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The Renku Sessions: Tan-Renga Week 1

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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.

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

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.

 

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

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.

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

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.

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

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.

 

 

THIS WEEK

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,
John

 

 

 

 

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy: https://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct

This Post Has 70 Comments

  1. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer
    .
    a sniffer dog sorts
    through the autumn leaves

  2. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer
    .
    the sniffer dog nosing
    through autumn leaves
    .

  3. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer
    .
    a sniffer dog digging
    through damp autumn leaves
    .

    .

  4. Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    – Tracy Davidson
    *
    cries of one caught
    in the crocodile’s embrace
    – Betty Shropshire

  5. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    rippling
    still water

    ***

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Laurie Greer

    icicles
    weep

    ***

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    loses / confuses
    the argument

    ***

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson

    in memory
    of the day’s mirage

    or

    our eyes
    warm with wine

  6. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    on the prom night
    they meet each other

    ***

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Laurie Greer

    a foreboding sign on
    new year’s eve

    ***

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    the statesman speaks
    as if from his grave

    ***

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson

    sunburnt damsel
    singing a soliloquy

    (or)

    camels conjoin
    on the crimsoned track

  7. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    – Carol Jones
    *
    bombs away
    as the chopper blades drone
    – Betty Shropshire

  8. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    I skip craft class
    to go skydiving

    Kanjini Devi

  9. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone – Dan Campbell
    in the background
    crickets chirp – carol jones

  10. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    ~Carol Jones

    the flight of the bumblebee
    played by flutes and clarinets

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    ~Carol Jones

    at the student mixer
    he meets his first girlfriend

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    ~Dan Campbell

    a sideshow barker entices
    the crowd to enter

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    ~Laurie Greer

    the carillon rings out
    on New Year’s Day

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    ~Tracy Davidson

    against the violet vista
    white-winged wagtails

    Congrats to Tracy, Dan, Dan, and Carol for verses worth capping!

  11. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones
    *
    spared the tears of Orihime
    this Tanabata
    *

    1. can I retract/revise?
      marginally less bad:
      *
      hot spell
      a dragonfly weaves
      between the reeds

      Carol Jones
      *
      launching into the tale
      of Tanabata
      *

  12. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones
    *
    we ride out the storm
    with tales of magic carpets
    *

  13. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds -Carol Jones

    but she has promises to keep,
    and miles to go before she sleeps

  14. Sahara sand
    deepening
    the sunset – Tracy Davidson

    “wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    do not go gentle into that good night”

  15. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Father Brown takes a stab
    at Christmas Mass

    creaks as the weathercock
    trims to the wind

    **

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    chaff broadcast
    by a fretful wind

    **

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    the student’s first novel
    remains unfinished

  16. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    a flash of blue wings
    and he stops

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson

    lingering long
    after the last goodbyes

  17. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    – Laurie Greer
    *
    searching for plum blossoms
    on outstretched limbs
    – Betty Shropshire

  18. dusk. . .
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    an even fall of snow
    brightens the morning – carol jones

  19. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    laughing at the pigeons below
    begging for crumbs on the sidewalk

  20. Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    – Tracy Davidson
    *
    I taste the dark red flesh
    of a blood orange
    – Betty Shropshire

  21. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    – Dan Campbell
    *
    autumn’s voice swells with each
    turn of the murmuration
    – Betty Shropshire

  22. dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple. Nani Mariani

    the throb of a distant
    didgeridoo

  23. Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset – Tracy Davidson

    love letters from home
    pass in the post – carol jones

  24. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    to be honest ..
    i didn’t know you love me

  25. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds – Carol Jones
    *
    ladies’ soft voices
    from the island gazebo

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds – Carol Jones
    *
    sunlight flashes
    from the maid’s darning needle

  26. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    life …
    not as easy as turning the palm of the hand

  27. Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset -Tracy Davidson
    *
    my cat stretches
    into sphinx pose
    —————-

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset -Tracy Davidson
    *
    lisping Lily
    whispers to her Sheik
    —————-

  28. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    rice sparrows pick over
    the stubbled fields
    *
    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    first prize in the raffle
    announced by the vicar
    *
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    the toll of a bell
    over the empty square
    *
    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    meditation continues
    late into the evening

    1. This one is standing out & making me smile, Andrew. Just the right touch of humour, i.m.o. 🙂
      .
      *
      scarecrow
      holding the cornstalk
      like a microphone
      first prize in the raffle
      announced by the vicar
      *

  29. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone – Dan Campbell
    his address out shines
    the moon – carol jones

  30. dusk. . .
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    ‘all are welcome’ sign
    hidden by dew frost – carol jones

  31. Thanks, John, for picking out my crows! The steeple they circle is at the National Cathedral, and they are there year round, where they are often mercilessly teased by mockingbirds.

