      rising

        –kris moon

      freshly-caught fish
      sizzles in the pan

        –Aalix Roake

      a wealthy prince
      exiled in Nigeria
      soliciting my help

        –Christopher Patchel

      sugar plum fairy came
      and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

      This Post Has 98 Comments

      1. Looks like to stay in contention I better change mine a touch:

        blossoming bonsai
        in the dentist’s office
        minutes pass like hours

      2. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        – Jennifer Sutherland

        the Man
        r.i.p.
        mono no aware

        – Meli Kyriakos

      3. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        cherry blossoms
        in the country of the blind
        by their scent

        – Lorin Ford

      4. woman of the street found
        covered only in blossoms from
        the weeping cherry tree

      5. woman of the street found
        covered only in blossoms
        from the weeping cherry tree

      6. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        amid scattering
        blossoms, heroin
        my heroine

      7. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        – Jennifer Sutherland

        a milky nimbus
        at dusk
        beneath the cherry tree

      8. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        by their scent
        in the country of the blind
        cherry blossoms

        – Lorin Ford

      9. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        -Jennifer Sutherland

        entering the uncanny valley
        of cascading blossoms
        with open palms

        -Patrick Sweeney

      10. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        – Jennifer Sutherland

        a trail to see
        apple blossom
        in the cider county

      11. the neglected yard
        now perfect
        with cherry blossoms

        Thank you Elizabeth St Jacques

      12. ps.
        Yes, because I guess we can’t go so far as to recognize each and every connection/link (Lou Reed and reeds). I guess we could find links just about anywhere. The longer renku must be really fascinating.

      13. Aha, the reset of seasons and sections. Yes, that makes total sense. Thanks so much!
        In all games (and life) there are rules. Nice to be going in the right direction instead of finding at the end you’ve been working your buns off going in the wrong direction . . .

      14. Forgot we can’t name colors anymore (not that my verses are eligible at this point)

        cross-shaped
        full blossoms
        of a dogwood

      15. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        sweet bulls
        flank to flank beneath
        the flowering pear

        * ‘sweet bull’ is a term cattle ranchers use for a bull that prefers the company of other bulls and is reluctant to mate

      16. Alice,

        I’m glad you’re learning, and having fun in the process. I want to remind you, and everyone, that you are learning A renku way. There are other ways. There is no The way. This cannot be said too often. If we succeed in this experiment, there will be other leaders for other renku on this site. They will do some things a little differently. I am passing along, as well as I am able, what I have received in a mere eighteen years of renku study and practice. That is perhaps just enough to make me the one-eyed man.

        Now, to your particular question: while the overall sense of movement in a renku should be a forward movement, there are multiple series of seasonal and love verses and we “reset” as we get to each of these sequences. If our first series of love verses ended with an old pair of lovers, celebrating a golden wedding anniversary, we are free to start with love at first sight in the next sequence of love verses, which will be occurring many verses later in the renku. The same applies to sequences of seasonal verses. We do need to be careful not to create a retro movement within any of these series.

        In your particular example, I would consider the age of the grandmother less important than the specified familial relationship. I would want to wait a very long time in the renku before naming another (uncle, mother-in-law, etc.). But naming a relationship that implies age (however non-specifically) does not commit us to only depicting old people from that point forward.

        One description of renku (by Dee Evetts?) that I have always liked – it is as if we are traveling a winding river and, as we round each bend, it is still the same river but the sight of something quite different and unexpected may greet us there.

      17. Also John,
        I’m sorry to bring up all these questions, but this is a learning renku, right?
        If renku always moves forward (numbers), and I’ve also heard this about the love verses, does this mean that once grandmother has been used then age should also move only forward? How does one know which subjects?

      18. Thanks John,
        This has really been helpful, because I feel that you are saying that a word, taken in a phrase, as plum is, is not necessarily the linkage if the meaning is not there.
        Wow, I am really learning a lot about renku and literature in this session.

        Karen,
        I think brackets work for quoting a longer piece of information. I don’t know how to change into bold or italics, either, from my I-pad.

        Chris,
        Good catch on the word plum! I completely missed it. Thanks for bringing it up.

