|A Note from the 4th Global Renku Memorial|
It is such a pleasure to publish these three Shisan composed at the fourth Global Renku Memorial session which we, the Association for International Renku, organized on the 23rd of September, nearly 6 weeks ago at this writing.
Professor Fukuda, president of the Global Renku Symposium held in the year 2000, a grand event with many international panelists, was able to make it to the Memorial this year. In his speech he remarked that the new century is not going as he had hoped it might at the time of the global symposium; the word 'global' has itself attracted many negative connotations.
I feel the same way and the shared motivation of us AIR members is that we continue raising high the torch of bi-lingual renku, believing that the world still has a chance to become a much better place when peoples of many countries share in the communion of poetry. Though it may sound too idealistic, Japanese society before the Meiji period had cherished poetry in its center and most people shared in a communal harmony derived from all kinds of collaborations including renku writing. When we say 'global' today it contains 'local' as its unspoken foundation, thus we would like to stick to the composition in multiple languages.
Now, we are aware of the danger that bi-lingual renku sessions might just produce two mediocre poems, devoid of fire, in two different languages. We are also aware that it might be too ambitious to invite all kinds of poets to sit and write with us, or to even lead us.
After this year's session AIR members celebrated heartily the joy we felt and had shared with our guests. Live renku sessions cannot be reported simply using concepts of literature; I feel we have to thank 'gnomes' and 'sprites' who must have helped our gatherings! Now that we have hosted the Memorial for each of the last four years the chances are we can continue to take this forward, and Professor Fukuda and Mr. Kobayashi of the Japan Renku Association have expressed strong support for our future plans! Therefore I urge you, Simply Haiku readers, to contact me, should you plan to visit Japan around September the 23rd in future years. We definitely need poets from overseas to make our Memorial global in the positive sense.
When renku poems composed live in face-to-face sessions are published for the general readership, most Japanese renkujin understand that some editing will be done to the text so that readers who did not attend can also enjoy the poem. I hope you enjoy these Shisan.
Persons wishing to contact the author may do so in the first instance via the regular submissions address for the renku column of this journal.
Title Page, 100 Views of Edo, Ando Hiroshige