  32. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell
    *
    that stiff grin
    of the born ventriloquist
    *
    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell
    *
    how he comes to life
    to preach fire and brimstone
    *
    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson
    *
    on the firm ground
    of a castle in the air
    **

  33. Wonderful selections!
    .
    .
    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    with every turn
    a symphony of light
    .
    .
    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    inside the rustling wind
    whispers of sweet nothings
    .
    .
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    … which of them
    is the chosen one?
    .
    .
    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    a skittering scorpion
    raises its sting
    .
    .

  34. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone – Dan Campbell

    one more chorus
    somewhere over the rainbow

    *
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    a dislodged icicle
    pierces the priest

    *
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    even gargoyles shiver
    at the approaching storm

    *
    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds – Carol Jones

    she unpicks the holes
    in his online profile

    *
    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset – Tracy Davidson

    a hint of orange
    in her daiquiri

  35. Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson

    an old Ray Steven’s song
    stuck in my head

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones

    meeting her parents
    for the very first time

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    now here’s
    Johnny

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Laurie Greer

    the sun never sets on
    her Majesties empire

    or.

    a world on the
    precipice of war

  36. I’l be capping the verses chosen one at the time. Congratulations, Dan, Laurie and Tracy.

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset – Tracy Davidson

    essences of passion
    sent by camel train – carol jones

  37. hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    — Carol Jones

    flashing blue lights
    in the red light district


    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    — Laurie Greer

    snowflakes seek
    a place to rest


    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    — Dan Campbell

    another rock star’s
    premature death

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    — Tracy Davidson

    each breath the dust
    of our forebears’ bones

    [or]

    a trickle of red
    down the tank turret

  38. scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    then ~
    settles into melancholy

    Nani Mariani

  39. Big congrats to: Carol Jones, Dan Campbell, Laurie Greer and Tracy Davidson
    Beautiful…
    I learned a lot here …
    Thank you to all of you 🌺🌺

  40. I’ve never done this before, nor tan renga, nor have I had the inclination the write tanka. But this looks interesting. 🙂
    .
    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset – Tracy Davidson

    a long trail
    of camel footprints
    ————

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds – Carol Jones

    there’s so much water
    so close to home (ref. to the story by Raymond Carver and the film Jindabyne.)
    ————-
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple – Laurie Greer

    feathers rustling
    in the rooky wood
    —————–

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone -Dan Campbell

    a channel click back
    to the garden gurus
    ———-

  41. Wonderful jobs Carol, Dan, Laurie and Tracy! Thanks John , for getting us started!

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    – Carol Jones

    shadows
    falling in line

    *

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    – Dan Campbell

    the baton passed
    without mishap

    *

    dusk . . .
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    – Laurie Greer

    arms and legs stretch wide
    in formation

    *

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    -Tracy Davidson

    tracing outlines
    of trees

  42. 2.

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell
    *
    pop stars sing
    we are the world

    wendy c. bialek

  43. nice picks, john
    congrats to: Carol Jones, Dan Campbell, Laurie Greer and Tracy Davidson

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones
    *
    darning partners
    framed in stained glass

    wendy c. bialek

    2.

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell
    *
    m j sings
    we are the world

    wendy c. bialek

    3.

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Laurie Greer
    *
    boiling water for
    tomorrow’s zooni

    wendy c. bialek

    4.

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson
    *
    a bronze and copper
    braided birdbath

    wendy c. bialek

  44. My offerings:

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds
    shrill sounds heard
    somewhere down south

    **
    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple
    in the silhouette
    the muezzin’s call

    **

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone
    no wonder we could
    listen to fairy tales

    **

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset
    does the camel know
    the language of silence

    **
    Lakshmi Iyer

  45. Wonderful selections and instructions!

    1.

    hot spell
    a dragonfly weaves
    between the reeds

    Carol Jones
    *
    late-night bars jammed
    with bobbing heads

    2.

    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell
    *
    the same corny jokes
    as last year’s

    3.

    dusk…
    a murder of crows
    circles the steeple

    Laurie Greer
    *
    frontlines dug in
    for the winter

    4.

    Saharan sand
    deepening
    the sunset

    Tracy Davidson
    *
    a martyred hermit
    bleeds his blessings

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