        IMO, I’m not a fan of a full direct quote as allusion. I feel a few words along with a slight change enhances the creativity of the offering poet. That being said, I have truly enjoyed learning that direct quotes are accepted and used in renku. That is something I did not know, and it took me by surprise. It’s a great piece of knowledge for further renku sessions. Thank you Jennifer for offering the poem. I remember the song, and it has been fun revisiting it.

        Thanks John, also, for the information about numbers. We’re going to need a number soon.

      19. Alice,

        I suppose the answer is that there can be “one or more” linkages. This is, after all, in the eye of the beholder to some degree. There may be an obvious link or two (or four) but there are, in theory at least, an endless supply of less obvious (and sometimes downright cryptic) ways of seeing a linkage. My personal rule, as a reader, is “relax.” It’s easy to spoil things for oneself (and possibly inflict that on others) by squinting too hard. I’ll just say that I would not have accepted “sugar plum fairy came” as a blossom verse. The reason for this is that it does not really contain (for me) the image of a flowering tree or bush. Since I don’t consider it a blossom verse, anything following it in the seventeenth place that I would consider a blossom verse will represent a shift for me. Others, of course, are free to see it differently and, if they do, they should write accordingly. If anyone actually sees a plum tree in flower when reading verse sixteen they may indeed have difficulty in making a verse seventeen offer. In that case, it’s perfectly OK to just watch and listen for a while and take up the pen again when it comes to writing verse eighteen.

        I may have gotten slightly off topic, Alice. It would also be fine to ignore the idea of plum/cherry and link to some other aspect of verse sixteen. I have already suggested that it could be viewed as a memorial tribute. One could link to the idea of travel, to glitz, to gay culture (being careful not to write a love verse at this point), to …. etc. The blossom in verse seventeen does not have to be the linking element. And if you do see it as a link to “plum” you can try to find a stronger link to some other element in verse sixteen.

      20. John,

        Can you clarify something for me?
        Chris Patchel brings into the discussion the plum/cherry link. Does this mean that a verse cannot link in another way as well? How many links can a verse contain, as long as it shifts away as well?

      21. …it’s not blossoming fruit trees that this verse precludes, but any later reference to testicles… or ballet. -Lorin

        Granted, but if I name the plum tree, or any other fruit tree, it creates a link (for me an unwanted one).

      22. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        dirty needles
        and cigarette butts swept up
        with the blossoms

      23. Lorin,
        How are you getting the system to accept bold, italic etc.?

        Thanks,
        Karen

      24. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        dirty needles
        and cigarette butts
        swept up with the blossoms

      25. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        the apparition
        of these faces in the crowd;
        petals on a wet black bough

        – Lorin Ford (channeling Ezra Pound)

      26. In case I’m being obscure: in my view it’s not blossoming fruit trees that this verse precludes, but any later reference to testicles… or ballet.

        – Lorin

      27. Though it is part of Lou Reed’s lyrics (for ‘Walk on the Wild Side’), ‘sugar plum fairy’ isn’t a reference to blossoming fruit trees or candied fruit or music, but to another art form which happens to be set to music: ballet. Cleverly … & hilariously 🙂 (& no doubt an intentional allusion on Lou Reed’s part) the Sugar Plum Fairy features in ‘The Nutcracker Suite’. 🙂

        I don’t think I need to spell ‘nutcracker’ out any further in context of Lou Reed’s lyrics in WotWS. 😉

        -Lorin

      28. Chris says:

        “Love the Lou Reed link (an earlier offering of mine was a quote from an ad). My only concern was the music repeat (repetition being an issue with a good many of the verses we’ve offered). That, and I wish it didn’t include ‘plum’ since the next verse already involves fruit trees.”

        Good point about “fruit tree” and “music” repetitions. Hmm!

      29. Chris says:

        “Love the Lou Reed link (an earlier offering of mine was a quote from an ad). My only concern was the music repeat (repetition being an issue with a good many of the verses we’ve offered). That, and I wish it didn’t include ‘plum’ since the next verse already involves fruit trees.”

        Good point about “fruit tree” repetition. Hmm!

      30. blossoms tossed
        on the stage as actor
        takes a curtain call

        Might be too close to Shakespeare verse.

