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The Renku Sessions: Tan-Renga Week 2

renku_300

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.

Our first week of completed tan-renga featured 106 offers, from 24 capping poets.

If my previous role of selecting renku verses felt something like selecting poems for a book or journal, this kind of selection feels more like judging a contest. That usually involves an initial production of a long list of potential selections and a winnowing of that group to a shorter list of finalist poems. From that point, the distinctions that lead to final selections become finer and much more subjective. In the end, my final selections are as much a reflection of my reader qualities as of the qualities of the poems themselves.

Having said all that, here is my “short list” from this week:

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

the same corny jokes
as last year’s

Richard Straw

 

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

frontlines dug in
for the winter

Richard Straw

 

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

a martyred hermit
bleeds his blessings

Richard Straw

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

in the silhouette
the muezzin’s call

Lakshmi Iyer

 

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

pop stars sing
we are the world

Wendy C. Bialek

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

shadows
falling in line

Debbie Feller

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jone

flashing blue lights
in the red-light district

Keith Evetts

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

a trickle of red
down the tank turret

Keith Evetts

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

meeting her parents
for the very first time

Michael Henry Lee

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

a hint of orange
in her daiquiri

Tracy Davidson

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

… which of them
is the chosen one?

Sushama Kapur

 

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

that stiff grin
of the born ventriloquist

Laurie Greer

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

on the firm ground
of a castle in the air

Laurie Greer

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

ladies’ soft voices
from the island gazebo

Lorin Ford

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

sound of sirens
clearing the streets

Nani Mariani

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

lingering long
after the last goodbyes

Pauline O’Carolan

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

creaks as the weathercock
trims to the wind

Harrison

 

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

in the background
crickets chirp

carol jones

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

bombs away
as the chopper blades drone

Betty Shropshire

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

our eyes
warm with wine

Susan Grant

 

 

 

 

And here are the tan-renga that we will be adding to the archive:

 

 

 

hot spell
a dragonfly weaves
between the reeds

Carol Jones

ladies’ soft voices
from the island gazebo

Lorin Ford

 

 

 

 

scarecrow
holding the cornstalk
like a microphone

Dan Campbell

the same corny jokes
as last year’s

Richard Straw

 

 

 

dusk…
a murder of crows
circles the steeple

Laurie Greer

sound of sirens
clearing the streets

Nani Mariani

 

 

 

 

 

Saharan sand
deepening
the sunset

Tracy Davidson

a trickle of red
down the tank turret

Keith Evetts

 

 

 

THIS WEEK

We will, once again, be offering three-line opening verses. You may submit as many as five. I am thinking that, for this round, I will select a single opening verse for everyone to work with in the following week.

 

Enter your offers in the comments section, below, before midnight (Eastern US time) on Monday, October 3. On Thursday, October 6 I will select an opening verse for our next round of capping, perhaps making appreciative comments about some of the other offers.

 

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 42 Comments

  1. Well done to all selected and archived poets (I now have an image of eight haiku poets squeezed together on a library shelf!)

    Thanks John for this feature. I don’t know very much about tan renga so this is most interesting and helpful.

    A few verses for your consideration…

    sleepless again
    no point in crying
    over lost sheep

    moon shadow
    everything becomes
    a strange figure

    restless sleep
    every snore you make
    louder

    dark thoughts
    dissipated
    birdsong

    rain at dawn
    the suddenness
    of this world

    1. ‘I now have an image of eight haiku poets squeezed together on a library shelf’ 🙂 🙂

      A delightful image, Marion.

      1. Thank you, Carol—I’m pleased it made you smile.

        Amazing what comes to you when you can’t sleep! (I’ve been awake since just before two and it’s now half six in the morning. 😖 However, I did complete a fair amount of research and make notes for my poetry in schools workshops, so at least it’s been productive)

        marion

        1. Yes, some wonderful words come to mind, the only thing I don’t do is write them down thinking I will remember my thoughts, wrong.
          I hope you caught up on your lost sleep, it can be very draining, however, a lovely way to spend a few quiet hours, and getting ahead with your poetry workshop.

  2. she pauses
    and climbs
    the hill

    falling leaves
    a tribute
    to last summer

    the wild turkeys pass
    by our house
    one by one

    the afternoon fades
    not sure what to do
    on the list

    debris knocks
    along the river bank
    on a Friday night

  3. barbed wire
    another tattoo
    in memory of
    *
    last rites
    inside the culvert
    a change of clothes
    *
    empty water bottle
    along the path
    a snake plays dead
    *
    screech owl
    the uncertainty
    of dawn
    *
    dirt road
    the dust devil
    keeps apace
    – Betty Shropshire

  4. Congrats to all those chosen for your capping verses as well as those whose verses were under consideration . That’s impressive. Of course, this is my first experience with this tan-renga so like you, I am trying to learn what’s what. Thanks John for leading us in this.

    bedtime…
    boar’s hair brush gliding
    through her hair

    a warbler serenades
    his mate and us
    –how soon before hatching

    a peony tucked
    behind her ear
    –wedding breakfast

    which blossoms
    will attract the most bees
    –flirtation

    the blossoms
    that attract the most
    –flirty skirt

  5. Thank you John and all for the stimulating, thoughtful poems. Great learning.

    swollen river
    together in a tin boat
    strangers and neighbours

    gone wandering –
    from inside walls
    paint peels

    he stumbles
    learning to walk
    rough road

    autumn dusk
    his garden rake
    stands idle

    trees leaning
    into each other
    friendship

  6. Congratulations Lorin, Richard, Nani and Keith!

    Thank you John for all the guidance!

