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The Renku Sessions: Tan-renga – Week 2


This is easier than most renku linking since there are fewer requirements of the capping verse and almost nothing foreclosed upon by previous verses. There are requirements but they are comparatively subtle. Some are hinted at by the quote from Graceguts included in last week’s post – the need to link “at an angle” for instance. I’m thinking that I will offer some suggestions in future posts.

wind beaten marquee
saying only
“coming soon”

John Stevenson

Your offers of capping verses were many and various. Here is a sampling of some that I found especially interesting.

when did they shutter
the bowling alley?                                

Maxianne Berger

watching the street mime
while he waits for the bus

Laurie Greer

left to graffiti artists
to play the role of critics

Laurie Greer

and as if by magic
the pier disappeared

Marion Clarke

a batman band aid
to cover the ouch

Wendy C. Bialek

we the people
of a lesser god

Michael Henry Lee

the sheer abandon
of their pas de deux

Marietta McGregor

the Dear John letter
floating away

John Hawkhead

some movies I remember
some I forget

Carole Harrison

she cradles
the unborn

Pauline O’Carolan

airport timetable—
all flights delayed

Joanne van Helvoort

killing time telling stories
about the passers by

Laurie Greer

herd immunity
as if the dying don’t mind

Betty Shropshire

morning sunrise
reddens the sky

Carol Jones

let the congregation
text “amen”

Dana Rapisardi

updated list
of the living

Wendy C. Bialek

And here are a few others, also interesting, on which I would like to comment briefly:

gradpa’s haberdashery
was just around the corner

Maxianne Berger

This creates the sense of a wider focus on the same scene. The “coming soon” becomes “the past.” It hit home for me, perhaps more than others, because my grandfather was part owner of the hotel on the corner near the State Theater, where vaudeville acts played in Ithaca, NY at the turn of the twentieth century. that

‘On the Beach’ finale
haunts me still

Lorin Ford

I think that “marquee” naturally suggests a movie theater, so a movie from decades ago accentuates the irony of “coming soon.” And the idea of haunting works nicely with a beating wind, as an echo and as a diminishment. And if one is familiar with the scene referenced, the rush of its surf provides a fitting reflection of the battering wind in the opening verse.

badip badip
that’s all folks

Michael Henry Lee

Linking in renku is something like improv in the sense that “yes, and…” is the desired approach. One does not reject the offer; one embraces and enhances it. This opening verse is a poem that I have strong feelings for and the tone of it is serious. So, I wondered how I would feel about capping verses that take us somewhere wildly different emotionally. In this instance, at least, I love it.

hearing the river’s
roar before seeing it

Dan Campbell

Like the powerful wind, the roaring river is vivid even without vision.

again glancing up at where
the stars used to be

Laurie Greer

I feel that there are so many ways in which this capping verse is consistent with and an extension of my opening verse, that I don’t know where to start with them.

a felt tip hat
fills with change

Betty Shropshire

Something else happening on the street. I am glad to know this performer is achieving at least enough success to protect her/his hat from blowing away. For what it’s worth, I would remove the word “tip.” I think the scene is clear enough without it and since there is such a thing as a “felt tip” pen, I got misdirected briefly, wondering if there was some special kind of hat involved.

So, I’m going to pick one of the capping verses, mostly to carry forward the existing format of this feature. (I could easily pick a dozen or more.) And I will invite the poet to take on the task of selecting one verse from this week’s offers to be the opening verse for our next tan-renga.

I’m also going to suggest a small edit. So, here is our tan-renga:

wind beaten marquee
saying only
“coming soon”

John Stevenson

glancing up at where
the stars used to be

Laurie Greer

Laurie, please let me know if you are willing to make the next selection.

This week, you are invited to offer a new opening verse, for which we will offer capping verses in the following week. Your offers should be three lines, with a winter seasonal reference:

Please enter your verses in the comments box, below. Laurie and I will review them until midnight on Monday, February 8 (Eastern US time). On Thursday, February 11, there will be a new posting in which Laurie or I will comment on some of the opening verse suggestions and select one of them to be offered for tan-renga linking in the following week.

Looking forward to seeing your verses!