      31. “Thank you for pointing out the difference between ORDINARY LANGUAGE and VERBAL ART to us clueless types , Karen Cesar. We probably have poor eyesight or poor reading skills, too, so you might’ve had kind motives in using ALL CAPS, though there will be those simple folk who will consider it to be SHOUTING.” – Loren Ford

        Loren,
        The quote you attribute to me above is part of the section on allusion from The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Since it is impossible to bold text to highlight it in these comment sections, I chose to capitalize the text to draw particular attention to it.

        If you took that as shouting, I apologize.

        Since you have now had the last word on the subject let us get back to writing and enjoying renku, shall we?

        Karen

        * BTW, I made a mistake in my own comments below the quote from The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Jennifer’s verse was for # 15 not # 16. Sorry for my poor proof reading skills.

      32. “In the meantime, Karen Cesar has correctly identified the source as “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed.” – John

        Jennifer herself identified the source as “Walk on the Wild Side” by supplying a link to the song on YouTube in her original post. Anyone who read the thread is aware of that. Why not give credit where credit is due?

        “Both her verse and Jennifer‘s employ the technique of allusion. The reader is expected to infer the source material from what is presented. ” – Karen Cesar

        “Hmmm … usually, we don’t designate direct quoting as ‘allusion’ (though I’m not USA-educated so for all I know, the distinction may be lost in that case) However, direct quoting has been and is used in renku. I’d say John has fixed the problem by rendering the verse in italics now. One could also have a footnote acknowledging Lou Reed’s song as source … & I’d recommend that. Jennifer showed source when she posted the verse; not showing source in final credits seems a form of snobbery.” – Lorin

        “THAT MAY BE THE CASE IN ORDINARY LANGUAGE USAGE. BUT IN VERBAL ART, WE COMMONLY REFER TO DIRECT QUOTES AS ALLUSIONS ALSO.” – Karen Cesar

        Thank you for pointing out the difference between ORDINARY LANGUAGE and VERBAL ART to us clueless types , Karen Cesar. We probably have poor eyesight or poor reading skills, too, so you might’ve had kind motives in using ALL CAPS, though there will be those simple folk who will consider it to be SHOUTING.

        My intention was not to engage in academic discussions or point-scoring, but to suggest that, to the general reader, insufficient distinction between the way the quoted section is displayed and acknowledged could lead to the incorrect conclusion that the verse is plagiarized. To this end, referring to the quote as allusion in a general discussion simply muddies the waters.

        Of course the quote alludes to the full context of the ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ lyrics, which as well as evoking an urban scenario, links with the purported ‘wealthy Nigerian prince’ via drag queens & trannies: also people whose real identity isn’t what it appears to be. (We have that scene here in Melbourne, too ,ya know.)

        I will add that whilst I’ve seen quoted verses within renku before, such verses were all attributed to the original author, not to the person who suggested the quote. My experience with renku is far from being wide, though so thus may not be typical. Also I can understand in this particular renku that it’s desirable to have the names of the participants rather than the dead, original authors.

        – Lorin

      33. falling blossoms
        and he reaches for
        his inhaler

        P.S. I love the allusion to Lou Reed’s song that Jennifer Sutherland submitted for verse 16.

      34. but this year
        the old cherry
        in bloom again

        Love the Lou Reed link (an earlier offering of mine was a quote from an ad). My only concern was the music repeat (repetition being an issue with a good many of the verses we’ve offered). That, and I wish it didn’t include ‘plum’ since the next verse already involves fruit trees.

      35. “Folks
        I’m glad you are–seemingly– enjoying what you’re doing, but really, using Reed’s words as a submission and then to have it selected as a legitimate piece of the game is outrageous. If there is precedent relative to renku in Japanese society, I decline to exploit it…pajamas

        P.S. Embarrassing is it not, those of us who think we are channeling Japan itself…” — Old Pajamas

        ***

        Old Pajamas,

        No one is “channeling Japan itself …”

        Are you aware that Lou Reed rewrote Poe’s The Raven ?

