Hello, welcome to
the Renku Column of Simply Haiku for, ohh... the umpteenth time!
As haikai letters
begin to gain notions of maturity in the English speaking world it is
to be expected that an increasing number of haijin are prepared to look
more closely at genres other than haiku. English language renku is in
its infancy. But infancy is an exciting time - a time when many profound
stages of development occur. It is with pleasure therefore that we are
able to present a range of poems employing differing formats and styles
of contemporary renku.
and Natural Light are both Junicho; one written
via email, the other in a face-to-face setting. There are some persons
who believe that email composition is qualitatively different to working
in physical proximity. A challenge then: read the poems without looking
at the closing attributions. Could you tell which employed
the virtual and which the actual workspace?
Star is a Shisan, led at a recent British Haiku Society gathering
by your editor. Another challenge: The Shisan and Junicho are both 12
verse patterns; which is the 'easier' to employ? Background information
on the Shisan and Junicho patterns can be found by querying the Simply
Haiku search engine linked to the toolbar heading this page.
Eagle eyed readers
will have noted that all the poems mentioned to date are composed entirely
by British poets. Given that your editor has 'British' under the 'Nationality'
rubric of his passport the reader may be forgiven for entertaining suspicions
of cultural chauvinism. Fortunately the Kasen renku Zwischen
Kornraden (Between Corn Cockles) comes to the rescue. This
column has had the privilege of carrying work in a number of languages
other than English and Japanese. It is a pleasure to introduce our first
poem composed in German. The Renku Column invites submissions in all
languages, accompanied by a provisional English translation.
Lastly comes the
Triparshva The Hawk's Grand Swoop. The 22 verse Triparshva
pattern is already something of an innovation. In this poem the participants
tackle head on one of the central issues in the debate around haikai
seasonality for languages other than Japanese: what relevance do Japanese
seasonal sensibilities have for a poet raised in the middle of the Sahara
In this instance
two of the three participants come from Pune and Hyderabad, and the
renjyu have elected to adopt a frame of reference more suited to India.
As a result the poem recognises six seasons: Spring, Monsoon, Summer,
Autumn, Winter & Frost. In order to illustrate the method we carry
a breakdown of the poem's structure under the title of 'Hawk, Schematic'.
I hope though that readers will first enjoy the text without annotations.
Fascinating though it may be, renku is art, or it is nothing.
John Carley, Rossendale.