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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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