XIX:2 June, 2004

A Journal for Linking Poets    
In these letters:

Ed Baranosky explains the glosa renga and his work with Melisa Fauceglia, Jen Findlay and Holly Briesmaster

Tom Clausen discusses his work with Werner Reichhold;

Dick Pettit discusses his work in renga with Francis Attard (Malta) John Carley and  Colin Blundell;

Larry Kimmel writes in response to Werner's poem, "The Apparition Gyrated" in the last issue of Lynx.

Karina Klesko describes a new form she has devised with Cindy Tebo

Daniel W. Schwerin, winner of several Tanka Splendor Awards introduces his sijo;

Francis P. Attard explains why he had stopped submitting to Participation Renga (but has returned again, anyhow!); 

Haiku Reality is a new Serbian and English magazine from the editor - Sasa Vazic  as reported by  Zoran Doderovic

suhni reminds us of the newest from Mother Tongued .

Kenneth P. Gurney, editor of and Joan Payne Kincaid report on Kincaid's newest online book - Snap Shoots.    

. - Gino Peregrini invites readers to visit  The Ghazal Page

A new Literary Ezine - MindFire Renewed – launched and in the hands of Gary Blankenship

Zolo reports on his workshop at  the New York BOCES (board of cooperative educational services) and includes the latest zen-bo poems

Alec Findlay sends the Renga Calendar 2004 of events in Scotland.

Linda Jeannette Ward sends the scoop on a tanka contest with a deadline of July 15th.

Jane Reichhold includes the "100 link renga form for summer." 

(Hint to those who print out the Lynx pages: If you set your paper orientation to horizontal you will get the full page of these text pages.)

Subject: Re: glosa renga: The process is to choose four consecutive lines from a (preferably) non-living poet; then write four ten line stanzas each including a borrowed line as an ending (in the same sequence as the quotation), rhyming with the end line at the ninth line, and the sixth and/or fourth in each of four verses. With a glosa-rengait is the same, except the verses are traded between two partners. In "Time Out", I wrote the first verse ending with the first line of Dante's quotation; Melisa wrote the second verse ending with the second line of Dante; I wrote the third; and she wrote the fourth. This is stated right after the Dante quote as: (Edward Baranosky, verses 1 and 3;   Melisa Fauceglia, verses 2 and 4) It is more challenging than writing a "usual" tanka-related renga in that much is considered in each verse before passing the baton to a partner. Chances for failure are increased. And the first harmonic of the quotation must always be remembered. When it works, it opens a surprising dialogue (trialogue?) with the original poet. Ed Baranosky

Although the Senku with Jen Findlay was mutually estimated to take us a year or two, we finished it in about three months, almost as long to edit it and write an appendix and intros. This may turn out to be a larger community effort as well, since Melisa, Jen and Holly Briesmaster will be doing illustrations in b&w, and I'll be painting an oil for the cover. We'll also be doing a theatrical type of (duet) read-through with a "small" audience before our final polish and launch. And that's just a fraction of what I've been involved with. I just submitted an application for Canadian citizenship, as well as the residence card (so I can get back in should I leave the country); it's about time too, given I've been here for thirty years, and might want to travel. (There's also the ongoing project of the Chinese calendar with Giselle Maya; and the reading series in Toronto). Thanks again for your patience!

. . . Am home now  ( saw your message this morning at work but a very busy day at the library and no time to answer there!) , the dishes done, our Scrabble game over , Casey doing homework, Berta reading Harry Potter to Emma and here I am able to send warm greetings to you and Jane and thank you for the very effective groupings of my tanka... they looked just fine to me and held together nicely as you grouped them in my opinion and once again you have selected generously many more than I expected . For this I am very grateful and honored and what you wrote below certainly as supportive and encouraging a message as I have ever received about my writing! Thank you Werner for your kindness and although I do not see what I write in the same light you do I am very appreciative of the great company and space you and Jane have given it in Lynx, and Mirrors before. I hope you know that despite many, if not most of my tanka being rather dire, glum and angst ridden expressions that I am truly a somewhat cheerful and smiling person... I guess what I end up writing about is the aspects of life which trouble me and are so in contrast with the better times and happier sensations... It must be sort of clear that family life drives me half mad and crazy... I really crave, need and get far less solitary time than I like and the result is alot of inner subterfuge and frustration that gets outlet in writing...The incessant need to be "on" at home leaves precious little time for 1,000 things that attract my attention and as life flows onward I am so drawn by the sorrow that so many things I wish to do in this life I cannot do... Yes, this is somewhat true for everyone and yes if I help Casey and Emma grow up appreciating and loving their lives then I have done something positive but dagnabit it sure is a tough chore doing it! Anyway, I do fare quite decently and most people who know me and see me would not imagine my life "is" so troubled unless they read my poems and perhaps they would simply see the troubles that we all share and know... that is my small hope sending such tanka out , that maybe others might gain some solace or reassurance to see what I felt may be close to what others feel sometimes... In all cases, my gratitude and thanks again for the courtesy  of a reminder to submit and for such wonderful acceptance. Tom Clausen