        “The trouble with Poe was that his language is so serious — the vocabulary — the words he’s using — some of those words were arcane when he used them — and then, architectural terms from Greece. And I, dutifully sitting there with the dictionary, looking all of this up and thinking, certainly, in a song or on the album I don’t want to have [things like this] in there — you can just as easily use a word someone knows what it means. … For him, great. For me, no. I spent most of the time translating them into English before even starting, but I couldn’t wait to rewrite “The Raven,” the poem. Mine is like a contemporary version of it, and we have a graphic novel out … illustrated by this great Italian artist, Lorenzo Mattotti. … Making things that are beautiful is real fun.” – Lou Reed

        http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/12/02/the-raven-lou-reed-lorenzo-mattotti/

        Reed’s version of The Raven from youtube :

        http://youtu.be/7t6Wc8ww64I

        Outrageous? An “exploitation” of Poe? Nope … takes my breath away….

        And then there is Pete Seeger whose song Turn,Turn,Turn comes straight out of Ecclesiastes …. etc etc etc

        Just sayin’

        Karen

        PS In the spirit of fun:

        Green Eggs and Ham –
        with postmodern angst
        bored I am

        Karen Cesar, Modern Haiku, summer 2013

      36. the violent wind threw
        the blossoms onto the street
        and the child was conceived

      37. Old Pajamas, whoever you are!

        If I am honest, then I tend to agree with you. However, I don’t fully understand the ins and outs of renku. There’s nothing in the two-liner that comes from the writer? So this does not sit well with me. I don’t know how else to put it.

      38. Folks
        I’m glad you are–seemingly– enjoying what you’re doing, but really, using Reed’s words as a submission and then to have it selected as a legitimate piece of the game is outrageous. If there is precedent relative to renku in Japanese society, I decline to exploit it…pajamas

        P.S. Embarrassing is it not, those of us who think we are channeling Japan itself…

      39. all the more i wish to see
        in those blossoms at dawn
        the face of god

        – Matsuo Basho

        (Tr. Makoto Ueda.
        Dr. Gabi Greve, WKD.)

        (the link to the Lou Reed “verse” is uncanny)

        Devora

        * WONDERFUL comment, Devora. Thank you.

      40. Sorry, the system didn’t pick up my final quotation mark.

        “mmm … usually, we don’t designate direct quoting as ‘allusion’ (though I’m not USA-educated so for all I know, the distinction may be lost in that case)” – Loren Ford

        “In my view, Jennifer’s was an inspired selection, and works very well here. There is an art to quoting in context and that art should never be underestimated. But let’s call quoting ‘quoting’, and not by any other name in this slippery world of 21st century literature.” – Loren Ford

        From The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics, Cambridge University Press, (emphasis using caps mine):

        Allusion

        ” As already noted, allusion is based on an ordinary language concept and as such it is relatively theory-neutral. A concise, fairly standard definition is offered by Frye et al. (1985:15):
        ‘ a meaningful reference, direct or indirect.’ THAT MAY BE THE CASE IN ORDINARY LANGUAGE USAGE. BUT IN VERBAL ART, WE COMMONLY REFER TO DIRECT QUOTES AS ALLUSIONS ALSO. For example, we are likely to take Stephen Dedalus’s quotation of ‘Who Goes with Fergus ?’ as an allusion by Joyce even though there is a direct quote… ”

        To be more exact (or pedantic), Jennifer IMNSHO used a direct QUOTE to REFER to the Lou Reed song to INVOKE the “strong urban image” that John requested for verse 16. Hence … ALLUSION.

        I agree that it was an Inspired selection.

        Back to Renku

        Cheers,
        Karen

      41. “mmm … usually, we don’t designate direct quoting as ‘allusion’ (though I’m not USA-educated so for all I know, the distinction may be lost in that case)” – Loren Ford

        “In my view, Jennifer’s was an inspired selection, and works very well here. There is an art to quoting in context and that art should never be underestimated. But let’s call quoting ‘quoting’, and not by any other name in this slippery world of 21st century literature.” – Loren Ford

        From The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics, Cambridge University Press, (emphasis using caps mine):

        Allusion

        ” As already noted, allusion is based on an ordinary language concept and as such it is relatively theory-neutral. A concise, fairly standard definition is offered by Frye et al. (1985:15):
        ‘ a meaningful reference, direct or indirect.’ THAT MAY BE THE CASE IN ORDINARY LANGUAGE USAGE. BUT IN VERBAL ART, WE COMMONLY REFER TO DIRECT QUOTES AS ALLUSIONS ALSO. For example, we are likely to take Stephen Dedalus’s quotation of ‘Who Goes with Fergus ?’ as an allusion by Joyce even though there is a direct quote…
        To be more exact (or pedantic), Jennifer IMNSHO used a direct QUOTE to REFER to the Lou Reed song to INVOKE the “strong urban image” that John requested for verse 16. Hence … ALLUSION.

