What is meant by 'Renku'?
In current English usage the word 'Renga' has become a generic term for all forms of linked verse. The high style of medieval Japanese linked verse to which the word 'Renga' might more properly apply is now often distinguished by a qualifying term such as 'Classical Renga'. The word 'Renku', a relative neologism, is generally reserved for that genre of contemporary linked verse derived from the Basho school of 'Haikai-no-Renga'.
What does the Renku Column of Simply Haiku publish?
There are a number of excellent publications which feature renga - linked verse - as it is broadly intended. The Renku Column of Simply Haiku concentrates therefore on the promotion of renku as a specific genre. In addition to the text of the poems themselves, the column publishes technical articles, commentaries by participants, general queries, and critical appreciations by readers.
What are the indicative editorial criteria?
Though it is the column's intention to promote both excellence and experimentation, in the first instance preference will be given to those poems which demonstrate a clear understanding of the core structural and aesthetic characteristics of contemporary renku.
Poems will therefore be un-themed, and employ instead that progressive compositional dynamic commonly described as 'link and shift'. They will be multi-authorial, written in cognisance of folio or movement (ren) divisions, and guided by a lead-poet (sabaki) or master (sosho). Persons with extensive practice of renku (renkujin) may wish to propose pieces written in the democratic (shugi-han) manner. Though an appreciation of the function of seasonal reference is a minimum requirement, the adoption of the Japanese seasonal almanac (saijiki) is not obligatory.
Are there additional guidelines?
~ john e c
Copyright 2006: Simply Haiku