Hello, everyone. We will be focusing on tan-renga for the remainder of the year, with a couple of breaks while I am traveling. While I’m not certain how deeply rooted in its history this may be, I’m going to urge you to think of tan-renga in two ways. One way is to think of it as the shortest of all renga/renku forms. This would encourage variety in the linking styles and perhaps some great leaps. The other way is to think of it as collaborative waka/tanka, which might support closer linking, bordering upon narrative.
We got off to a good start this week, with sixty-six opening verse offers, from seventeen poets.
I don’t have any preconceived thought of how to organize my comments from week to week. My first thought was to choose one example from each of you who made offers but that borders on chaotic and would only be more so if we have additional participants in the coming weeks.
What I have settled upon for this week is to simply present the opening verses that I promised to select, with some comments on linking strategies that I associate with each of them. Keep in mind that these comments are only intended to start a thinking process. Don’t hesitate to take your capping verses somewhere else. I like surprises.
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds
It seems to me that this verse could support either a renga/renku or a waka/tanka style of linking. Bear in mind that, in renku terms, “dragonfly” establishes this as an “all autumn” verse. So, if you are taking a renga/renku approach, I would suggest that your capping verse should either be autumn or non-seasonal. If you are taking a waka/tanka approach, you can think of the dragonfly as someone whose “weaving” indicates the search for a mate.
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone
To me, this offers a better chance for waka/tanka style linkage. It’s an autumn verse, according to its kigo content (scarecrow) but it does not seem to me to have a strongly autumnal feeling. Instead, it seems to present the scarecrow as a certain sort of character, perhaps wanting to impress someone.
a murder of crows
circles the steeple
This one strikes me as offering more renga/renku opportunities. But it’s complex. Crow is not, in itself, a kigo though it is an ingredient in certain new year and winter kigo. Where I live, however, the congregation of crows in large groups is a late autumn phenomenon. So, it would be well if the capping verse contained a strong kigo, anchoring the entire piece in one season or another.
I know, I said I would choose three verses. I want to throw this one in, too. It offers a different kind of linking challenge. The alliterative use of “s” sounds is so prominent that it must be dealt with in the capping verse; probably by alliteration using a different sound. But who knows.
Please offer a two line capping verse for any of these four opening verses. You can make up to five capping offers, on any combination of the openers.
You may offer a cap for your own verse if it is one of the above four but bear in mind that it will not be selected for the archive since collaboration is the soul of this work.
Present the opening verse along with your capping offer.
Enter your offers in the comments section, below, before midnight (Eastern US time) on Monday, September 26. On Thursday, September 29, I will select the capping verses for each of the four openers (which will be archived), perhaps making comments about some of the other offers, and present instructions for beginning another round of tan-renga in the following week.
Thank you, all,
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