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

This Post Has 116 Comments

  1. Congrats Laurie, on your lovely “stars” verse.
    on the porch
    early morning frost
    on top
    of a woodpile
    the cat watches
    nodding off
    to pops and crackles
    in the fireplace

  2. withered mums
    line garden paths where
    we loved last summer

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  3. new snow on old snow
    twitter with the news
    under my window
    a goldfinch with a broken neck
    on a bright winter day

  4. at dawn
    a round apple
    on the table
    eating pumpkin soup
    the cobweb
    between the table legs
    between the lights of the gulf
    half moon in the sky
    half in the sea

  5. wrapped in grandma’s
    hand stitched quilt, I escape
    to dreaming

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  6. oops–a typo:

    fallen leaves swirl
    across the garden path
    an open gate swings

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  7. fallen leaves swirl
    across the garden path
    the open gate swing

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  8. What fun these verses are! And the comments. A great game, thank you John. Go Laurie!

  9. through the frigid night
    starlight arrives

    after the snowfall
    a momentarily
    flawless world

    the taste of
    falling snowflakes
    a vintage bouquet

  10. her skirts rustle
    through these lovely rooms-
    wind in withered reeds
    * * * * *
    narcissus bob
    at their pond reflections–
    winter wind

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  11. spring snow
    the vegetable entree includes
    a pork egg roll
    salting the sidewalk
    the sound then sight
    of snow geese
    I restrain myself
    from another sunset pic
    snow leopard

  12. mimosa
    swelling from absent sunlight
    winter rain
    the half-life
    of crop circle pirouettes …
    frozen lake

  13. Beautiful verse, congratulations Laurie!
    hands still warm
    long after the lights shone
    spirals on the ice
    heavy snow
    branches bent
    under the icing
    winter secrets
    slowly revealed
    early thaw

  14. the snowy beast
    next to the dragon candied berries

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/7/21

    snowy dawn
    the light
    within me

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/7/21

    1. oops candied should be on line 3.

      the snowy beast
      next to the dragon
      candied berries

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/7/21

  15. .
    nuclear winter
    an icicle
    goes coastal
    so hot!
    an icicle becomes a denier’s
    wet dream
    in 50 shades of green
    an icicle

  16. withered reeds scratch
    against the swinging gate–
    a brick path

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  17. frozen puddle
    a duck slides across
    the sky
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    ice puddle
    sliding across
    a blue sky

  18. shrouds of fog
    blanket the view
    barking dog
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    thick fog
    blankets the view
    fading memory
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    flash flood
    the chill in the air
    after our chat
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …
    flash flood
    a rush of words
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  19. intentionally left
    blank pages
    in this old diary

    © 02/05/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    intentionally left
    blank 2020
    wall calendar

    © 02/05/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  20. Thanks for mentioning my verse, John. As a big fan of the Stephen King and Peter Straub novel ‘The Talisman’, your verse immediately took me to a windswept pier. I loved Laurie’s verse.
    looking up at where
    the stars used to be
    Laurie Greer
    snow falls
    into the abyss
    of a tyre swing

    1. Just to be clear; we are not linking to Laurie’s verse. We are offering three-line opening verses (with winter kigo) for a new tan-renga. What Laurie chooses this week will be offered for a two line next week.

  21. morning frost
    an urban fox slinks
    along the hedges
    white fields
    the creak of fresh snow
    with every step

  22. Tan renga: Week 3
    black branches twine
    the river’s curve
    sink in the ice shallows
    (c) 2/06/2021 Patria Rivera

  23. buffalo
    searching for grass
    under the snow
    huskies pulling
    the sled over
    miles of snow
    chick nestled
    between his
    father’s feet

  24. all these snowy
    moonlit nights the things
    I didn’t speak

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/6/21

    1. all these snowy
      nights the things
      I didn’t speak

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/6/21

  25. how the snow
    flurries embrace
    the church spire

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    to know the pine
    you must go to the pine
    snow owl

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

  26. tan renga:

    drip, drip, drip, drip
    of icicles at dawn
    the stop light changes

    John Daleiden, Phoenix, Arizona

  27. Lovely verse, Laurie! Well done!
    West Texas snowdrifts
    chasing the next
    oil boom

  28. destiny
    it is snowing and it is
    going to snow

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    fate of a still blackbird
    it is snowing and it is
    going to snow

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    winter moon
    the stillness of birds
    gathering pine straw

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    a parrot rings his bell
    at the edge of a clearing
    winter moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

  29. skating past the red
    light district on the
    frozen canal
    firewood covered
    in snow

