Friday, May 04, 2012

The Poetry Sisters Play at Renku

Poetry sisters Tanita , Sara, Laura, and Liz , Kelly, Trisha and I have been playing a game called Renku. It's an old Japanese haiku game of round robin, or, as Sara called it "Daisy Chain" haiku. Each person adds a stanza that is linked to the one before and also contains a shift of some sort. There is always a season reference, which moves through the stanzas. The end returns to the beginning in a circle. We have had some fun playing with layers of story in our Daisy Chain. The stanzas alternate between three lines of about 17 syllables to two lines of about 14 syllables. You can read more about Renku and it's development in Japan in the 17 c. here and here. I've linked the authors of the following poem to their blogs in the initials following their stanzas. Please be sure to visit the Poetry Sister's blogs and let them know how much you enjoyed it! Today's Friday Poetry round up is hosted by Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.

The Poetry Sisters' Daisy Chain

fall leaf in April
wearing last season's fashions--
shunned by the green crowd                           lps

nature’s first green is gold
progeny emerge in flame                                aj   

white melts into green
gardens blush Crayola proud  
blooming shades of spring                              tsh

strolling down the pebble path
rose-cheeked dreamer lost in thought            aj

palest pink dogwood
April breezes whisper by
petals flutter down                                          kf

ink dries on palest pages
garden rows plow down sillion                       aj

Brash green garter snake
Hoe laid beside June daisies
Book and tart limeade                                   sh

serpent jewel, puckered words,
work abandoned, glory claimed                    aj

afternoon drifts by                                      
wispy clouds, half-closed eyelids
distant playground sounds                              lps

cloud congestion, dully pewter
petrichor from distant patters                       td

tapped on leaden skies                                td
rain’s persistent percussion
arrhythmic ad lib   

a morse-code chicken scratch                     lgs
a fresh start too hard to resist

the rain leaves its mark --                             lgs
such an inscrutable plot
begs to be re-read

red again so soon and down
persimmon fingers shiver                             aj


Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for sharing, Andi! I enjoy the shift in senses from all that color to the sound of rain at the end. (It's thundering out my window this morning as I tap this.) Kudos to the participants. A haiku friend has just been part of one of these, and I'm going to try it one of these days, too.

laurasalas said...

Aw, we done good! Sorry I was absent during editing--chaos has been my constant companion! The wispy clouds haiku is mine--I did that before we put our initials by things and hadn't seen it since...

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thanks Laura, I edited and updated those initials. Your starting haiku was such a good lead!

Liz Steinglass said...

So fun! I really felt time passing as I was reading. It was like reliving the spring.

I definitely want to try!

tanita✿davis said...

Yay! I'm excited that I correctly identified Laura's - it "felt" like her. It's weird when you've written poetry with someone for so long that you can tell even their haiku by feel.

The joy of this reminded me that we need to make time to do it more often.

Sara said...

It turned out pretty good for a mad rough and tumble scrum of players, didn't it? I'm pleased to be a tiny part of this. Mwah! to you, Andi, for leading us to the game!

Author Amok said...

Beautiful. I love that rose-cheeked dreamer. Have you tried the linked haiku with students? I wonder if that would make a good class poetry project.

laurasalas said...

This WAS fun! I really like the immediacy of just spilling it out on the page. It's a game--doesn't have to be perfect. Love seeing all our voices together!

Tanita, that is too funny. Our next project should be another collaboration where we don't identify who did which stanzas and we see if we can stump our readers who know us:>)

Linda B said...

I just commented on Laura's blog. Wonderful to see this, & I will share the idea with teachers I work with. It's so lovely to see the movement & to pinpoint the change as you explained Andi. Thanks everyone!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Yes I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students. Drop it as a game and see if they run with it. Maybe make a graffiti wall and leave markers around? Or do it in social media like Twitter, FB, blogs?

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Another great idea for a poem project this Poetry Friday! I would have to create small groups, I think, and spend some time explaining and showing examples of the form. But...what fun it could be!

Anonymous said...

Love seeing it all together!

Donna Smith said...

That so looks like fun! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I love when you all do these joint poetry projects.

I'm Jet . . . said...

Looks like your fun collaboration yielded great results! It must have been interesting to see what your sisters followed with.

Book and tart limeade indeed. I CANNOT wait for sunshine and warm weather. We've been socked in with rain all week here in New Hampshire.


Norman Darlington said...

Hi Sisters, I really enjoyed your poem and the comments on each of the participants' blogs. It's pretty clear you had lots of fun with this!

If you (or anyone reading this) want to take your renku-writing a step further, my partner and I host an online spot called The Renku Group with about two dozen active members of various level of expertise who are all very friendly and welcoming. It's at

We also publish the annual Journal of Renga & Renku which you can read all about at

Mary Lee said...

Oh, my!
I'm gasping!
That shift from re-read to red again at the end is a moment of pure perfection. I love the rest, but that is my favorite part. The shift.
Ladies, you rock. Thanks for sharing your poetry and your fun and your giddy happiness at the beauty you made together.

Ruth said...

This is fabulous, and I bet it was SO much fun.