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RENKU: linked collaborative verses: TRIPARSHVA 3

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Sabaki (lead poet) - Linda Papanicolaou




8th JUNE 2022


Thank you for all the wonderful offers for our Wakiku. I am really enjoying seeing your Subcontinent saijiki in practice. The special power of season words is that they are not simply weather reports or boxes to check on a calendar—they are windows into the emotion of the poem. That is certainly the feeling that your writing evokes.

In the comments for the previous thread, Sanjuktaa asked a very important question about the reference to “all the flavours of summer / on a dining table” in the Hokku.

Doesn't that refer to food already, though not very explicitly? Can we again mention food in different forms in the very next verse?

I had been planning to address this at some point so I’m glad to have it brought up now.

The answer will be a qualified yes. In renku the overarching principle is always to be moving forward, so guidelines have developed about “persistence” and “avoidance”—how many verses a topic may be continued and, once it is dropped, how many verses should pass before it is taken up again. Persistence and avoidance durations generally range from 2 to 5 verses.

The Hokku is special, so once we’re past the Wakiku we will avoid everything in it. Right now, the references to food in people’s offers are okay as they support the Hokku and come at the topic in a varied way. We don’t want too much of a broad link from Hokku to Wakiku, but the linking will be much wider in the Ha section when the “party” gets in full swing.


As I have said, every verse, even those that are not actually placed, becomes part of the unwritten renku. You may call it the collective mind of those of us participating. For me, it often feels like this is the poem’s way of telling us what it wants. This time it is saying to me, quite insistently, that it wants a mango verse, and since the Wakiku is the last time summer will appear in our Renku, it is our last chance. Between offers for the Hokku and the Wakiku, we have had in a basket of the fruit, mango pickle, a variety of chutneys, and a tangy lassi that leaves a moustache on the upper lip.

Of all of them, I am going to select Kala’s verse, for two reasons: The first is the lovely addition of a neighbor who has brought a dozen ripened mangoes as a housewarming gift. The second is because the Wakiku’s function is to support the Hokku without overshadowing it. By adding to and deepening the Hokku, the two verses become one. As we move on, the space between verses will be larger, but for this link, Kala’s verse has hit the “sweet spot.”

All the verses were beautiful. Please put them back “in your sleeves” because with a bit of editing for a different season or for a non-season verse, we may yet have use for them.

This is our Renku thus far.

house warming …

all the flavours of summer

on a dining table / Firdaus Parvez

a dozen ripened mangoes

from the neighbour next door / Kala Ramesh


Following this wonderful pairing will be our Daisan, a 3-line verse, that is also called the “leap away” verse because it is the first time we will encounter renku linking in its real form. Let me explain:

Those of you who participate in the Tanka Take Home board will recognize that the 5-line pattern of short/long/short/long/long lines seems very like a Tanka. Yes indeed – actually, at this point we have a Tan Renga, an early form of linked verse that is essentially a 2-part collaborative tanka. The earliest preserved example we have is in the 8th century Man'yōshū. By the 14th century, collaborative linked poems led by professional renga masters in the great feudal courts might reach lengths of 100 verses or more, though the pattern was the same: alternating 3 and 2 line verses in an S/L/S L/L rhythm.

Renku as we write them today is shorter and simpler, though we still follow some of the conventions of those early Renga—seasons, the placement of special topics such as Moon and Blossom, and the short/long/short long/long verse rhythm. There is also a requirement that the renku will always be moving forward and not turning backward. This accomplished by a single, all-important dictum: Link to the previous verse, move away from the verse before it. As you get accustomed to this concept, I’ll give you a very specific list of things we need in the Daisan.

  1. Three lines in S/L/S pattern. Aim for approximately 14-15± syllables to balance with the hokku and wakiku.

  2. No kire/cut. In fact, in Renku, only the Hokku has a cut. From now on, 3-line verses should be a single phrase arranged across three lines. When you’re accustomed to writing haiku, this will feel strange at first, but if you have difficulty, we’ll help you.

  3. No season. As you’ll see by looking at our template in the first week’s post, half of the verses in a Renku are non-seasonal. They form a transitional buffer between the season verses. To make sure you have not accidentally included a season word, consult not only the Subcontinent saijiki but also the other saijikis I gave you: 500 Essential Japanese Season Words (, Yuki Teikei Haiku Society’s season word list (, and the Worldkigo Database, (

  4. Link to the previous verse. Move the renku forward by shifting away from the verse before it. Imagine that it’s a two-line upper verse of a Tan Renga. How would you complete it, picking up just from what you see and feel in the Wakiku while also avoiding anything that’s in the Hokku—house, dining table, or food.

In summary, we need a 3-line, non-season verse of around 14-15± syllables, without a kire / cut. It should be outdoors or in an indeterminate place, have people in it, and should not include food.

Each participant may offer two submissions, posted together in the same comment, with your name as you would like it to appear in the renku. Instructions for submitting remain as last time.

The deadline is 48 hours from now. We follow Indian Standard Time (IST).

This POST will go up on Wednesday 8 June at 6 A.M. So on 10 June at 6 A.M, the window closes (IST). All Daisan offers must be posted on this thread BEFORE 6 A.M on 10 JUNE.

If you want to check the schema ... here is the link:

................................... The renku is warming up!! Join the fun. Thanks a lot, Linda for your time, effort and knowledge.


327 views56 comments


Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Jun 10, 2022

This window has closed for new poems. We can keep commenting on the poems already posted, of course! See you all tomorrow morning with Linda's chosen daisan and the call for the 4th verse.


Thank you Linda for the detailed and interesting explanations. Congratulations Firdaus and Kala for their beautiful verses being chosen. It has given such a warm start to this renku. Have enjoyed reading the offerings in the first two calls. How innovative! This time giving it a go... As Kala ma'am pointed out nothing much to lose and so much fun to play:)

a hawker pushes

his handcart down the road

crying out "bangles"

shirts are baskets

as children wait for the boy

to shake the tree


Firdaus Parvez
Firdaus Parvez
Jun 09, 2022

Don’t know if I can participate, but here are my two offerings: a soft thud of the morning paper hitting the porch morning sounds of the distant traffic and a hawker’s call


Congrats for Kala!! Thanks, Linda, for the explanations

my proposals:

in the pocket

a reserve of tablets

for acidity


the fructose intolerance

that peeps out

few gates away

a big motorcycle

starts roaring

Replying to

Acidity and fructose intolerance would be disease/medicine topics, Margherita. We try to avoid negative topics on the opening side, but they are both good possibilities for the Ha side. Hang onto them till later.


Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Jun 09, 2022

I think the daisan being a cut away verse - you should cut away from the hokku/daisan pair.

This is talking about home and family etc ... So getting a verse about children is too close to daisan and housewarming - I feel. I could be wrong! Linda? Have people (Linda wanted that) but stay away from the vicinity of this house! Secondly, my spelling check tells me that housewarming is one word.

Marcie Wessels
Marcie Wessels
Jun 09, 2022
Replying to

I went a little too far away with my first attempts when I mentioned strangers and travel and far away friends.

Finding the sweet spot is tough but this is a really fun learning opportunity!

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