Dear Tom, What a wonderful letter you wrote! Thank you so much for trying to get deep into your innermost feelings and sharing them with us. Tom, you are such a modest person. You deserve all the possible attention given to your work. Please take it as a valuable statement when I answer, that Jane and I - and I believe many others - think of you as an important poet. You recognize I don't say tanka or haiku writer, I said poet, and I mean it. The form is one thing, and the content and the poetry are something else. Besides, you are a master of the form, very few are able to do as much with it as you do. Your pocket notebook is a treasure, and we're proud that you offered us as many out of it as you did. As I tried before, I build some groups, trying to let each of them become a mirror of what you represent today, letting the reader have the pleasure to get in contact with your poetical genius, your true feelings, your fantasy, your outlooks and perspectives, your traumas and your hopes. Werner Reichhold

Francis Attard (Malta) & I (Denmark) submit `The Prisoner's Blackbird', a kasen renga.  It's one of 11 we did simultaneously by post starting at the end of 2001. They reached v 36 some months ago, but we've been tidying up & deciding what to do with them since. Of the 11, we rate 3 as 'not our best' and 3 or 4 the tops - of which this is one.  I'd promised myself, since last sending you one of Helen Robinson & my 'not our best's', that I'd send a first fruits from Francis & myself. We hope you like it. The Danish haiku group continues at a steady pace and is producing an anthology.  We had a session in which a 12-verse renga was written in English & Danish; also, in November a 12-verse session by five groups at the British Haiku Society AGM. I've continued very fruitful contact with John Carley and the English language New Basho Renku Group.  Certainly the 'intensive care' method ought to produce better renga; but the combination of the participants and the spirit of the day matters as much.  The renga with Francis is by the old method, but we made an always interesting rapport. Colin Blundell (editor of 'Blithe Spirit')  and I published a collection of 4 kasen, but I've hesitated about sending it out (or to you for review). I said to Colin, I won't write them like that again; but on the other hand, they and the essays about renga were the best we could manage at the time. All best wishes. Dick Pettit

. . . I'd like to say something erudite about "The Apparition Gyrated", but as I can't truly read (how many can?) Joyce's Finnegans Wake, I'll have to take another approach.  (Let me point out that I love reading about reading FW, and it is not to say I don't read it in bits and pieces, but so often what I take from it personally, I'm not sure enough of myself to want to go public.  Right or wrong, I imagine you can understand that.)
The first thing that attracted me to "Gyrated" is the potentials I saw for a five-line down language-generated poetry.  Of course, I enjoyed the word play, "horrorscopish," for example, in which I read, "horoscope" and "scop" to combine into a whole new word.  It suggestion a small poem in and of itself.  This I can enjoy.  What it all adds up to, I don't feel qualified to say, other than I get from it a heightened sense of creativity, or life force, which to me is one of the essentials of art.  Not a meaning, but an energy.
Interestingly to me, is that I find myself in frequent monologue with historic artists, these days. For example I've a long draft of a poem addressed to William Langland.  The autobiographical portion in his "Piers Plowman," seems to speak to me across six hundred years, and so I've answered him.  This is not quite the same thing for you, I think, but having seen your propensity to experiment with art, to take it into new spaces, where would you find a more worthy collaborator for a symbiotic work then Joyce?  The symbiotic relationship here seems fortuitous and logical.
Oh yes, when I said above that I saw new potentials for a five-line down language-generated poetry (and it doesn't have to be five lines), I also meant that for me it suggested ways to go beyond the daily sort of realism into a more, what, a more inner-realism, into that reality that uses memory and imagination in a far more creative way, a way that creates totality new world, like the world of dreams.  In this world, this reality, one is really on ones own.
I, myself, will probably always be more connected to the world of daylight and dailiness, but I need this other world to jolt my energies, and so I look to other artists for that need.  Still, I don't rule out the possibility of my writing out of a self-created dreamscape, and so you see one of the fascinations "Gyrated" holds for me.  It points a direction.  I hope that out of all this fumbling thought of mine, my probable incomprehension, in regards to "Gyrated" , I can at least compliment your work in that way.  It, simply said, inspires me! - Larry Kimmel.


