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

RENKU

Editor's Notes

Hello, welcome to the Renku Column of Simply Haiku. Canada, Croatia, England, Ireland, Japan ... poets from these countries are represented in this edition's selection.

If you want to learn more about renku please check out the fully searchable Archives - you can enter 'Junicho' for instance and come up with technical info as well as high quality examples. lf you would like to add some of your own work to this growing corpus of reference the Contents page will link you into our renku guides. Submissions gives the general background.

For this edition the featured poems are short, but not necessarily sweet. We present three 12 verse sequences, two Junicho, Covered by the Wind (in English and Croatian) and This Flaming June, and one Shisan, White Clover (in English and Japanese). There is a deal of confusion about the difference between these styles; a search of the Archives should go a long way to clearing this up. To facilitate a technical analysis two of the poems are annotated to show their seasonal substructure and my own piece, This Flaming June, highlights the appearance of a four verse 'love' sequence comprising the traditional 'call-for-love' and 'end-of-love' positions—verses which indirectly invite, and reflect upon, the more overtly thematic material.

There is only one 'rule' in renku—an adherence to that creative dynamic commonly called 'link and shift.' Everything else is optional, pragmatic, and incremental. The seasonal and topical substructures that characterise most contemporary renku are variations of earlier approaches which were themselves adapted from the historic literature. The best renku juxtaposes tradition and experimentation. Read some. Write some.

John Carley. Rossendale, August 2005


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