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The Renku Sessions: Rasika Renku, Week 2

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Sixth Renku Session.

I’ll be your sabaki for this renku. Thanks to Jim Kacian and John Stevenson for giving me this opportunity. I’ve learned the art of renku from Norman Darlington, Moira Richards, John Carley and Eiko Yachimoto. I’ve been writing renku from 2006 and I’ve been a sabaki of many renku trips and was the guest renku editor at A Hundred Gourds 5:2.

 

Hi everyone, it’s Thursday and I’m back.

Almost 70 candidates from 44 renkujin (renku poets) – a staggering number of hokku offers to choose from– for just one position. I like many and have chosen a few which slipped easily into my special list of favourites for this position.

 

measuring
the lake’s deepness…
moonsong

– Brendon Kent

I like this verse a lot for its simplicity and depth, but still feel as a hokku it could take on more.

 

evening breeze
the path the moon makes
across the lake

– Polona Oblak

Good one with a crystal-clear image.

 

hunters moon–
in the stretch of the tide
our parting steps

– Srinivasa Rao Sambangi

This offer struck me on my very first reading and stayed in my mind. But a huge ‘no, no’ in renku is to look back – ‘back lash.’ Look at the schema (at the bottom of this post) – with the love verses coming soon below, I couldn’t choose this as a hokku, for it does have traces of a love verse.

 

moon glimpses —
death seems not so far
out of reach

– Hansha Teki

Hokku can talk of death and other serious things we face in life – for what is a renku, if not a life’s tale and experiences – but I felt that a ‘rasika’ is too short a renku trip to begin on such a serious note.

 

a full moon
spreading like white gold
over the Pacific

– Giri Ramanathan

I can see this, especially because when I visited the US in 2015, I was taken to view the Pacific Ocean from a hilltop. What a magnificent view, and I can easily imagine the moon spreading like white gold … But I couldn’t choose this verse, for a hokku is all about the cut (the kire) that juxtaposes two images and this verse reads like a single sentence.

 

wishing well
her first one lands
on the moon

– Marion Clarke

I enjoyed this hokku a lot for the play of imagination and one can’t easily dismiss this as a reflection ku, which has been done to death in haiku.

It’s definitely better to specify than to have the opening verse (hokku) begin with ‘her’ — which in a way might leave our readers wondering who this person is … ?!?

Ultimately the hokku for this rasika trip is:

 

tonight’s moon –
eight champagne glasses
catch the shine

                 – Lorin Ford

 

The reasons why I chose ‘tonight’s moon’: The number 8 here is simply delightful . . . 8 verses contributed by 8 renkujin; and rasika is a renku and renku is all about poets coming together; and so this hokku augers well. It’s about celebrations and I think it’s gotten off to a brilliant start!

Thanks to Lorin for this beauty.

Rasika Renku
1. long – hokku | autumn moon*
2. short – wakiku | non-seasonal*

Open to everyone, except Lorin Ford :)) In renku we don’t link to our own verse and also since Rasika is just an 8-verse renku, I don’t see one poet getting more than 1 verse in!

To begin with, there are two ways of going about the verses in renku.
1. By ‘degachi’ – competing for each verse.
2. By ‘hizaokuri’ – by turns.
3. In my experience it often works best to make some combination of the two.
4. In Rasika – we’ll go mainly by ‘degachi’ since it is a very short renku and if I go by the hokku offers, we might have many poets offering for each slot!

For those who are new to renku: the hokku is the ONLY verse in a renku that requires a cut – something we do when writing a haiku, which juxtaposes two images to create a whole. With rare exceptions, all of the subsequent verses should read straight through, sentence-like (If in doubt, please do read the finished renku in THF’s archives – it might help you to understand a sentence-like verse.)

As already mentioned, the first verse, known as a hokku is the only stand-alone verse in the entire renku – all other verses depend and lean on the previous one like a pack of standing cards, for their support.

Now about the wakiku and its role in renku: While each verse in a renku is linked in some way with its preceding verse, the relationship between the first two verses is especially close, with the second verse closely supporting, or buttressing the hokku, and usually remaining in the same scene. However, rather than reading on as a simple continuation of the narrative in the hokku, the wakiku will switch viewpoint, focus and mood. The hokku and wakiku together will set the strength, the ambience and the pace of the renku.

Progression and diversity are the essence of renku, and we should try to include a wide variety of things in nature and the world of humans.

Please submit:
A two-line verse. Move away from autumn and the moon – repeat no words or images already contained in the hokku (first verse). Remember in renku we don’t look back. Around 11 syllables or sound units. A non-seasonal verse.

