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The Renku Sessions: Pilgrims' Stride 33

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.

There were ninety-two offers, from twenty poets this time. Thank you, thank you, thank you times twenty. I love you all. This has been such a great experience.

I have been hoping that we might possibly have a kasen renku with thirty-six authors. This is still possible, though I wondered this time, since there were only a couple of verses submitted by poets yet to be included in the mix. They were enough,however, and so we go on with this hope. Please consider encouraging poets that you may know to participate in writing the final three verses!

In the meantime, I am deeply grateful to everyone for continuing to play and for offering such creative and stimulating verses. Here is a very small sample of those:

on the horse
with the clever name

    –Maureen Virchau

sometimes people
tell me they lived
in our home

    –Ellen Grace Olinger

drying the dog
with my brother’s
squirrel hoodie

    –Peg Duthie

the faux pas
with a gentle hug

    –Betty Shropshire

silk stockings
dry best
in the shade

    –Jennifer Sutherland

the weather man
points the way
with a laser

    –Lorin Ford

all the choices
boiling down to just one
and then this one

    –Alan Summers

looking forward
to disproving
today’s horoscope

    –Marion Clarke

whether Vermeer
did or didn’t
use a mirror

    –Christopher Patchel

Our thirty-third verse comes from Marilyn Potter. We do have references to computers/the internet but the stronger image here deals with architectural style. I especially appreciate the clean, logical line breaks in this verse.

Here is the verse you must link to:

a gothic revival
with a single click

    –Marilyn Potter

The next link, the thirty-fourth, is the first in a final sequence of three spring verses that will conclude our renku. It should not feature any plant images since the next verse must have a spring blossom image. Like all verses of the closing section (kyu), it should feature a brisk, optimistic, and somewhat formal tone. Here are the requirements for verse thirty-three:

  • Spring image (but not a plant or blossom)
  • Written in two lines, without a cut
  • Linking with the thirty-third verse, and only the thirty-third verse
  • Shifting widely to a new topic and setting

Add your suggested two-line link below, in the Comments box. You have until midnight EST, Tuesday, October 28, 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, October 30 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

        –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

      a milky nimbus
      at dusk
      beneath the cherry tree

        –Scott Mason

      pulling in spring clouds
      with a telephoto lens

        –Dru Philippou

      plain truth
      of a skylark’s

        –Stella Pierides

      our yoga instructor
      tells us to breathe

        –Priscilla Van Valkenburgh

      smoldering dung cakes
      burning in the blackened pit
      flavors the curry

        –Betty Shropshire

      the family’s grudge
      celebrates a century


      first snowfall
      covering little by little
      all the dirt

        –Vasile Moldovan

      scraping the ice rink
      of blood, sweat and tears

        –Carole MacRury

      the sting
      of a paper cut
      on her tongue

        –Terri French

      used books signed
      for someone special

        –Ellen Grace Olinger

      a large voddy tonny
      for the woman who may be
      his next wife

        –Sandra Simpson

      stirring the crowd
      with the slur of a slur

        –Maureen Virchau

      continents join
      under this moon
      the bones of my head

        –Patrick Sweeney

      the scarecrow reads
      renku to the rabbits

        –joel irusta

      pickled grapes and walnuts
      swaddled in silk
      in my messenger bag

        –Peg Duthie

      no more wet newspapers
      since the online version

        –Carmen Sterba

      a gothic revival
      with a single click

        –Marilyn Potter

      This Post Has 109 Comments

      1. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        –Marilyn Potter

        plaintive meows
        from behind the brick wall

      2. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        –Marilyn Potter

        sticking pins
        in the voodoo doll

      3. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        -Marilyn Potter

        a black cat sits
        upon my knee

      4. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        -Marilyn Potter

        Tantalus gets a taste

      5. Let’s see. Can’t use plants, birds, insects, mist, haze (too close to fog?), warm, melt, spring . . .

        an hour more daylight
        for sitting on a park bench

      6. hit the submit key too quickly and my previous verse has three lines … supposed to be:

        methodically herb gathering
        with the wildcrafter

      7. Previously posted:

        the first tick-tock
        of the museum’s clock

        Edited to include season word:

        the first tick-tock
        of the kite museum’s clock

      8. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        –Marilyn Potter

        at the flooded river
        a fireman harassed by police

        –Alan Summers

        n.b. true story, the firemen reuniting mothers with their children and the police looking confused, and not liking the much needed help. Shame there seems to be a traditional rivalry between the two services. I was going to be a Minder for one fireman who was sure he was going to be arrested for doing his job. Very weird time.

      9. a gothic revival
        with a single click

        -Marilyn Potter

        the great undertaking

      10. Withdrawn due to lack of season word:

        Dali’s Lobster Phone


        her unapologetic preference
        for Post-Impressionism

      Comments are closed.

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