  30. every roaming bird bends with a moonflower marking the
    edge of infinity

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    1. variation on same theme…

      every bend
      of a moonflower marks
      the edge of infinity

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/5/21

  31. viewing greenery
    chill pervading
    sudden shutters down


    2) all through paper
    haiku and senryu
    shivering hands

    3) hot cup
    of tea
    your thawing hands


    4) wintry morn
    still a beauty of spring
    in your quill


  32. Hello all. This is my first time commenting in your community. I love reading all of your work and I’m glad to offer some of my work. So here goes…

    First snowfall in years
    Footprints on the metal bridge
    Cross into morning

    © 02/05/21 by Sean F. Felix

    1. welcome, Sean😊I am fairly new here, too, but you’ll find some great writers here. Lovely poem!

      1. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Everyone here seems very kind, and there is some fantastic writing. I’m excited to be a part of this community.

        1. Yes, they are kind and I am sure the Haiku Foundation welcomes fresh voices on this thread of expanding haiku. So glad to meet you!

  33. steering the snow moon,
    and through the eyes of birds,
    many years

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/5/21

    1. steering the snow moon,
      and through the eyes of
      many birds, years

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/5/21

  34. winter storm
    the weight
    of what you told me

    snapping icicles
    from the church roof
    unheard cries

  35. cold day
    hiding behind
    this winter rainbow

    © 02/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    hiding behind
    this winter rainbow
    cold day

    © 02/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  36. Very lovely verse, Laurie.

    when you leave
    melancholy settles
    like snowflakes

    despite standing in sleet
    we wait for the rapture

    reflections in the glass
    as we quaff champagne
    and swallow oysters

  37. Question for John:
    I have seen some tan renga with the opening verse in hokku form (fragment and phrase), and some in three natural unforced lines.
    OK either way?

  38. in the nation’s oldest city,
    the last time it snowed here
    was the year i was born
    the snowshoe hare
    in route to
    winter in Miami
    on Capital Hill
    the halls of Congress
    have never been colder

  39. melting
    must hurt more
    than wilting
    howls headed
    for the moon
    with icicles
    for a heart

  40. glittering glass
    lights the street
    of cardboard houses

    (c)02/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  41. thanks john, enjoying your commentary, all picks and the final fantastic cap of laurie’s verse. thanks for my two mentions, too.
    MANY CONGRATS to laurie !!!!!
    i love this verse laurie….it is sooo zen! “……….where the stars used to be”

    last year’s
    flaming maple leaf
    sealed in the icicle

    (c) 2/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  42. Way to go Laurie, nice one
    in this time
    of sequestration
    either your place or mine
    if ever there
    was a time to wonder
    it would certainly be now
    little tin gods
    leaving rust spots
    on the privy
    police lives
    only matter when
    killed by minorities

  43. Well–wow! Sure didn’t expect this! Thanks, John, for your appreciation, and thanks to everyone who took part–that renga was fun and exciting and everything good.
    John, if I could select verse #14 before, I guess can select a verse for this, too, though I don’t feel quite as oriented to the form as I would like to be. If you can offer any tips or advice, it would be welcome. I might email you a lot of questions this time!
    Looking forward to the week!

  44. Congratulations to all the poets. I especially like Laurie’s as a capping verse in its double referencing to stars and looking up both skywatd and the wind beaten marquee. I love all the mentioned verses…too many to single out! Thank you for the guiding commentary, John. ps my grandfather owned a hotel too. what a life😉

    1. Congratulations, Laurie, for that moving verse and to all the poets for their offerings and to John Stevenson for his enlightening commentary!

  45. 1st: Laurie’s “where the stars used to be” is so resonant. Congrats, Laurie ☺ ..
    2nd: John, this tan-renga affords much lovely leeway despite link and shift, and makes for such fun reading. Thanks for giving us this continued opportunity.
    3rd: thank you also for pausing on 2 of my offerings. Regarding the second mentioned, by happenstance Grandpa’s haberdashery was around the corner from the Corona Theatre (est. 1912), and I kid you not about the name. It is still an active venue, closed because of shutdown.

    1. The State Theater is still an active venue, too. After it’s vaudeville days it had a long run as the premier cinema in Ithaca (there were three others, plus two drive-ins nearby). And now it is a concert venue. I presume it is closed at the moment and can only hope that it will survive the pandemic.

  46. Congratulations, Laurie. Thanks for place one of mine in the line up, John, enjoyed reading your comments.

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