Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2


Renku Editor's Notes


Welcome to the Renku Column of Simply Haiku. With the unseasonably warm and dry weather we have been experiencing here in the Celtic Isles for the last several weeks, it is all too easy to let ourselves forget the winds, rains and oscillations of temperature which lie close behind us, and doubtless not far in front either. But Japanese poetry, and renga in particular, can be relied on to serve as a stimulation for the imagination lulled into forgetting the endless variety of joys and discomforts which our planet's spin brings us.

And, speaking of weather, Windy Town Square is the title of a Nijuin we bring you by two English poets. To my ear, the poem has a definite English flavour, while successfully evoking universal emotions with its skilful combination of themes timely and timeless.

Heading south for several thousand kilometres, we come to the homeland of the poet who has written the solo Triparshva, Madiba's Smile. Look at how the hokku immediately transports us to her locale and environment:

a pod of whales
heads for the antarctic
tails in the wind

We return to Europe, albeit its other flank, for the Nijuin, Equinox. This poem was composed in English by two distinctly-voiced Romanian poets. Though their approach is quite different from that seen in much modern English-language renku, the poem displays a rhythmic unity which is entirely appropriate to linked verse.

It is said, with some justification, that in its variety lies the strength of a renku; it is very satisfying to be able to present here renku which themselves vary so radically in their music.


Norman Darlington, Bunclody, April 2007






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