. . ."Pick-Up-Sticks" is a tan-ra which is different from a regular tanka series in that the final verse is six lines--three written by each author. The tan-ra can be modified if more partners participate. Each writer takes a different perspective on the underlying theme to reach a conclusion to the series. This form has been developed by Cindy Tebo and Karina Klesko

. . .Thank you for your forum. I have enjoyed it for years, and have used it to learn about haiku, tanka, and now I dabble in sijo. The trouble with writing in solitude is appreciating the finer points of a new form. While I struggle with rhythm and phrasing, I am submitting a few sijo to your editorial eyes. Other than a few lucky Tanka Splendor awards, this is my first submission to you. Daniel W. Schwerin

. . .I stopped sending in links (to participation renga) because of the spectre of cryptoamnesia – reading something somewhere and later pops up as one’s own. I guess a risk many have to face. And, again, the risk of producing the same old themes and topics. Permit me to enclose some sample work. Francis P. Attard

. . . Announcing a new haiku magazine Haiku stvarnost/ Haiku Reality: in Serbian and English. Editor is Sasa Vazic   Best wishes  Zoran Doderovic

. . . Don’t forget to check out the newest from Mother Tongued. suhni

. . .Just placed onto the Tamafyhr Mountain Website at 5:29am pacific coast time is a new electronic Chapbook by Joan Payne Kincaid called Snap Shoots.   CHAPBOOKS  JOAN PAYNE KINCAID. Live a good poem... -- Kenneth P. Gurney, editor

. . . I can't tell you how invaluable your site and  Lynx have been to me.  I thank you for your generosity and  opening up the  boundaries of contemporary  oriental poetry forms; of the expansiveness  you have brought to the linked or as you call them symbiotic forms.  The scope and borderlessness of your imaginations are an inspiration. Thanks. Joan Payne Kincaid

I have published the first set of ghazals for 2004, as well as a new, brief blog. My appreciation to the fine poets represented there. I have enough poems for another group in three or four weeks, but after that, I need more submissions. So if you have some unpublished ghazals, send them my way. Also, I would really like to see relevant book or media reviews and short prose pieces. I appreciate your continued interest in The Ghazal Page. - Gino Peregrini 

A new Literary Ezine - MindFire Renewed – launched  Fiction, nonfiction, reviews, interviews, art, challenges, and of course, poetry.  Languages, translated and not. Our features - poet TE Ballard, a marriage of art and word by Danielle Jones, en español featured poet Matilde Alba Swann. Our content - stories by Niama Williams, Barry Ergang, Kelley Buzbee and Nancy Shiffrin, art by Teresa White, Patricia Jones, Carole Barley, Stephen Mead and David Bursey, photos by Liliana Muente and Ellen Blankenship, nonfiction by Christine Jeffords, Thomas Fortenberry, Maryann Hazen Stearns and.poetry by the truckload from around the world in Spanish, Italian, French, Rumanian, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali, and on the staff pages, Norse. Poetry from Alice Pero to Terry Lowenstein with stops at David Anthony, Robert Sward, Brett Hursey, Laurel Dodge, Charles Levenstein, Robert Jordan, Shaynal Horiwitz, Melody Lewis, Janet Buck, Larry Jaffe and Margaret Griffith. Announcements for an exiting feature – "In Your Own Hand", short forms in issue 3 and the Mandy Poetry Contest. In my never humble opinion, a good beginning and well worth your perusal. And special thanks to the Fireeaters - Thomas, Mary, Ryfkah, Karin, Khizra, Silvia, Marilyn, Thane, Tom and Tony - and many others who helped bring this first issue to you. Gary Blankenship


