to the first Renku Column of 2005. It is confession time! When it
was first proposed that Simply Haiku might carry a dedicated renku
feature there were some doubts expressed as to the feasibility of
the project. There is no question that English language renku is a
nascent genre - was it perhaps too young, too tentative, to support
a quarterly schedule of sufficient quality?
... the reader will be judge. For all that electronic publishing is
regarded as somehow second choice by some, Simply Haiku has
sought to maximize the benefits of the medium. The Archives and
Search links at the head of this page give access to a wealth
of information on both formal and experimental contemporary renku.
always good to know what makes an artist tick. In Bell Crickets
Karina Klesko & Linda Papanicolaou not only give us a truly excellent
take on the idea of 'linked image', they also provide a thought
artistic statement of the origins and intention of the piece. Clicking
the thumbnails on the main page will open a higher resolution image
in a new window.
forget to read the text!
the world of renku dominated by men? At the risk of being branded
a traitor to his own gender this writer sincerely hopes not.
not exactly Sapphic the Graphic Shisan above just happens
to be written by two persons of the female persuasion. And so it is
with our next piece, though this time it is san gin—three
voice. In First Snow Adelaide B. Shaw, Hortensia Anderson
and SH's own b'oki give us a free interpretation of the Shisan pattern.
this poem have a certain character because of the composition of the
team? Maybe. Why not read the poem and see. Certainly there is no
doubt as to the quality of the writing.
in haikai, is the sound of one hand clapping? Why, the audience response
to the wordless poem of course!
- in the late 20th century English-language haiku came perilously close
to disappearing up its own paradox, abandoning all aspects of natural
prosody in the pursuit of some vanishingly fine semantic nuance.
is a strange paradox that theorists eager to propound the dubious 'one
breath' hypothesis were otherwise so dismissive of the poetry of utterance.
Assonance?! Alliteration?! Bah!! … jettisoned along with Syllepsis
of a forensic disposition will detect in this the bones of an unresolved
mystery—The Disappearance of the Five-Seven-Five—frustration
at the deadlock over questions of form giving rise to the rejection
of considerations of language.
Who cares? Not the noetic haijin clearly; their irreducible oblations
exist in isolation, be they carved in a grain of rice or sprayed across
the hide of a passing pachyderm. But we linked-verse wallahs - haikai's
lowly bean stringers—we have to consider stanzas in relation
to each other and, for all that we might wish to cleave to the ethereal,
the problem child of euphony/cacophony will keep raising its wooden
need to speculate; we know what Basho did (or we do if we read
a decent translation). Permutations of the core meters of 5s and 7s
are the spars that allow a sequence to fly. The longer/shorter stanza
movement is the link-shift motor's running gear. Echoes populate the
space between voices, build expectations, partially resolve.
poetry of Basho is not oral poetry; it is far more than that. But sound
is important in classic renku. At every level a Shofu kasen demonstrates
what Pound called 'melopoeia'. The fate of any prosody shorn of such
essentials is likely to be brutish, futile and short.
how can we consider these vital issues if our language can't accommodate
5/7/5 ? No problem. Step forward Messrs Zipper and Richardson with
the offer of a truly wordless poem in which the sound of the utterance
Elsewhere in this
issue is a background piece giving more information on the genesis,
composition and execution of the Jazz-ku. For our present purposes
it is sufficient to remark on the power of the sound of the human
voice. Surely as we experiment with English-language renku we ignore
such a force at our peril.
John Carley, Rossendale. February 2005
2005: Simply Haiku