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.
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
Bunclody, July 2008