A I K U S P
I R I T
A renku is a collective poetry composition, a collaborative linked
Renku, and its parent genre Renga, go back nearly a thousand years as a
tradition in Japanese poetry, reaching its zenith with Matsuo Basho in
the 17th century.
It is a sequence of linked verses (usually 36 in Basho’s time),
composed by a group of poets writing alternately long and short verses
(of 17 and 14 syllables respectively, when written in Japanese).
Traditionally the poets would follow certain codes and rules: each
verse might have a set theme, or season; certain stanzas should mention
the moon or flowers, or different aspects of human nature and
philosophy. Such rules have more or less been generally adopted or
adapted in the practice of renku in the West.
While for many, haiku is considered as “the poetry of the truth” (i.e.
written from a real experience), renku has more to do with fiction and
story-telling, with the possible exception of the first verse (hokku)
which is technically a haiku. The participants are required to invent
events, evoke emotions and moments, and the use of the first person
does not necessarily imply the poet but rather the part played within
the narration. Renku fully tolerates fiction and imagination.
When completed, a renku should offer a mosaic of images and emotions
expressing a broad range of themes, subjects and moods that are
independently addressed or treated by each verse.
Click here to consult the full guidelines to
compose a renku