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The Renku Sessions: Pilgrims' Stride 8

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-four poets offered eighty-three love verses! There were so many creative approaches to the challenge of our first love verse that I can’t do them all justice here. As a small sample, I’ll mention that I was taken by Jennifer Sutherland’s use of an emoticon. Let’s try that again later. Also, Jennifer’s idea of “invisible ink” was promising and her “Mr. Darcy / Mr. Bean” got a literal laugh out loud from me. I also enjoyed Christopher Patchel’s speed dating verses. Other temptations included verses by Christopher Herold and Aalix Roake (bride and bride / groom and groom). I think that a version of Karen Cesar’s “velvet couch” would have been a contender had she not been the author of the leap-over verse.

Our eighth verse comes from Norman Darlington. It registers unambiguously as a love verse and, dealing with youth, it renders us great assistance in making the next love verse progressive in time.

Here is the verse you must link to:

the atmosphere
thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

The next verse, the ninth, is our second love verse of the renku. Everything I said about love verses in my last post continues to apply. In addition, this verse should represent a later phase of a love relationship–easily done here since verse eight deals with a strong initial attraction among young people. While your verse will reflect a later phase of love, you are not creating a narrative and will need to take care to also shift with your images. Here are the formal requirements for verse nine:

  • Non-seasonal (avoids any topics assigned to a specific season in our list of season words)
  • Written in three lines, without a cut
  • Linking with the eighth verse, and only the eighth verse–but not as the direct continuation of a “story”
  • Shifting widely to a new topic and setting relating to love between adult people

Add your suggested three-line link below, in the Comments box. You have until midnight EST, Tuesday, April 29, 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 1 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 shrines–
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

a dragonfly hovers
over the swaying reeds

    –Karen Cesar

slight hum
of a drone
in fog

    –Alice Frampton

the atmosphere
thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

This Post Has 104 Comments

  1. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    daybreak,
    the Djinn in a bottle
    vanished with the sultry night

  2. in Amsterdam
    they go to a porn film
    just for the craic

    In Ireland, if something is done ‘just for the craic’ (pronounced ‘crack’) it means for no particular reason other than for a laugh or a bit of fun

  3. the atmosphere
    thick with pheromones

    in the birthing pool
    they hold hands
    and wait

  4. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    the next morning
    her second garter
    missing in action

  5. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    back at his penthouse
    he finds her haute couture ball gown’s zipper
    missing

  6. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    the aahs
    when he says “you may
    kiss the bride”

    – lulu becker

  7. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    quick!
    some one call
    the fire brigade!

  8. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    a glass of Moët
    as the ink dries
    on her divorce paper

  9. revisions (sorry for the clutter)

    Waking at night . . .
    still comforted
    by his quiet breath

    OR

    More champagne
    their wedding night timidity
    dissolves

  10. after twenty years
    the set of monogrammed towels
    breaks up

    (wow, I’m Debbie Downer today! Seriously, I have a good relationship!)

  11. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    – Norman Darlington

    getting a buzz on
    he blows smoke through
    her lips

  12. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    – Norman Darlington

    more sighs
    less moans, their lovemaking
    a memory

  13. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    -Norman Darlington

    dawn lit
    as our tea steeps
    the ruby red grapefruit is gleaming

    -Patrick Sweeney

  14. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    Waking at night
    she is still comforted
    by his quiet breath

  15. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    in the crystal ballroom
    a couple swing
    from the chandelier

  16. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    my resolve undone
    by the lure of that brogue
    and his Irish stew

    Lorin Ford

  17. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    who could resist
    the lure of that brogue
    and his Irish stew?

    Lorin Ford

  18. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    who could resist
    the warmth of that brogue
    and his Irish stew?

    – Lorin

  19. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    he wins her with
    that irresistible brogue
    and Irish stew

    – Lorin

  20. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    –Alice Frampton
    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    quick to blame
    one another for a failure
    to conceive
    – Karen Cesar

  21. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    mesmerized by
    the fast fingers of
    the pin ball wizard

    -Karen Cesar

  22. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    -Norman Darlington

    he squeezes my hand
    a little tighter
    in the birthing room
    -Alice Frampton

  23. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    arriba arriba!
    grandpa tries
    some spanish fly

  24. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    drowning in that kiss
    as the waves keep on coming,
    keep on coming

    – Lorin

  25. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    eternity’s kiss
    as the waves keep on coming
    keep on coming

    – Lorin

  26. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    a kiss on the beach
    as the waves keep on coming
    keep on coming

    – Lorin

  27. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    in the reel world
    of cinema, our love
    lives forever
    – Karen Cesar

  28. one for fun (or maybe not) 😉

    slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    second thoughts
    as he gets prepped
    for vasectomy

  29. Yes, I am confused three lines, not two … Oy vey!

    five months along
    my ankles just beginning
    to swell

    sheesh 🙂

  30. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    five months along
    my ankles begin to swell
    – Karen Cesar

    * oops 2 lines, not three soooo … shorten and reformat

  31. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    five months along
    my ankles just beginning
    to swell

    – Karen Cesar

  32. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    harmonising scents
    of bergamot and musk on
    on their anniversary

    -Dru Philippou

  33. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    a lithograph marriage
    certificate portrays a
    couple on a lake

    -Dru Philippou

    Sorry, folks, I’m on a roll here.