 . . . gone for the next week or so . . .  i was invited by the New York State Association of Incarcerated Education Programs to speak at the upcoming New York BOCES (board of cooperative educational services) State Conference in May 2004 regarding my work teaching haiga and haiku to prisoners . . . and to present the "Haiga & Haiku" workshop at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa before a gathering of more than 35 component educational districts, representing thousands of educators, counselors, therapists, penologists, psychologists, teachers, etc. from the greater New York metropolitan area.  . . . i've put together what i believe is a nice program, and while there's much theoretical discourse on the benefits of prison arts programs these days, i want to speak strictly from personal experience gathered over the years, to speak in a very real way, a very down-to-earth way, about the effects of the art program on prisoners . . . and the changes i've seen in tough young criminals in even just a short period of time as they begin to dig in to the art program being offered . . . anyway, i'll talk about that for a short while, and then the workshop will become interactive . . . i'll break out the paints and brushes, pass out the paper and water cups, etc. and get the folks there all involved . . . "Show 'em rather than tell 'em" . . . and put my easel up and do some demos, and in a very real way, have the folks experience first hand what the prisoners experience right in the classroom at the prison. so then, here are the latest four in the zen-bo series, i hope you enjoy them:

in every sunlit
corner of the universe . . .
without exception,
zen-bo plainly saw that there
were also swarms of black flies

having attended
a sermon on the mountain,
there was much ado
in the hobo camp . . . of course,
zen-bo hadn't heard one word

after a warm rain,
zen-bo found a huge stinkhorn . . .
"mushroom dignity"
he thought, "attested to by
a gathering of small flies"

"look!, look!" cried zen-bo
as a great musical note
rose from the hilltop . . .
but the trees were dead silent,
& the monkeys blind as bats


Greetings folks, i'm back from speaking at the New York State BOCES Conference where i conducted the Haiku & Haiga Workshop for representatives of the Association of Incarcerated Education Programs . . .
 . . . and what a genuine triumph it was in every way!
 . . . it was apple blossom time in the Hudson River Valley, and i drove for miles thru a sea of pure white waves on a stream of jet black highway up to the sheer shale cliffs and glacial lakes of Kerhonkson, where the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is located . . .
 . . . frankly, it felt like the "old days", when i traveled the nation for fifteen intense years as a professional seminar leader . . . being back in the spotlight, entering another big hotel and having the bellman take my boxes of materials to my meeting room . . . being greeted by contact people, and then being up in front of a group again . . .  it made me want to do a lot more speaking engagements . . . i've missed it . . . and my workshop could not have gone any better, it was carefully planned and timed to perfection . . . my goal statements were crystal clear, the handout was comprehensive and fun to read, the lecture part of the class was sharply focused, fast paced and packed with information, and lead in smoothly to the interactive part of the class . . . of course i did some demo paintings on big flip-charts situated on sturdy easels around the meeting room, and that's always a big hit . . .   I began with the story of a young lady who i'd encountered in my very first prison workshop five years ago . . . she was a twenty-one year old heroin addict, her troubles with the law stemmed from a terrible drug addiction, and to make it all worse, she was pregnant . . . it was especially sad because she was such a pretty little girl, and obviously a sensitive soul . . . when she attended that first haiku and haiga workshop at the Day Reporting Center of the Long Island prison system, she wrote this one line poem:  

                even her baby is in the methadone program  

 . . . her name was Kelly, and she told me that she'd been voted best artist in her graduating class in high school, and that it even said so in her year book . . . but that she hadn't touched a paintbrush in years . . . that all the things she loved had fallen by the wayside as the drugs took deeper hold of her life . . . so, i begged her to try painting something for me . . . and she did . . .  and in the following days she painted more and more, and i could see a real transformation taking place in her  . . . she was showing up right on time, and she was keeping a journal of things she'd observed and considered paint-worthy, and worthy of writing about, in one of the little notebooks i give to every prisoner student . . . and then, on the fifth day of class, she told me this: "i love this workshop, because painting and writing makes me remember a time when i was free and clean . . . "  . . . and she went on to write what has now become a model poem, and sentiment, and haiga painting hanging on the classroom wall for all other prisoners to see . . . she wrote:

                             a warm breeze
                               tells me i'm nearing
                                  a strawberry patch

