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Winter 2008, vol 6 no 4


Renku Editor's Notes

Greetings, for the last time, from your current editor at the Renku Column of Simply Haiku. Having occupied this seat for nine issues –more than two years– I believe it is time to move over and make room for fresh blood, and it is with pleasurable anticipation that I look forward to handing over the reins to the highly respected South African writer and haikai poet Moira Richards after this issue.


The Miner School of Haikai Poets

We take this opportunity to introduce you to a group going by the name of The Miner School of Haikai Poets. The group comprises four Americans who count Earl Miner among their major influences, and have been writing collaborative poetry for over 20 years.

Alone with my thoughts
when the wind came to call
bamboo bowed in greeting

A Kasen of theirs is presented here in two formats: a fully-annotated version, with the poem appearing as a series of doubled stanzas – their preferred presentation "because it places emphasis on the linking and compensates for the fact that western-schooled poetry readers are not in the habit of reading the last link with the next link as a single unit"; and a "standard" version, with each verse following the last, as our readers are accustomed to.


Triangular Triparshva, Peninsular Shisan

In contrast to The Miner School, all of whose members hail from one (albeit very large) country, the three women poets who have come together (electronically) to write the Triparshva, Tarried Road Workers, reside in Australia, Africa and Europe. They wrote 22 verses over a period of some three months; how different the style and tone of the Shisan composed in a live session by a group including poets from as far afield as Cyprus and Britain, Ireland and the US, on the Beara Peninsula in Ireland's far southwest, washed by the kind waters of the Gulf Stream.


The Passing of William J. Higginson

Just as this page was completed, the very sad news of Bill Higginson's death broke. For decades he has been a towering figure in the realm of haikai in the west, and in time it seems likely that he will take his place alongside such luminaries as Blyth and Henderson. Certainly the world of western haiku and renku has suffered a great loss with his passing. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his wife Penny and their family.

high on the mountain
gathering the piñon’s tears

To honour Bill's passing, and also to mark the transition of editorship here, we present October's Moon, a collaboration by your departing and incoming editors, written to the New Shisan form developed by Bill Higginson a few years ago. In this form, Kaoru Kubota's original Shisan design, which uniquely among widely-used renku formats presents the seasons in 'natural' order (possibly with a view to attracting western poets), is re-cast into a traditional renku aesthetic, with the poem ending on spring, unless it is begun in spring in which case it ends on autumn.


turning cartwheels slowly
slow, rumble to a halt


And now it's time for me to sign off. Adios.

Norman Darlington, Bunclody, October 2008


Copyright 2008: Simply Haiku