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:
snowshoes piled high
outside the sauna Sally Biggar
an antiphonal greeting
of one wolf to the others Mary Kendall
the jury still out
vs grey Laurie Greer
a little half-
and-half in my tea M. R. Defibaugh
moons are the best
listeners Dan Campbell
at the autumn gates
who can hear me now Wendy C. Bialek
an opened sesame
from India Betty Shropshire
and as if by magic
they fall in love Marion Clarke
like charmed quarks
thrives on give and take Clysta Seney
when skillfully thrown returns Kanjini Devi
the seniors’ tour group
by an emu Judt Shrode
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
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 @ earthlink.net” (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.