        I agree that it was an Inspired selection.

        Back to Renku

        Cheers,
        Karen

      42. all the more i wish to see
        in those blossoms at dawn
        the face of god

        – Matsuo Basho

        (Tr. Makoto Ueda.
        Dr. Gabi Greve, WKD.)

        (the link to the Lou Reed “verse” is uncanny)

        Devora

      43. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        Lou Reed

        bees swarm
        from the blossom
        to the hive

      44. Jennifer (and eveyone): I have removed the post referred to. It does seem to be spam and, in any case, does not relate to our renku.

        Thank you for your verse, Jennifer, invoking the great Lou Reed! It is you who have reminded us of him at this moment in the renku and I thank you, and credit you, for that.

        In linking to Jennifer’s verse, one approach might be to think of it as a kind of memorial (Lou Reed passed away on October 27 of last year). The transition to blossom(s) seems full of potential.

      45. Hi John & all,
        I think we have some spam in the post below. Just in case I recommend not clicking on the posters name. Not sure if this can be removed ?

        One possible suggestion is to attribute the verse directly to Lou Reed within the renku. Not sure if that is appropriate? I certainly don’t mind as I posted the verse partly because because it seemed to fit so well and also as a tribute to one of the most influential songwriters/storytellers of our century. I think he would have made a brilliant renku poet too!

      46. There will be a footnote in the final version of the renku to correctly reflect the source of the sampled (or quoted) material but I’m going to leave it off for now and save any such notes for the completed text. In the meantime, Karen Cesar has correctly identified the source as “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed.

      47. Hi John,

        The italics show up clearly on Jennifer’s link (verse), and it’s great to have the odd quote in renku, as it is in other poetry whether haiku or non-haikai related poetry, or other literature.

        I always use blossom as plural as blossoms sometimes looks odd to me, like saying two fishes, or even half a dozen sheeps. 😉

        Enjoyable thread of commentary. As this isn’t ‘live’ and in person, good banter is really helpful. 🙂

        warm regards to everyone,

        Alan

      48. “Both her verse and Jennifer ‘s employ the technique of allusion. The reader is expected to infer the source material from what is presented. ” – Karen Cesar

        Hmmm … usually, we don’t designate direct quoting as ‘allusion’ (though I’m not USA-educated so for all I know, the distinction may be lost in that case) However, direct quoting has been and is used in renku. I’d say John has fixed the problem by rendering the verse in italics now. One could also have a footnote acknowledging Lou Reed’s song as source … & I’d recommend that. Jennifer showed source when she posted the verse; not showing source in final credits seems a form of snobbery.

        In my view, Jennifer’s was an inspired selection, and works very well here. There is an art to quoting in context and that art should never be underestimated. But let’s call quoting ‘quoting’, and not by any other name in this slippery world of 21st century literature.

        “I didn’t know about that variation on the plural form of “blossom.” (Or is the version with which I am familiar [“blossoms”] the “variation?”) ” – John

        It’s not a variation on the plural, John, but ‘blossom’ can be an uncountable or collective noun (like ‘money’ etc) in English. Both Canadian and USA Englishes don’t seem to have this usage, as I discovered when I was first sending haiku out to journals for consideration. 🙂

        If we say the bough was weighed down with blossom, we don’t mean one humungous blossom! For it be be one blossom weighing down that branch, we’d need to use an article. Plural is ‘blossoms’, just as it is in Canadian & USA Englishes: ” There are fewer blossoms on the old orange tree this year” = plural usage. ” The bride traditionally wore orange blossom on her veil.” = collective or uncountable. “We’re going to the orchard to view the cherry blossom.” = collective/ uncountable.

