XIX:3 October, 2004

A Journal for Linking Poets    
In these letters:

Susumu Takiguchi welcomes Jane and Werner as Joint Editor-in-Chief of World Haiku Review

Karina, along with Sheila  Windsor and Cindy Tebo explains a linked tanka form they have invented.

Richard Stevenson elaborates on his work in this issue of Lynx and adds his bio.

Marlene Mountain explains the new renga form she did with Sheila Windsor.

T. Ashok Chakravarthy introduces himself to Lynx readers.

Gino makes a new discovery while studying the ghazal and suggests how to use it in combination with other genres.

Werner Reichhold explains his work, "Two Complementary Stories" and the forms he was working with in this piece.

EF writes to inform us of her web articles on the ghazal and tanka forms. Also she includes a very funny (and telling) story of her encounters with Nick Vergilio as a substitute teacher.

Hal Hamilow writes to report the death of his wife, Sumiko, an admired writer and translator of tanka.

Larry Kimmel and Werner Reichhold exchange letters about their work.

Yasuhiro Kawamura reports on Hatsue's condition since her stroke on June 6th.

Angela Leuck invites readers to send her haiku on the subject of either roses or jazz for upcoming books from Shoreline Press.

Pamela Miller Ness invites subscribers to her new tanka magazine - red lights and gives all the information for joining.

Zolo sends a report of his experience of giving haiga demonstrations in prison.

  paul conneally reports on the plans to write renga as a 24-hour performance piece at the Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art with 12 other poets. He includes the notes by Alec Finlay and a copy of the renga form they used.

(Hint to those who print out the Lynx pages: If you set your paper orientation to horizontal you will get the full page of these text pages.)

Dear Jane and Werner,  Today is an important and happy day for me because of your appointment of Joint Editor-in-Chief of World Haiku Review. It is so for the World Haiku Club as well, and without exaggeration also a little bit for the world haiku community as a whole. Therefore, I am opening a bottle of Champagne (a good excuse any day) to celebrate your assuming the positions and to welcome you most warmly to the World Haiku Club! Even if we cannot drink together because of the geographical difference we can toast together in spirit. Hip, hip, hooray!  - Susumu Takiguchi

. . . Then to explain the form of our tankatriad: There are nine verses ...each participant decides randomly on order of poets/each poet having three verses.

2. Line Verse  - In the first triad ...can be any subject
4- Four Line Tanka -"the root verse"  a light whimsical verse deciding a theme from the first verse.
6- Six Line Tanka - up to  34 syllable tanka that develops the ideas /theme in the previous verse    and brings the Triad to a conclusion.

The Second Part of the Triad begins
2. Line Verse - links back to the two line verse in the first triad and shifts topics.
4- Four Line Tanka- "the root verse" a light whimsical verse choosing a new theme from the previous two line verse.
6- Six Line Tanka - usual range 34-44 syllables but ultimately the counts are left up to the authors.
This tanka develops the new topic and brings it to a conclusion.

The Third Triad
2. Line Verse links back to previous two line verse and introduces a new topic
4. Line Verse- "the root verse" determines the theme
6. Line Verse develops theme and concludes it . This last Tankatriad should loop back to the beginning of the series.

Each section of the Tankatriad does not "have to be written in order of 2-4-6 it can be switched mirrored etc. but the two line verse needs to link to the previous two line verse. As with all rules, these are only guidelines. - Karina, along with Sheila  Windsor and Cindy Tebo


. . . It's been a while since I sent you anything; thought I'd try you with a sequence of haiku that came out of my time at South Country Fair in Fort MacLeod, Alberta, this past weekend. The South Country Fair is an annual music festival with two music stages and one poetry stage that runs from the Friday night to Sunday afternoon, the third weekend in July, at the Fish and Game park grounds just outside Fort MacLeod, Alberta. Acts rotate every hour, so there are dozens of performers and all kinds of music -- folk, jazz, blues, rock, alternative, worldbeat, zydeco -- you name it -- and some 3500 people of all ages attend, on day passes, on weekend passes, evening performance passes, etc.  Many people camp out and take advantage of the cool river flowing through the site, or sell hippy paraphernalia in the outdoor mall -- candles, hemp clothes, didgeridoos, scarves, dresses, jewelry, etc. -- or various food items. The whole event is wonderful, and I try to make it every year.  Here is a sequence of haiku from this year's observations. - Richard Stevenson

