For the past few weeks, Joe Llewellyn (FlatFrogHaiku) Lolly Williams (Look for a Lovely Thing), Mark M. Redfearn and I have been participating in a virtual renga party, hosted by FlatFrogHaiku. Below is the renga chain we created. Joe got the ball rolling with the first verse and the poem made the rounds, via email, until it was finished. It was a fun challenge with a few surprises along the way!
Briefly, a renga chain has multiple verses, alternating three lines and two and written by different poets. (In Japanese the syllable count would be 5-7-5 then 7-7, although, in English, the counting of syllables is less important.) The goal is to echo the previous poet’s verse without repeating a word and to shift the focus to another subject at the same time. There are quite a few more rules and some of these poems, written centuries ago, have hundreds of verses.