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Autumn 2008, vol 6 no 3


Renku Editor's Notes


Welcome to the Renku Column of the autumn issue of Simply Haiku. I hope all our readers in the northern hemisphere have enjoyed a pleasant summer, while those south of the equator are now looking forward to the blossoming of spring.

In this issue we are proud to present October Rain, the first English-language Rokku Renku, composed by five poets from four continents. Designed by Haku Asanuma, this renku pattern displays a number of innovative features, such as variable number of verses, and the fact that, in Japanese, one of the six-verse sides breaks free from the strict application of 5-7-5 7-7 onji count. How best to reflect this in an English composition, where syllable-counting is in any case not done, may be open to question. The poem is accompanied by a detailed and informative tomegaki by one of the joint sabaki.


October rain –
sheltered by an oak
we swap stories


Another relatively new renku pattern is used to considerable advantage in the two-poet, snail-mail Triparshva, A Sudden Thaw. Its renjyu are no strangers to this column, and their ease in writing together veritably leaps off the page.


sudden thaw...
and the snowman's eyes
turn back to stones


We also present a dokugin (single-poet) Junicho, First Butterfly, as well as Four Seasons and Love, an in-depth analysis of twelve classical Kasen, focusing on the question of the positioning of seasonal verses, as well as that of Love, Moon and Blossom.


petal by petal
softly from bough
to ground


Norman Darlington, Bunclody, July 2008


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