 . . . and her haiga painting consisted of just one huge strawberry painted quickly on the paper, dotted with black dots, green leaves dashed in, and she signed it . . . it was like a declaration of her new optimism. (i'm very happy to say that Kelly did kick the drug habit, did graduate from the program, and is now married to a decent young fellow, some stories do have happy endings)        
 . . . this was the story i used to begin the painting demos, and how i began to show why learning haiku and haiga painting are valid and beneficial activities, and powerful tools in promoting a more positive self concept, an integral step in criminal rehabilitation . . . and i reproduced Kelly's big strawberry haiga in front of the class with a huge paintbrush on a big flipchart . . . and when that first big blast of red paint went up on that canvas, everyone turned on like electric lights  . . . and when the paint boxes and brushes and paper started being handed out by my assistants, it was just as if those serious adults, teachers and counselors, etc., became kids again . . . they were thrilled to be painting, and the session entered a new level of fun, full of conversation and sharing, and good cheer and high energy all around, very much like the phenomenon that takes place with the prisoners in the jail classroom . . .                    

                        paint boxes snap . . .
                           years and walls melt away
                              in pastel shades

   . . . truly, the whole workshop from beginning to end was a glowing success that met with rave reviews . . . and i am not exaggerating when i tell you that the people simply did not want to leave my workshop, some of them stayed in the room for a half hour more, just to keep on painting and to talk to me, giving up a half hour of their lunch time to do so . . . i was extremely gratified, and the committee members of the conference soon found out about a workshop that was just radiating excitement down in the Hudson room, the Haiku & Haiga Workshop . . . they even sent a photographer in to snap photos of me in action . . . and the written evaluations of the workshop were absolutely stellar (of course, i got copies of them all) . . . i had 30 people participating in the core workshop plus observers . . . 28 people handed in written evaluations that were supplied by the moderator at the beginning of the session . . . the evaluation sheets had 4 possible grades for 5 different categories: (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor)  . . . of the 28 evaluations turned in, 22 had straight "Excellent" across the board in all 5 categories, with equally excellent comments written in the space provided . . . on the other 6 evaluations i received "Excellent" on 4 of the 5 categories with only one "Good" on each . . . so, if i was being rated on a 4.0 scale, i guess i scored about 3.99 . . .

and after words, people came up to me throughout the entire conference to tell me they'd heard of my haiku and haiga workshop and were so sorry they'd missed it . . . others said when introduced to me, "Oh, so you're THAT fellow!" because they'd heard how fun the workshop had been (people talk, and it's amazing how word spreads) . . .

of course Dwight, committee chairperson for the conference was delighted, he'd been the one who has so deeply believed in my haiku/haiga workshop and suggested me as a presenter, and he got pats on the back and kudos for it . . .

and i'm happy to report that before i left the scene i was asked to return to next year's conference to be held at the grand Hilton in Lake Placid, NY . . . to do "something even more extensive" . . . and, the details of that will be worked out later . . .

 . . . it was a grand experience . . .  and the whole thing seemed magical from beginning to end . . .and i'll keep you apprised of things that come up as a result of this work.  Zolo

(Saga to be continued in the next issue of Lynx.)




Saturday May 22: Glasgow
nijuuin renga in the season of Spring
Master poets tbc the hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

nijuuin renga in the season of Spring Master Gerry Loose; Host Alec Finlay West Bretton, Wakefield. 11.00-17.00. Free

Monday 31st , Swaledale
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master Alec Finlay; Host Stephen Watts, Swaledale Festival. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday June 12 Glasgow
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master poet Alec Finlay hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

Sunday 20 Monday 21 June Yorkshire Sculpture Park
24 hour hyakuin renga in the season of Summer Eight poets West Bretton, Wakefield. 12.00-12.00. Performance during YSP opening hours. Free

Saturday 17 July: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master Alec Finlay; Host Alan Halsey, West Bretton, Wakefield. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday July 24: Glasgow
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master poet tbc
hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday 31 July- Sunday 1 August: Glasgow
24 hour hyakuin renga in the season of Summer Eight poets hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday 7 August: Yorkshire Sculpture Park nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master poet Alec Finlay; Host Jackie Hardy West Bretton, Wakefield. 11.00-17.00. Free

