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The Renku Sessions: Rendezvous – Week 19


Hello Everyone,

Here we are gathering for the last time. We have a resounding consensus to call our poem “Rendezvous,” and so it shall be titled. It seems very fitting now as it did when we started—maybe even more so, I think, after all the unexpected world events that have pummeled us. And let me say, I am very grateful for the many positive comments about our journey.

I thank you all for what you have given me; I have learned so much from you—like the hoiho penguins of New Zealand and an Aztec god of discord, Tezcatlipoca. I am grateful beyond measure for the addition of i’jam and piwakakawaka to my lexicon. And how about “god particle” and stellarator. I don’t know how did I lived not knowing about them? And then there’s the history in an expression like “gravy legs.” And the taste of Middle English to savor. So much richness you offered from every corner of the globe; you expanded my horizons, and in doing so, my heart.

Please know I will be looking for your work in haiku journals and on-line. Modern Haiku has just arrived and I was happy to “see” many of you there.

Here is our final renku:




rendezvous —
snowshoes piled high
outside the sauna                              Sally Biggar

an antiphonal greeting
of one wolf to the others                   Mary Kendall

the jury still out
on gray
vs grey                                         Laurie Greer

a little half-
and-half in my tea                            M. R. Defibaugh

scarecrows and
moons are the best
listeners                                         Dan Campbell

at the autumn gates
who can hear me now                         Wendy C. Bialek

an opened sesame
seed packet
from India                                      Betty Shropshire

and as if by magic
they fall in love                                Marion Clarke

like charmed quarks
their relationship
thrives on give and take                       Clysta Seney

a boomerang
when skillfully thrown returns              Kanjini Devi

the seniors’ tour group
by an emu                                      Judt Shrode

“this way
to the performing seals”                   Pauline O’Carolan

another round of
sumer is icumen in
for the solstice moon                     Autumn Noelle Hall

a luna moth
revisits my screen door                     Jonathan Alderfer

by the mosaic
mask of Tezcatlipoca                          Robert Kingston

through haze that balloon girl
on the West Bank wall                            Lorin Ford

the lightness
of being
a cherry blossom                              Carmen Sterba

the lucky velella
catching the true wind                             Alison Woolpert

John will be adding information about what is next for you at THF, but before he does, let me say with hands folded and head bowed, you have my deepest gratitude and my sincere wishes for your health and safety. May we meet again—



WHAT’S NEXT? (a note from John Stevenson)

“Rendezvous” now joins the archive of works created in The Haiku Foundation’s Renku Sessions; the eleventh in a series that began in March 2014. Six years ago, when we began this feature, I was aware that, even in the infancy of English-language renku, we already had multiple schools of thought and styles applicable to this collaborative art. My hope was that these sessions could feature as many approaches as possible, on a generally equal footing. This has primarily involved recruiting session leaders whose work has exemplified a variety of approaches.

To date, I have led four of the eleven sessions. This has not been because I wish to promote my own particular take on renku but, rather, because I have at times had no other choice that allows the feature to continue. We had no sessions during 2019 for this reason – because I could not find a willing leader. I can understand this. It is a big commitment, in terms of both time and creative energy. And there are special challenges to leading a renku session on an open, world-wide platform. This is especially the case if, like me, the potential session leader is most comfortable with live composition, in a room with all poets present. I have done and will do what I can to make this easier for other session leaders. In the first years of The Renku Sessions, we asked the leaders to learn the process of producing their own posts on THF’s website. In recent years, I have taken that on so that the leader has one less time demand.

This is all preview to my open invitation for a leader for our next session. I would like to hear, this week, from those who would be willing to give it a try. I will be happy to answer your questions, to give you a choice of format (and, thus, the length of your commitment), and the same technical assistance I’ve given to other recent session leaders. Please contact me at “ithacan @” (without the spaces) with your thoughts and questions. I will report results of this invitation in a new posting on Thursday, July 2.

And, of course, feel free to use the “comment” function here to “talk among yourselves” about The Renku Sessions and any other experiences of renku that you may wish to share.

Thanks to Patricia and all of you!



P.S. I have learned that at least a half dozen of you have taken up my invitation to write renku together and I’ve seen a completed renku produced since our last THF session. For this I am profoundly grateful.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Dear Patricia and John,
    Greetings. Glad to know that Rendezvous has entered a new Archive sessions; It was throughout a learning
    process with interaction of all those scholarly writes. Many more to
    see in the future.
    with regards

  2. My very best wishes to you, Patricia, for leading us so calmly and ably, and to John. It has been a fascinating experience as always.

    John, I hope you find a new sabaki soon. The year without renku was a bleak one.

    Looking forward to meeting all my fellow poets and renku adventurers soon!


  3. thanks to Patricia and John for making this possible, thanks to poets for making this possible .. hopefully my isp will enable joining you all again next time .. [a few hicks (sigh)] ..
    the final Rendez-vous is a fascinating trip around the world .. a space like this brings us together .. grateful to have found you .. ☺ .. à très bientôt !