    My five ku for this week:

    dawn birdsong –
    cold tea on the desk
    says it all

    ***
    village fair –
    child’s new doll and her
    in blood pool

    ***

    beach wedding –
    sand lands inside eyes
    selfie spoils

    ***

    in the backyard
    by the fire
    eyes of steel

    ***

    midnight scene –
    a neighbour’s scream
    renting the air

  7. Thanks, John, for your guidance. And thanks, all, for your camaraderie. Faring forward…

    down-pouring rain
    my daughter’s airplane
    somewhere
    *
    wind and rain
    the windows frame
    a cold day
    *
    eyes open
    a dream morphs
    into day
    *
    dream of dead
    voices and faces
    the long grass
    *
    desert stars
    the wise men head home
    while children die

  8. oak leaves
    the smell of autumn
    coming in clusters
    *

    hurricane blowing through–
    the gulley
    full of bubbles
    *

  9. roused from a dream
    the wind is just
    the wind
    .

    riverside camp . . .
    moonlit moths dance
    across the border

  10. the same strangers
    day after day
    on the subway
    ****
    remembering
    her fragrance
    but not her name
    *****
    alligator
    cruising down
    the flooded street

  11. 1.
    spring at last–
    the sun and the crunch
    of snow peas
    *
    2.
    a white narcissus
    bent over the puddle –
    mirror, mirror . . .
    *
    3.
    La Niña event –
    a crowd of bluebells leading
    up the garden path
    *
    4.
    ripe blackberries
    where the river bends
    a billy to each kid
    *
    5.
    Chanel exhibition –
    no-one mentions
    the Nazis
    *

    .

  12. Congratulations Lorin, Richard, Nani, and Keith! And thank you for always teaching us and helping us, John!

    sparrows sheltering
    in the overgrown yews
    set for removal

  13. 1) holding the mike
    her shiver of melodies
    each sad episode

    2) parrot cry on tree
    on deaf ears for soothsayer
    with other parrot

    3) hot tea
    wave of cold spell
    her former friend’s face

    4) all carrots’ dry peel
    moments ‘decision of dish
    unopposed in floor

    5) summer winds’ cool blow
    quick spell on cloth liner’s row
    now ditch’s running show

  14. blue hour…
    windows rolled down
    on a spiritual
    *
    drosophila…
    this living monument
    to a world of dew
    *

  15. another tempest
    bringing chaos
    wherever she blinks

    midnight
    past caring
    what the morning brings

    the world on fire
    a blaze of headlines
    but still no change

  16. Many thanks, John; enlightening as ever. Thank you for including my efforts.

    I particularly relished:
    scarecrow
    holding the cornstalk
    like a microphone

    Dan Campbell

    the same corny jokes
    as last year’s

    Richard Straw

    Irresistible along with the capping verse’s ‘third line’, and all.

    And now my five offers:

    morning jog
    an answer blowing
    in the wind

    a long red light
    at the roadworks…
    liquidambar

    at the bottom
    of his toolbox
    a pink envelope

    security patrol
    the bomb-sniffing dog
    ignores a dead body

    pharmacy queue
    I remember what’s-his-name’s
    odd socks

    Keith Evetts

  17. mackerel sky
    hopes and prayers piled
    atop hopes and prayers

    first named storm
    nothing I would repeat
    in polite company

    storm surge
    awash in waves
    of regret

    storm season
    spaghetti models with
    the evening meal

    doppler radar
    losing a lot on the black
    and white analog

  18. Congratulations, Lorin, Richard, Nani and Keith.

    Thank you John for this wonderful oppotunity to learn so much more.

    Lorin, I liked your chosen verse when I read it. Many thanks.

    1. Richard, Nani and Keith : congratulations!

      Carol, many thanks for your generous comment to me. Clearly, I liked your inspiring verse a lot.
      Nothing could’ve surprised me more than having a ‘capping verse’ selected on this first run of tan-renga verses (first time I’ve attempted a tan-renga verse !)

      Thank you John, for the very nice surprise! 🙂 And also for the insight you’ve given, above, for your process:

      “If my previous role of selecting renku verses felt something like selecting poems for a book or journal, this kind of selection feels more like judging a contest. That usually involves an initial production of a long list of potential selections and a winnowing of that group to a shorter list of finalist poems. From that point, the distinctions that lead to final selections become finer and much more subjective. In the end, my final selections are as much a reflection of my reader qualities as of the qualities of the poems themselves. ” – John Stevenson

      1. I, too, being new to tan renga was delighted at having a verse chosen, and then to see your verse capping mine to be archived, well, I’m still ‘over the moon’ 🙂

        Thanks to all the other poets’ verses on the short list.

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