Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2005, vol 3 no 2

Renku Editor's Notes

Hello, welcome to the Renku Column of Simply Haiku. If this is your first visit please do take time out to check the Archives. lf you are new to renku as a genre, you've come to the right place! And whether you are a new or seasoned writer of renku please do consider adding some of your own work to this growing and fully searchable corpus of reference. The Contents page will link you into our renku guides. Submissions gives the general background.

In recent issues we have carried some quite startling experimental and performance pieces. In the same spirit of experiment we are now pleased to present Feathered Frost, our first renku adopting the 'one line' style of prosody closely associated with poets such as Janice Bostok and Marlene Mountain. In the accompanying interview authors Ron Moss and Sheila Windsor discuss their approach to collaboration in general, and this style of writing in particular.

More international collaboration of the highest order is represented by Grace Notes, a 44 verse Yoyoshi by Hortensia Anderson, Kirsty Karkow and Eiko Yachimoto. The strap line, 'A Womanly Renga', is of itself thought provoking, and this is a rare opportunity to see the Yoyoshi used in English by highly skilled poets of any gender! Eiko Yachimoto also provides a fascinating tomegaki which details the origins of the Yoyoshi and throws a surprising sidelight on the meaning of 'collaboration' in contemporary Japanese society.

If 44 verses feels a little too truncated for your liking this issue carries Camellia House, a 100 verse Hyakuin Renga written over the course of 24 hours in the eponymous location at the heart of Britain's Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There are notes from Alec Finlay - a leading figure in the promotion of classical linked verse in the United Kingdom - plus the original schema and introductory comments from Jane Reichold. If you are trying this at home, don't forget the charcoal hand warmer.

From Sogi, to Basho, to the present day: Simply Haiku is proud to present an entirely original renku proposal from the Irish poet Norman Darlington. With The Triparshva Darlington revisits the Kasen, seeking new ways to imbue shorter form renku with core features of Edo period aesthetics. There is an over-view and a full, diagrammatic, breakdown for sequences begun in spring, summer, autumn and winter. Read the article. Write the poem. Submit it to Simply Haiku.

For the moment The Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Competition only recognises the Kasen, Nijuin and Junicho as preferred formats. But that's plenty of scope, and with a September deadline now is the time to consider writing and entering a piece. Persons outside the United States, Canada and Mexico might have difficulty with checks/money orders in the correct denomination. In your editor's experience mailing dollar bills is not as risky as it seems, and the Bernard Einbond is an important competition. Poets relatively new to renku might find the schematic of the Nijuin so helpfully provided by Professors Higginson and Kondo to be a positive boon. Check out the relevant pages at Renku Home. And while you're there, why not read the rest of the site.

From next issue the Renku Column will be carrying short articles on specific aspects of renku technique. If there is a renku question that you would particularly like to see addressed please mail it in via the Submissions page. Many thanks,

John Carley. Rossendale, April 2005

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