  4. Thanks so much to Patricia, John and to everyone who participated. We all learn so much in this forum and conversations are it’s lifeblood. I do hope the Renku continue. New perspectives are always an interesting challenge for poets.

    Everyone, stay safe.

  5. Thank you Patricia, John and all the participants for their insight, creative energy and enthusiasm.
    As always its been fun and inspiring.

  6. Thank you, Patricia, for leading us in this “Rendezvous” and to John for your presence. I’m too new to volunteer to lead the next, but am looking forward to the announcement, hopefully, of another session. Be well, everyone.

    1. Having only discovered THF a month ago I am enjoying the delving into its various components. For the last month Rendezvous has fascinated me with its offerings from all round the world and I hope to join in your next renku session. Like Debbie Scheving, I am too new to renku to contemplate leading, I’m sorry. Well done everyone.

  7. Many thanks Patricia for taking on the task of sabaki for Rendezvous and John for doing all the technical work.
    Of the USA haiku journals, Modern Haiku is, and has been as long as I’ve subscribed, the one that arrives in my letterbox in very good time. I’ve also received the current issue and noted haiku by many who’ve participated in Rendezvous, including both John and Patricia. 🙂
    re: ““why not have another renku where the person who’s verse is chosen, is given the opportunity to be the sabaki, and select the following verse.” – Carol
    “That’s a good thought, Carol. It was fun when we did it before.” – John

    John, I second Carol’s proposal, if you’re willing and able to be available as leader.
    From my own experience, I believe that those renku you’ve guided us through in that way really allows participants to experience being fledgling renku leaders. I really appreciate the role you’ve played as a teacher as well as leader.

    1. Thanks for your support, Lorin.
      Even if it is one or two Junico – twelve verse session, with different sabaki would be nice, keep us going.
      It is a huge commitment, and time is of the essence for everyone with the busy lives we live today.
      I’d have a go myself, but err, we’re busy on the harvest 🙂 🙂
      now there’s a shame, isn’t it 🙂

  8. Dear Patricia and John, our shepherds for renku in the worldwide outbreak of Covid,

    My appreciation for the weeks of preparation, support and deft guidance you both provided during this stressful time, especially for those in hot spots. And also, my thanks to the THF for providing a venue with all the right stuff.

    I anticipate future rendezvous and already have fond memories and valuable learnings from the links offered by each participant in this rendezvous.

    One logistics thought for you John. Perhaps in future renkus a link to “Leave a Reply” could be inserted at the bottom of the instructions, right above where the comments link brings you each week. By the end of each week it took a lot of scrolling to get to the place to enter our verses. This was a prolific group. Or, perhaps I missed the obvious. 😉

  9. Dear Patricia and John, it has been a delight to have participated in this renku session, as it has been in all the others. There’s been up’s and down’s, but this happens, and life goes on 🙂
    Just a suggestion here, John, why not have another renku where the person who’s verse is chosen, given the opportunity to be the sabaki, and select the following verse.
    There are many new poets within the last session, it would be a great opportunity to have the experience of just how difficult it is to have this position, I had that opportunity, and it was in my early years of learning this form, it was stressful, but you were there to guide the novice.
    Thankyou for the opportunity THF, to post verses here, and converse with likeminded people.

    1. “why not have another renku where the person who’s verse is chosen, is given the opportunity to be the sabaki, and select the following verse.”
      That’s a good thought, Carol. It was fun when we did it before.
      It would not accomplish my goal of offering exposure to different “schools” of renku but it would keep the sessions moving ahead. I am still hoping that there will be a volunteer. Doing it that way means, in effect, that I am leading the session because, to make it work without scaring people away, I had to offer to select the next verse if the chosen poet did not feel comfortable making that choice. It only actually happened a couple of times but I had to be ready every week.

      1. It was fun, and an insight to the workings of this form when a person has to get down to the business of ‘choice’ there’s more to it than meets the eye. It certainly reads easy. If I may, refer this to the kimono, it looks so very beautiful and simple on the viewing, but so much more goes on beneath, to make it look perfect.
        I do hope you find another leader for us, this is a fascinating subject.

  10. Dear Patricia and John
    Thank you very much for providing the platform to express ourselves.
    Our renku has been both an enlightening experience and a place of reflection.
    Good luck John with your search for our next Sabaki. I do hope you find one soon.
    Hopefully in time I will be able to fill these shoes.
    Hearing of Patricia’s experiences is certainly going to be a tough act to follow.
    Good health to you both and all my fellow poets.

    Best regards

  11. Thank you John and Patricia. Patricia, I learned a lot from participating and enjoyed reading about why you enjoyed certain verses. Please say hello to the Lone Cypress for me!

  12. Thank you so much, Patricia and John.
    I look forward to the next renku.
    Good health to you both 🙏🏾

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