August 14  Glasgow
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master poet Alec Finlay hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday 4 September: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
nijuuin renga in the season of Summer Master poet Alec Finlay; Hosts Helen Robinson and  Fred Schofield, West Bretton, Wakefield. 11.00-17.00. Free

Saturday September 11: Glasgow
nijuuin renga in the season of Autumn Master poets tbc hidden gardens, Tramway, Glasgow. 11.00-17.00. Free

All welcome. Alec Finlay poetry circus  


2005 Tanka Calendar Competition

Sponsors: Winfred Press & Clinging Vine Press
Deadline: In-Hand deadline of July 15, 2004
Eligibility: Open to all except editors of Winfred Press, Clinging Vine Press, contest coordinator and judges
Regulations: Any number of tanka may be entered.

Tanka may be free-form or follow the traditional 5-7-5-7-7 arrangement. Although winning tanka will be published in a calendar form, seasonal words or themes are not required (but may be used). Entries must be original, in English, unpublished, and not submitted for publication or to any other contest, either in print or online. For examples of the tanka form, please visit : and/or: Tanka Society of America [or the tanka section on].

Entry fees: $5.00 for two tanka OR $12.00 for six tanka, which entitles entrant to one copy of the calendar (postpaid). Checks drawn on US banks only should be made payable to Clinging Vine Press or Linda J. Ward. Foreign entrants may send cash in US funds at their own risk. Submissions: Submit each tanka on three separate 3"x 5" cards, two with the tanka only (for anonymous judging), the third with the tanka and the author's name and address in the upper left-hand corner. Please type or print neatly. Submissions that cannot be read cannot be considered. Submit entries and fees to: Wanda D. Cook, 10 Woodlawn Road, Hadley, MA 01035-9604 USA Publication: There will be 12 winners and six commended tanka. Each of the 12 primary winning tanka will appear on one month of an illustrated wall calendar, 8½" x 11". In addition, six commended tanka will appear on a separate page which will complement a 12-month arrangement.

Awards: In addition to publication in the calendar, three top prizes will be awarded from among the 12 primary winners. First Prize: $80; Second prize: $40; Third prize: $20

All awards will be in US$. Each of the 12 primary winners will receive a copy of Full Moon Tide: The Best of Tanka Splendor 1990-1999. Adjudication: The name(s) of the judge(s) will be announced after the contest. Rights: All rights revert to the authors after publication. Correspondence: Entries cannot be returned. Please send a business size, SASE for a list of winning entries. For foreign entries, SAE and one IRC.
Linda Jeannette Ward
, P.O. Box 231, Coinjock, N.C. 27923 U.S.A. 


. . . Have been having some correspondence with renga groups in England (via Alec Findlay) that are interested in working with the hundred-link form (hyakuin), so for them I compiled the one for summer. A challenge for those hot days when you just want to swing in the hammock. \o/ Jane

Devised by Jane Reichhold following the pattern used by Sogi in his "Solo Sequence of 1492" as presented in Steven D. Carter’s The Road to Komatsubara.

1. summer

2. summer

3. autumn Moon

4. autumn

5. autumn

6. misc.

7. winter

8. winter

9. travel

10. travel

11. lamentations

12. love

13. love

14. love

15. spring Flowers

16. spring

17. spring

18. autumn Moon

19. autumn

20. autumn

21. autumn

22. winter

23. lamentations

24. lamentations

25. misc.

26. misc.

27. spring Flowers

28. spring

29. spring love

30. love

31. love

32. love

33. misc.

34. travel

35. autumn travel

36. autumn Moon

37. autumn

38. love

39. love

40. lamentations

41. lamentations

42. misc.

43. misc.

44. misc.

45. misc.

46. misc.

47. travel

48. travel

49. love

50. love

51. love

52. religion

53. religion

54. autumn Moon

55. autumn

56. autumn

57. travel

58. love

59. love

60. spring Flower

61. spring

62. spring

63. travel

64. lamentations

65. autumn Moon

66. autumn

67. autumn

68. lamentations

69. lamentations

70. misc.

71. spring Flower

72. spring

73. spring

74. travel

75. travel

76. travel

77. love

78. love

79. love

80. misc.

81. autumn Moon

82. autumn travel

83. autumn

84. travel and love

85. love

86. winter

87. winter

88. misc.