  34. Just a minor correction to my ku offer:
    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    steaming off the stamps
    from his old love letters
    the room’s warm again
    -Cristian Mocanu

  35. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    circa 1940’s picture
    of my mother’s
    wedding day

    -Dru Philippou

  36. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    sepia photograph
    of a wedding couple reduced
    at a yard sale

    -Dru Philippou

  37. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    adding texture
    to a tintype wedding image
    I find at the yard sale

    -Dru Philippou

  38. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    sepia photograph
    of a wedding couple
    at the garage sale

    -Dru Philippou

  39. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    Apologies – corrected version

    sepia photo album
    of a couple over
    the years

    -Dru Philippou

  40. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    lighted candles
    wind up the staircase
    on their anniversary

    -Dru Philippou

  41. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    on their anniversary
    candles were lit up
    the circular staircase

    -Dru Philippou

  42. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    at the yard sale
    I find a sepia photograph
    of a wedding couple

    -Dru Philippou

  43. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    she brings out
    the photo album

    sepia photo album
    of a couple over
    the years

    – Dru Philippou

  44. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    the room is filled
    with gold lighting on
    their anniversary

  45. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    the room filled
    with gold lighting on
    their anniversary

    -Dru Philippou

  46. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    fragrant candles
    mark each year of
    their anniversary

    -Dru Philippou

  47. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    harmonising scents
    of bergamot and musk on
    their diamond anniversary

    -Dru Philippou

  48. Hello everyone, I’m glad to post here for the first time.Here’s my offer for ku#9:

    9.
    steaming off the stamps
    from his old love letters
    the room’s hot again

    Cristian Mocanu

  49. Thank you Dafne! I am a complete novice to renku too and not sure whether what I have been submitting so far is ok or so off the mark! It looks so effortless when you read it but fitting in the exact verse must be a hard decision for John. The one that I participated on Facebook is just fitting in any three lines followed by two lines, etc. and I thought that was all to it! I’ve learned so much during these past two weeks I’ve been here and will stick around to learn more.

    Asni

  50. I was driving most of yesterday and will be driving again for much of today. Just catching up a bit, I am impressed that after just the first day there are so many good offers for verse nine. My process is to write out each verse in a separate document and to mark those that I consider potential finalists in red, so that I can work with just those in making a final selection. Ten people have made offers, so far. I have “red” verses from eight of them!

  51. please sing my verse if reading aloud
    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    ♩♬ a love song
    dedication
    on late night radio ♬ ♪

  52. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    ♩♬ a love song
    dedication
    on late night radio ♬ ♪

  53. #8

    the atmosphere

    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    #9
    I stumble
    trying to reply
    “I plight thee my troth.”

    – Paul MacNeil

  54. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    in the darkest
    part of the cave
    reaching for his hand
    – Sandra Simpson

  55. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    so delicious!
    bathing together
    by candlelight

    – Sandra Simpson

  56. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    with both arms now
    she guides her sweetheart
    across the threshold

  57. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    –Norman Darlington

    with both arms now
    he guides his sweetheart
    across the threshold

  58. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    – Norman Darlington

    her patience
    with all his affairs
    wearing thin

    – Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

    —-

    Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I have added my verse as a possibility for the ninth verse.

  59. Too bad we can’t edit:

    slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    together so much
    our menstrual cycles
    synchronize
    – Karen Cesar

  60. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog
    –Alice Frampton

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones
    –Norman Darlington

    together so much
    our menstrual cycles
    synchronize
    – Karen Cesar

    * too bad we can’t edit

  61. the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    -Norman Darlington

    while he gets coffee
    she finds some undies
    in the glove box

    -Alice Frampton

  62. slight hum
    of a drone
    in fog

    the atmosphere
    thick with teenage pheromones

    together so long
    our menstrual cycles
    synchronize

  63. A short but encouraging note to the less experienced renku participants.

    Don’t be dismayed if your offer has not been chosen, or be deterred from submitting one. The verses that have been chosen or almost-chosen were written by very experienced and well-known haikuists. A simple Google search for each name is confirmation of their years of involvement in this genre. For this group, John’s renku is a competition among peers.

    That is not a bad thing, of course, because those of us who are learners can benefit greatly, not only from the verses that a chosen but inspired, perhaps, to learn more about the complexities and subtleties (and there are many) of renku.

    John Stevenson promised a challenge, an education, and most of all, fun. So far it has been all three. For the novices, it is the fun aspect – just submitting something – that should sustain your interest. It has mine.

    dafne

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