I would like not more than 3 candidates per poet and please post them by Monday, 16th October.

The selected wakiku will be posted next Thursday morning (Eastern US time) and instructions will be given for submitting the daisan.

Thanks once again for all your lovely offers.
Keenly waiting to read your waki!
Kala Ramesh

 

Rasika renku:

tonight’s moon –
eight champagne glasses
catch the shine

Lorin Ford

 

Rasika Schema:

  1. long – hokku | autumn moon*
  2. short – wakiku | non-seasonal*
  3. long – daisan | winter*
  4. short – non-seasonal
  5. long – end of summer/love (rainy season)
  6. short – non-seasonal/love
  7. long | spring blossom *
  8. ageku | non-seasonal or spring *

The asterisks show the important verses in this renku.

 

 

This Post Has 104 Comments

  1. I think I’m out of time, but the temptation is strong 🙂

    a new pearly cream
    to dampen wrinkles

  2. What a gorgeous beginning, Lorin!! Kala, a truly perfect choice.
    .
    So many excellent offerings, I wasn’t sure I’d join in, but who can resist?
    .
    .
    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    .
    two neutron stars collide
    in a burst of silver and gold
    .
    .
    two neutron stars collide
    in a spray of silver and gold
    .
    .
    happy burbling sounds
    as the children blow bubbles

  3. *
    in velvet silence
    a gaze says everything
    *
    on her place card
    meet my suite midnight
    *
    retiring for a stroll
    among the impressionists

  4. Thanks Lorin, for alerting me for the grammatical error in my first entry. I would request Kala to consider the following revision
    .
    an introvert breaks the ice
    waving the palm

  5. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford

    .
    shouts of joy from the peak
    of a carnival’s big wheel

  6. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .

    the delight we take
    in night-blooming cereus

  7. Such a good start, Kala and Lorin!

    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford

    .

    a palomino’s tossed mane
    silvers the wind

  8. Perhaps not the continuation Kala is looking for, but I couldn’t resist my first thought

    ***

    the smiling bootblack
    snaps his rag

  9. A wonderful hokku selection Kala (thank you for mentioning my offering)…
    Congratulations Lorin, beautiful moon verse!
    *
    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine

    – Lorin Ford
    *
    the chatter of stars
    in campfire smoke

  10. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    Lorin Ford

    ****
    a perfect round dot
    between her eyebrows

  11. as soon as i first read Lorin’s verse i knew it has what it takes for a hokku 🙂
    .

    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    ***
    placing a bid
    at a charity auction

      1. well, any choice you would make within the verse’s requirements would be right 😉
        but i understand why this one and support your decision.

  12. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    **
    closing the chapter
    on limbs of yoga
    **
    stretch of the scar
    on her fullterm belly
    **
    folded chairs lean
    into the morning sun
    **

  13. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    Lorin Ford

    a white silk hat left
    on the hat stand

    1. Giri,
      Thanks a lot for your offers …
      Both your candidates read like two images with a clear *cut*

      Unicorns
      Can truth be stranger than fiction?

      Unicorn is your 1st image
      can truth be stranger than fiction – 2nd image
      >
      Drumbeats
      shadow falls over the horizon

      I see a distinct *cut* in your 2nd image too.

      I know you are very new to renku and to haiku – but ONLY the hokku (first verse) has a *cut* and all the other verses in a renku are sentences – they fall on the previous verse to support them.

      Hope I’ve not confused you further.

  14. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    Lorin Ford

    her son whispers
    the old family secret

  15. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine

    Lorin Ford

    the horn blast
    as the cruise ship departs

    1. tonight’s moon –
      eight champagne glasses
      catch the shine
      (Lorin Ford)
      *
      a horn blast
      as the cruise ship departs
      *
      (Slight revision as I didn’t like ‘the horn’ following ‘the shine’)

  16. A perfect beginning, Lorin! ☺

    crystal blue persuasion
    thrums in my head
    – Betty

    1. I’d say cherries could go either way–they have a season, but we get them all year round now, in season (two now because of S. hemisphere growers) and out. :>

      1. Thanks, David. I ask because I can’t find ‘Cherry’ in the link to seasonal reference provided in last session.

        1. Cherry tree, cherry bud, and blossoms are definitely seasonal … and any reference to the fruit on the tree as well. It’s touchy as David indicates. I’d avoid fresh fruit in a non-season slot as designated by our sabaki — safer. In a renku, in this place, the possibilities are nearly infinite for other topics– a long as they link in some manner.