89. misc.

90. misc.

91. autumn

92. autumn Moon

93. autumn

94. misc.

95. spring Flower

96. spring

97. spring religion

98. spring religion

99. misc.

100. misc.

It is important to have a picture in one’s mind of the four "sheets" of paper on which a renga was written on in ancient Japan. Each of these four sheets had two sides and the number of links per side was divided up as:

sheet 1 side one – 8 links
two – 14 links

sheet 2 side one – 14 links
two – 14 links

sheet 3 side one – 14 links
two – 14 links

sheet 4 side one – 14 links
two – 8 links

If two people are writing, it is common that the person who writes the last link on a side, or page, also write the first link on the next side or page. This practice avoids one person getting all the three-liners.

The first link should have a mention of the season at the time the renga is begun and should be a compliment to the partner or express something of the reason for the work.

It is very important to understand the jo –ha – kyû process. This is a progression borrowed from the musical composition. For renga it means:

Jo = calm prelude, smooth, simple, not surprising. No mentions of love, lamentation, religion or travel.

Ha = experimental, vitality, using a variety of techniques and personages.

Kyû = outstanding verses, one piled upon another, swift, concluding, a "grand finish" as in music. Use of travel verses makes the kyû move faster.

Any use of moon implies the verse is in autumn unless the author indicates "spring moon" or "winter moon."

Most vital to renga that one verse not be followed by a verse with repeated or associated links. A link with "snow" should not have "icehouse" in the following one. It is in the leaps between the verses that lies the beauty of the renga. The link must be close enough for the reader to follow but far away enough to avoid a repeat.

No link, except the last one, can refer to the hokku or beginning link.

Try to avoid repeating nouns and verbs on any page. Use a thesaurus if you must. Some words should only be used once in a whole renga: woman, insect, demon.

To give the renga variety, and especially is one is writing a solo renga, the use of "masks" is vital. This means writing the verse as if spoken by someone else: an old man or woman, a nun, a young girl or boy. Occasionally use the links to have a dialogue with your partner, using the "you" form so the whole thing is not descriptive.

It is also possible to use quotes from signs or proverbs or songs or from literature to spice up the work and to serve as linkage. By mentioning a song or poem, the other partner is reminded of something else.

The love verses never admit to the joys of love in traditional renga, but there love is desire, waiting, unfulfilled, or wasting away. Thus, sex never entered the picture.

To the Japanese the concept of ji = background verses and mon = design verses is very important. This means that the renga have surrounding outstanding or design verses calm, ordinary rather blah verses so the great link becomes more outstanding. Only on the last page should each stanza be more brilliant than the previous one. If one cannot make a design verse by great wit, opulence or a surprising thought, it is possible to introduce horror, fearsome images, or shock value.

As you become more expert in renga writing consider doing what the Japanese call torinashizuke or "recasting" – this means writing the two-line by using the third line in the link above as if it is the first line. An example would be:

in the dark
a farmer guards is rice-crop
eyes wide open

eyes wide open
she comes out of the house
as if running from the devil

For me, the very most important part of doing a renga is to have fun and enjoy learning to know and work with someone else. Therefore it is important to understand in the beginning which of all these "rules" you want to use or not. In our democratic society, one partner should not be placed over the other by reminding him or her of rules, missed cues, mistakes during the writing.

Don't get into arguments of whether a spider is spring or autumn. But if you do need a reference, my saijiki is online at as A DICTIONARY OF HAIKU.

When the renga is done each partner should go over their own work making any changes or corrections. These should not interfere with the sense or link of the partner’s stanza unless it is agreed upon. After everyone has had a chance to revise, if there are places that need correction, only then should these problems be addressed in a polite and caring manner.


How to submit

Who we are

Back issues

 XIX:1 February, 2004
:XVIII:3 October, 2003

XVIII:2 June, 2003
 XVIII:1 February, 2003

XVII:3 October, 2002

XVII:2 June, 2002
XVII:1 February, 2002
XVI:3 October, 2001
XVI:2 June, 2001
XVI:1 February, 2001
XV:3 October, 2000
XV:2 June, 2000

  Copyright © by Designated Authors, 2004.
Page Copyright © by Jane Reichhold 2004.

Next Lynx is scheduled for October, 2004.

Deadline is September 1, 2004.