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The Renku Sessions: Triparshva—Call for verse 19


Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.

Selection of Verse 18:

Thanks once again to everyone who submitted. Up till now, when announcing a verse, I’ve tried to focus on why a particular verse was selected.  At this point in the renku, there is a lot to remember and it’s all too easy to slip inadvertently into reversion, sarikirai or even kannonbiraki.  So if you don’t mind, this time it might be a worthwhile learning experience if I say something also about why other verses might not have been chosen.

Winter season topics included frost, snow, ice, Christmas, skiing and skates, winter food, and winter clothing–a nice selection. A problem, though, was that verse 18 is the second of our winter verses. The first was Chris’s #winterwedding in slot 10.  While the two are widely separated and sarikirai or kannonbiraki would not be an issue, the verse slot 18 still needed not to revert to the previous verse but express a different aspect of the season. You’ll have noticed that Agnes and I talked about “hugs” in the first version of her ski lodge offer, and she changed it nicely.  As I thought about things, though, I began to feel that all the offers with ice, frost or snow were too reminiscent of that sparkling #diamond in Chris’s verse. Unfortunately, this meant I’d have to set aside Marion’s ice flowers and ribbons, too, though I liked them both very much.

Another problem was that for our current side, the kyu, we need verses with simple, straightforward imagery and language. Liz’s  “Last year’s mittens” and the first version of Agnes’  Christmas in Texas “only on TV” both had a built-in complexity that worked against the kyu’s “fast close”.  This is a good point to remember, as we have a few more “fast close” verses to go.

Still another problem was reversion to the hokku–the turnips simmering on the stove in Joel’s first version, and “white” in Agnes’ verse (I didn’t catch that—she herself did).

In fact the biggest problem was my fault. We had crickets in the uchikoshi and I neglected to list mammals as a topic in intermission.  Not to go into it too deeply, but if you’d like to understand, check the persistence/avoidance charts in Herbert Jonsson’s dissertation (p. 39) and JEC’s in Renku Reckoner p 113). My thanks to those of you who reworked and reposted verses that would have done nicely if not for this.

In fact, many thanks to everyone for their willingness to go back in and tweak verses with difficulties.  It’s an ongoing pleasure to work with all of you. As I said above, it’s common for this kind of thing to happen when we get this far into the renku.

Now, which offer is actually going to get the slot?  In going over all of them, I found that I kept coming back to one of Joel’s revisions. Here it is with the maeku and uchikoshi:

I stagger through cricket songs
impaired by Gandalf Grog
~Patrick Sweeney

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons
~Beth McFarland

jackets warming
by the wood burning stove

The language flows smoothly across the break, almost like a tanka, and see how it recasts the setting of the maeku by giving it season.  For me, the maeku was a classroom of young children using chunky crayons; the wood stove with their jackets warming now clarifies it as an old school—perhaps a one-room schoolhouse. I can feel the unevenness of the heat, smell the fire and the steam coming off those warming jackets.   It’s a wonderfully vivid pairing, so thank you, Joel.  As you’ve doubtless noticed, I’ve moved your line break to eliminate the enjambment. I hope you don’t mind.

Specifications for verse 19:

Now, here are maeku and uchikoshi for the next verse:

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons

jackets warming
by the wood burning stove

The requirements are fairly simple:

  • This will be a three-line verse, non-seasonal, non-person
  • It goes without saying by now, link to the maeku, shift from the uchikoshi.
  • We’re still in the “waterfall” of the kyu, so simple, straightforward language, please.  Avoid literary references, or indeed any extra-textual references that would slow down our “fast close”.
  • Good linking is most important but we still want to get as wide a variety of those “10,000 things” as possible.
  • We could tuck that mammal into this slot, if you’re so inspired.
  • What other language structures or punctuation have we not had yet?  An imperative?  What else?
  • Topics in intermission include children, education, calendars and art. Also stay clear of topics, words and imagery in the hokku.
  • Looking forward, this verse will be the uchikoshi for our blossom verse, so I will refrain from taking any verse with flowers, or most likely plants in general.

How to Submit:

All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant.

The call for this verse will remain open until Monday, October  26, 2015 at midnight (EDT).  At that time I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each, choose the one that best serves the renku, and post a call for the next verse on Thursday.

Useful links and resources:  

  • If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my Introduction to Triparshva post.
  • NEW:  A full copy of the schema for the renku may be found at the bottom of the introductory page. I am filling in the verses as they are placed.
  • For the archive of previous calls and submissions, click here.


The Renku so far:

Side 1: jo

a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
someone’s name
~Lynne Rees /su

under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
~Barbara Kaufmann /su

passersby stop
to applaud a subway
saxophone player
~Karen Cesar / ns

sweet reminiscences
of our bygone days
~Barbara A. Taylor / ns

yet again
the moon lights the loggerhead
as she digs
~Paul MacNeil / sp mn

with the twittering
morning mist clears away
~Maria Tomczak

Side 2: Ha

from the mountain top
Puyallup natives trace
their lands below
~Carmen Sterba / ns

who left the doors open
to Valhalla?
~Polona Oblak/ ns

rusty roofing iron
as a letterbox
~Sandra Simpson / ns

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel / wi lv

at the Marquise
a clandestine romp
in neon flicker
~Judt Shrode / ns lv

his better half chambers
another round just because
~Betty Shropshire / ns lv

after a while
the life boat for refugees
floating hardly
~Vasile Moldovan / ns

the first pawlonia leaf
to touch the soil
~Maureen Virchau / au

how the setting moon
fills the garden
with darkness
~Gabriel Sawicki / au mn

I stagger through cricket songs
impaired by Gandalf Grog
~Patrick Sweeney / au

Side 3: Kyu

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons
~Beth McFarland / ns

jackets warming
by the wood burning stove
~Joel / w

This Post Has 36 Comments

    1. Going back through the threads I see I didn’t answer when you posted this, Grace. It’s nice–and welcome!

  1. *
    an old raccoon
    scratches her marks into the fence
    by the compost bin
    a yak snorts
    into the thin air

      1. Thank you, Linda. Agnes Savich pointed me in your direction and I am glad she did. We studied Haiku together over the summer. Then I found an excellent introduction to the Renku and all the terms you used, with which I was not familiar. This was an article by John Carley of the NZPS. He helped me make sense of what the idea behind this particular Renku form is. Thank you!

  2. a peal of bells
    from across town announces
    Midnight Mass

    Or would this be considered a person ku, Linda, since someone is ringing the church bells (or is this done by computer nowdays? 🙂 )

  3. that smoke column and
    a jet trace enter togheter
    a cross in the sky


    just about nowadays
    at the top of the news
    the water on Mars


    in the Middle Orient
    above the Syrian Desert
    criss-cross fires

    1. I think that your second and third offers may draw readers out of the renku–which we don’t want at this point–but the first one is fine. Thank you, Vasile!

      1. Are snakes a kigo? Was wondering or is it their activity level that determines the kigo(ness) of a snake?

          1. Interesting! Snakes have been more active during the day this past week where I currently am due to the weather finally moderating.

  4. Thank you Linda! As a beginner I am both delighted and humbled to have my verse selected and your slight change is perfection! I am learning so much from the other submissions and all of your comments! Watching the Triparshva evolve is such fun.

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