I am John Stevenson and I will be your guide for a twelve-verse renku, in which we will compose one verse per week until completion. A longer session, with a different leader, is being planned to follow this one.
This week featured one-hundred-fifty-three offers from thirty-five poets.
Before I begin to highlight some of this week’s offers, I want to share a thought about the difference between renku verses and haiku. The following comes from The Penguin Book of Haiku, by Adam L. Kern.
“…meaning is scarcely limited to individual verses. Rather, the link (tsukeai) is the thing. The art resides less in any individual verse that in how that verse links or will come to be linked to its surrounding verses. A player needed to pick up on some aspect of the previous verse, either latent or superficial, riff on it, cast it in a new light, thereby changing the perception of that verse itself.” (pg 3)
Here are a few of the verses that caught my fancy this time:
the strong grip
of his thighs over hers
on the toboggan
Liz Ann Winkler
This one brings us down to earth. The “strong grip” contrasts with the light touch with which one plays a glass harmonica.
a toast to the
inventor of snow shoes
Michael Henry Lee
The glass armonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin. The inventions of snow shoes and condoms are harder to credit to a single individual (as is the case with a renku), but Charles Goodyear is mentioned as contributing to the modern form of the latter.
by my ski instructor’s
There is a connection between the glass armonica and “Mesmerism.” But ethereal sounds are not the only gateway to hypnotic suggestion!
sharing my first
anything with a man
as the snow falls
Interesting how suggestive evasion can be at times.
of a December-December romance
cutting the cold in half
I appreciate the way in which Laurie has gotten around my note that we won’t be able to use a calendar reference to establish season. “December” in this instance is not a time of year but a time of life. A similar thing applies to “the cold.”
I’ll be looking
at the snow fall
but I’ll be seeing you
This is beautiful and very poetic. The reference to a popular song is an interesting linking strategy.
I enjoyed the idea of this so much that I couldn’t help playing with it a bit, myself. I also like the idea of adding a question and the inflection it denotes.
he offered me
oysters but I wanted
Written in the past tense, this recasts the previous verse as a result; as if to say he offered me something physical but I wanted something lighter – and that’s how I got the seraphim song.
Our fifth verse is:
with my hunka hunka
Music is the link but what a shift! I think of a skating rink and the popular oldies they sometimes play. And, as a love verse, I might either think of this as an older couple, perhaps being careful about falling, or as a suggestion about how young people look for ways to be together that are less intensely specific than “dating,” preferring, instead, to “hang out” together.
For our sixth verse, these will be the requirements/considerations:
- a two-line love verse
- without a season reference
- connecting in some way to the fifth verse and in no obvious way to any of the previous verses
- transforming our sense of the fifth verse
- an indoor image, perhaps nighttime
Our renku, so far:
she sets out in
her tawny jacket
the still-warm hollow
where the deer slept
in the empty room
of a glass armonica
Autumn Noelle Hall
with my hunka hunka
Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Tuesday, December 24 (New York time zone). On Thursday, December 26, there will be a new posting containing my selection for our sixth verse, some discussion of other appreciated offers, and instructions for composing the seventh verse.
I look forward to seeing your offers!