RENKU: linked collaborative verses: TRIPARSHVA 4

Sabaki (lead poet) - Linda Papanicolaou




11th JUNE 2022

Good Morning!

Before we come to the matter of choosing a Daisan, let me say once again that it is a pleasure reading the verses everyone is submitting. There is such poetry in all of them. Whether they eventually find their place in the written renku or not, they are all poems that would not have come into being but for our collaboration here. Do keep your collection and take the unused verse home “in your pocket” when we are finished.

Some important questions came up on the previous thread about season words that may not work for some of us, and about linking and shifting. For the discussion about the season, I’ll refer you to my response then. (

As for linking and shifting, I have also said a bit about repetition and variation— how long you can keep a topic going, and, once a topic is dropped, how long until you can take it up again. Much of the poetry in a renku—what makes us want to read a renku that we were not involved in composing—lies in this kind of flow across verses.

Unless we’re writing for a competition, they are guidelines, not rules, and different sabakis may exercise discretion differently. If you know already that you’re hooked on renku and want to start studying on your own, here are three resources that I have found useful:

‘Link and Shift: A Practical Guide to Renku Composition,” by Tadashi Shôkan Kondô and William J. Higginson, online at Renku Home: Even before I became involved with renku, I loved this article for what it taught me about haiku. Be sure to read clear to their Conclusions at the bottom.

“Preface to a choice for verse 7, The Renku Sessions: Imachi – Week 8” This was the post for an 18-verse renku I led in 2018 at The Haiku Foundation. It was later in that renku than we are in this one, and I see I was more thorough in my explanation.

“Intermissions” in John E. Carley’s Renku Reckoner ( 2015) online at Google Books. This is his “Durations/Intermissions” chart, showing how many verses we might to continue a topic, and how many verses should lapse before we take it up again:

Generally, I’ll take care of these things and tell you what’s needed/what to avoid, keeping it as simple as I can without impeding your creative responses. Please do ask questions if ever you feel I have not adequately explained.


In the previous thread calling for offers for Daisan, Kala raised a question of whether a verse about children is too close to housewarming, given that the daisan is our break-a-way verse. I answered at that time that no, the offers that I was seeing come in felt right to me and linked nicely. Let me go deeper into that rationale with a bit of discussion about what I’ve variously called “persistence/avoidance” or “duration/intermission”. This is the principle that you may—depending on the topic and the kind of renku you’re writing—continue a topic through subsequent verses, but then when you drop that topic, a certain number of verses should pass before you take it up again. Consider this:

In the Hokku, we have an implied domestic setting—either a dining room or a dining table set up on the terrace, and the information that it is a housewarming party. No people are actually depicted.

In the Wakiku, we have a next-door neighbor bringing fresh mangoes. It’s reasonably implied that she has been admitted to the house, or is at the door, but there is no actual depiction of the house.

For the Basho school, verses could be person or place. Verses with humans in them are person verses; verses without humans—even if they depict a built environment like a house—are place verses (Kondo and Higginson, “Link and Shift”, op. cit) . Thus, in our renku, we have a place verse for the Hokku, and a person verse for the Wakiku. For the next verse, we cannot go back to a place verse or we have reverted to the leap-over verse. The Daisan must be a person verse.

Similarly, indoor and outdoor settings should change with reasonable frequency, though they too should avoid reverting to the leap-over verse (Kondo and Higginson, “Link and Shift”, op. cit). While neither our Hokku nor our Wakiku explicitly says that they’re indoors—they could take place on a terrace, in a garden or on the front porch, but both are clearly within domestic premises and I think they should be considered indoors.

We could perhaps have continued with a third indoor verse, but that felt to me like putting the airplane into a stall, which is why I called for a non-seasonal Daisan that is outdoors and that includes people.

As if these criteria were not complicated enough, we also have the constraint that once we get past the Wakiku, for the remainder of the renku we honor the Hokku by not repeating anything of its imagery: no more domestic buildings, or furniture, and probably also not food or flavors. In addition, the Hokku’s season reference names “summer,” and you can name the season only once in a renku.

I did not specify further and waited eagerly for what you would come up with. I was delighted that several of you came back with verses of children playing noisy games out in the street because it indicated that this was exactly what the renku wanted.

Of these, again there is one that seemed to me to hit the “sweet spot,” and that is Priti’s verse about street children rolling a bicycle tyre. Isn’t it amazing how creative and inventive children can be with the simplest things! “Street kids” takes out decisively outside the domestic sphere of the first two verses; their “gleeful shouts” bring in sound, and by a stroke of fortune the children have found a cast-off part from someone’s bike. For me, this last detail is the link to the neighbor’s gift of mango in the Wakiku.

This is the renku so 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

the gleeful shouts

of street kids rolling

a bicycle tyre / Priti Aisola

What I love about it is that in three verses we sketched life in a neighborhood that may nominally be in India but really has a universal quality that people in communities around the world will find familiar. If Triparshva were a themed form like Rengay or a haiku series, we could continue in this vein. But renku is not a themed form and so at this point, we really do have to have that wider shift that Kala was talking about.


With each call for verses from now on I will only give you the two most recent verses. Link to the lower verse, and shift away from the verse above it.

a dozen ripened mangoes

from the neighbour next door

the gleeful shouts

of street kids rolling

a bicycle tyre

Requirements for Verse 4:

Two lines of approximately 14-16 syllables total, non-seasonal, and outdoors.

No houses, buildings or architectural features, nor fruit or food.

It is your choice whether to make it a place or person verse. If it is a place verse, consider the cinematic techniques of pan or zoom out, giving us an overall picture of the wider locale or landscape. If it is a person verse it should not depict one single person. First-person plural (“we”) might be a nice option.

The verse that follows this one is a winter moon verse. Let your creativity flow and don’t force your ideas, but I will be looking for a verse that leaves an opening for a moon verse.

These are just suggestions if you’re stuck, though. Don’t let me prescribe what you should write. You probably have wonderful ideas that I haven’t even thought of What do you see as the next verse?

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 Saturday 11 June at 6 A.M. So on 13 June at 6 A.M, the window closes (IST). All 4th verse offers must be posted on this thread BEFORE 6 A.M on 13 JUNE.

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

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