    2. Beautiful reply from Paul.

      I would just like to add /stress on a point I have detailed in my notes – once more:
      Now about the wakiku and its role in renku: While each verse in a renku is linked in some way with its preceding verse, the relationship between the first two verses is especially close, with the second verse closely supporting, or buttressing the hokku, and usually remaining in the same scene. However, rather than reading on as a simple continuation of the narrative in the hokku, the wakiku will switch viewpoint, focus and mood. The hokku and wakiku together will set the strength, the ambiance and the pace of the renku.

    3. Yes, cherries are a seasonal fruit, Carol. At their best where I am (Victoria, Australia) late spring to early summer (that’s November & December, David.) We also get imported cherries in winter these days, but of course they’re out of season.

      – Lorin

      1. Thanks, Lorin. I’ve been searching for a saijiki for my book shelf, but so far haven’t found what I am looking for. Any suggestions, please.
        Australia has some outstanding scenery. My sister sends many photos, but one thing I
        don’t envy is the high temperatures.

        1. Hi Carol,
          There is (as far as I know) only one print book that could be called an English-language saijiki, and that’s Bill Higginson’s ‘Haiku World’ (1996). Easier for you to get it via the UK online bookseller, The Book Depository:

          https://www.bookdepository.com/Haiku-World/9784770020901

          There are plenty of on-line references, though. Also, just being aware of what happens when in your own region (& checking online if unsure) is helpful. Kigo is a coded reference in Japan, centralised long ago on one Japanese region. (The cherry trees, for instance, do not blossom all at the same time, but like the jacaranda in Australia, blossoms first in the regions closet to the tropic (Cancer in the Northern hemisphere, Capricorn in the Southern) The rest of the world doesn’t have that kind of ‘agreement’.

          Individual haiku books can also help us become familiar with how seasonal references work. John Rowlands (close to where you are, I think) has a book, ‘knots of sand’. Some of his haiku are in Welsh as well as English:

          ei hunan melyn
          ei hunan gwyn
          dant-y-llew

          its yellow self
          its white self
          dandelion

          Dandelions are probably a spring reference world-wide. 🙂

          – Lorin

          1. That is a very helpful reply, Lorin. I see the book is currently unavailable, but below are a few more books I will look into. I’ll do a search see what comes up. Also a little trip to Hay-on-Wye, never know what’s tucked away in a dusty little corner, there.
            I see what you mean about seasonal reference, and the area lived in, something to keep in mind if I ever post work to be considered for publication.

            So glad you posted the info for John Rowlands. I understand a little welsh and read the verse aloud, so beautiful.

            Many thanks for your help.

  17. Kala,
    Thank you for your generous comments on my hokku attempt. It’s a good learning for me.
    Lorin’s entry desrves to be the final selection. Congrats to her.
    ***
    For wakiku
    ***
    a taciturn breaks the ice
    waving the palm
    ***

    1. Thanks, Srinivasa,


      (you might want to check the word taciturn… it’s an adjecyive… perhaps substitute another word?)

      – Lorin

  18. 1.
    I close my eyes
    and inhale her sillage

    2.
    the singer’s voice
    caresses the notes

    3.
    the world a chiaroscuro
    painting

    4.
    shrivelled grins
    of the discarded pumpkins

  19. Cheers to Lorin for the raising of glasses to start this new renku! 🙂
    .
    Great choice, Kala. (Thank you for your kind comments on my offering – I can’t believe I used the unknown “she” again after your advice … good grief, will I ever learn!)
    .
    marion

  20. tonight’s moon-
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the sunshine

    *
    Lorin Ford

    *
    *

    drifting into silence
    soft strains of piano music

  21. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    Lorin Ford
    _____________________________
    a sudden quiet
    flows my way

  22. well done Lorin & Kala
    ***************
    with every toast
    a round of applause
    *****************
    some nightingales kindly
    provide us a song
    ***************
    the pleasure of old friends
    and the joy of new

  23. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    Lorin Ford
    ____________________
    a red dot on the ball
    becomes a line

  24. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine

    Lorin Ford

    she dances alone
    to an unheard song

  25. A lovely surprise this morning! 🙂 Thank you, Kala, I’m most honoured. I look forward to following this Rasika throughout the weeks.

    – Lorin

  26. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford

    choosing the princess cut
    for her diamond ring

  27. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    white linens flutter
    in the crisp ocean breeze

  28. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the glint of crystal
    and a vase of red roses

    1. Michael,
      Thanks …
      ‘red roses’ is a seasonal reference for summer.
      The Waki is a non-seasonal verse.
      :))

  29. tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    her maids of honor
    radiant in baby blue

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