        – Lorin

      49. Not sure how well it shows in this font but the verse is now displayed in italics.

        Marion: I didn’t know about that variation on the plural form of “blossom.” (Or is the version with which I am familiar [“blossoms”] the “variation?”) Thanks for the heads-up.

      50. Devora,

        Marion’s verse deliberately alludes to Pinnochio.

        Both her verse and Jennifer ‘s employ the technique of allusion. The reader is expected to infer the source material from what is presented.

        I agree that Jennifer’s verse should be italicized because it would signal those of us unfamiliar with Lou Reed and the song here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/walk-on-the-wild-side-lyrics-lou-reed.html that her verse it is a direct quote.

        There are other songs from the period I would expect most people of a given age to recognize. This one I think would be recalled by a smaller audience, but then, I’ve never been much of a music person.

        Pinocchio could be considered general knowledge, Lou Reed not so much.

        What makes Jennifer’s verse unique is context, the way it links with the previous verse. The poetry in a Renku is formed between the verses ….

        Paul MacNeil’s verse:

        I stumble
        trying to reply
        “I plight thee my troth.”

        –Paul MacNeil

        uses a line from the wedding vows to show a wedding is taking place. You didn’t think Paul wrote “I plight thee my troth,” did you?

        I consider ALL of these verses to be original. Some in their wording, others in how someone else’s wording is used within a given context. Plagiarism is only an issue when someone represents another’s work as their own. This is NOT the case here.

        ****
        “Allusion is a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance from an external context.[1] It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection …”

        1″A covert, implied or indirect reference” (OED); Carmela Perri explored the extent to which an allusion may be overt, in “On alluding” Poetics 7 (1978), and M. H. Abrams defined allusion as “a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage”. (Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms 1971, s.v. “Allusion”).

        “Martin Luther King, Jr., alluded to the Gettysburg Address in starting his “I Have a Dream” speech by saying ‘Five score years ago…”; his hearers were immediately reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s “Four score and seven years ago”, which opened the Gettysburg Address. King’s allusion effectively called up parallels in two historic moments without overwhelming his speech with details. ” ( example from wiki article)

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion

      51. Alice,

        I am glad you talked about quoting someone else’s work.

        While John said that [he knows] “of no rule against quoting a known source in renku,” it also means that this is the second verse chosen that is not entirely an original,* which, imho, rather weakens the renku, and devalues the hard work of the other poets’ creative efforts. Quoting another’s work (especially without attribution) seems much easier. Had I known it [is] “done many times,” I would have saved myself the many, many drafts I struggled over. Oh, and it now makes me more appreciative and admiring of the originals that have been submitted.

        * he makes a wish
        to become real
        (Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy.)

      52. We use ‘blossom’ for the plural noun here, but would it be ‘blossoms’ outside of the UK and Ireland?

        looking for blossoms
        and a place
        to dream

      53. accordion music playing wildly
        as young men drink beer
        intoxicated by blossom’s fragrance

      54. Thanks John!
        I never knew that. Seems strange to me . . . we’re always so worried here about plagiarism. Should it be italicized?

      55. spring wakening-
        a peach of a girl with
        another flower in hair

        Vasile Moldovan

      56. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets
        Jennifer Sutherland

        Woman’s Day-
        blossoms for mother-in-low
        buds for wife
        Vasile Moldovan

      57. Alice – I’m in Penn Station at the moment, on my way to a lunch meeting so will be brief in this reply. I know of no rule against quoting a known source in renku. Have seen it done many times. We do have music and story but not other striking elements of the verse. In my opinion, more important concerns eliminated other strong contenders. Articles do not exist in the Japanese language and there are no rules about their use though we do try to keep them from becoming repetitious in English.

      58. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets . . .
        -Jennifer Sutherland

        flowering bonsai
        in the dentist’s office
        minutes pass like hours

      59. John,

        Can you explain why something verbatim can be used here? This is straight from the song . . .
        Besides that, we already have song and story. Looking forward to learning more.
        Thanks for the rule about numbers. Does that go for “a” meaning one after a number is used?

      60. sugar plum fairy came
        and hit the streets…

        –Jennifer Sutherland

        strangers smile
        and nod beneath the cherry’s
        short-lived bloom

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