MAIN  →  FEATURES  →  RENSHI  →  NO CHOICE BUT TO FOLLOW  →  A FEW WORDS ON LINKED POETRY

No Choice But To Follow

A Few Words on Linked Poetry

Sunday, January 13, 2008 11:07 AM
  
<< READ PREVIOUS SETREAD NEXT SET >>
  

A Few Words on Linked Poetry

Posted by Jean Toyama
Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:07 AM



Linked poems or verse come from the classical Japanese tradition called “renga,” or “renku”. The modern version, “renshi,” was created and popularized by Japanese poet Makoto Ooka. Whether followed by the kanji for song (ga), verse (ku), or poetry (shi), the expression is always preceded by the character “ren” which can be translated as link, connect, join, and group. While specifically pertaining to the thing produced, it also pertains to the process. For it is not only the linking of verses but the connecting of poets, that is important. The solitary poet of the West is contrasted with the community of poets of renshi. A competition of sorts—each poet wonders what the next poet will be able to do with the last line she has tossed her comrade—it is also a collaborative act.

Juliet Lee, Ann Inoshita, and Christy Anne Passion and I will be connecting each month through a poem—four each month for every month of 2008. The title of each of our poems will be taken from the last line of the preceding poem. We do this in celebration of the 30 years of Bamboo Ridge.

We are writing together, waiting together, watching together. We hope you are too.

Jean Toyama




<< READ PREVIOUS SETREAD NEXT SET >>