PS. And here's my current bio statement: Richard Stevenson has read to enthusiastic audiences across the country and is the author of seventeen full-length collections of poetry, plus a CD of original jazz and poetry with jazz/poetry troupe Naked Ear.  Recent titles include A Murder of Crows: New & Selected Poems (Black Moss Press, 1998), Nothing Definite Yeti (YA verse, Ekstasis Editions, 1999), Live Evil: A Homage To Miles Davis (Thistledown Press, 2000), Hot Flashes: Maiduguri Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka (Ekstasis Editions, 2001), Take Me To Your Leader! (YA Verse, Bayeux Arts, 2003), and A Charm of Finches (haiku, senryu, and tanka, Ekstasis Editions, 2004). Parrot With Tourette's is forthcoming from Black Moss Press in their Palm Poets series and A Tidings of Magpies is forthcoming from Spotted Cow Press.  He regularly reviews poetry and fiction, and periodically runs adult and young adult workshops.  He holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from The University of Victoria and University of British Columbia and teaches Canadian Literature, Creative Writing, Composition, and Business Communication at Lethbridge Community College in southern Alberta. Originally from Victoria, BC, he currently lives in Lethbridge, Alberta.


. . . here's a linked piece for your consideration in lynx.  we did it a bit differently.  the pattern. and we also attempted to write 'nature nature' content in one section then comments about 'the world' in next. then back to 'nature nature' and so on. an interesting experience especially since we needed to write to our own links more often. thanks for reading. -  Marlene Mountain


. . . Having come across your site, I submit hereunder two original-unpublished Ghazals, for your kind consent. I am sure, you will go through the poems and do the needful accordingly. Regarding myself, a poet hailing from India, I am aged 43 yrs., composed nearly 1000 poems during the past two decades and presently employed with a "Government -Partnered State Co-op Bank" at Hyderabad City, India. While wishing to have a long-lasting association, I assure to contribute more poems in the days to come.  T. Ashok Chakravarthy


. . . I trust you and Jane have had a good summer and are doing well. We've had a good summer--I didn't teach, for once, so I had a lot of "free" time. I never seem to do everything I think I can, though. Our house--a 19th century, two-story, nine-room, frame building--is being repainted, with a lot of repair done as well. It will look great when finished. I may put some photos on my web site. The piece I'm submitting--"Paint Chips"--is pasted in below. It's the third thing I've done in this form, which I'm tentatively calling "ghazal-prose." It adapts the haibun to use a ghazal couplet (a "fard") instead of a haiku. Lynx earlier published a prose piece with a couple of sijo ("Arctic Air" [XVI:3, October 2001]), so I thought you might be interested in this one. In reading a book on Ghalib, I discovered the idea of the isolated ghazal couplet--the fard. There are several in Ghalib's work. Anyway, eventually, it occurred to me to combine that isolated sher with a piece of prose. There are two in my 2004 blog on The Ghazal Page, and now there's this one. I'm hoping others will take up the idea. Using a form other than haiku (such as a tanka, sijo, fard) offers different possibilities of tonality and theme. I hope you like this piece. - Gino


. . . Notes on my piece "Two Complementary Short Stories": One can't help but to admire the highly calculated links and shifts reflecting here the Chess players' ability to adaptations in a similar way as we are all asked for in everyday situations. At the same time, doesn't one feel that those lines somehow fulfill most of our expectations about writing a poetic sequence? Please look at the 'leaps,' deconstruct where and when they come into effect. In this game, done by partners, and likewise elsewhere experienced by persons catastrophically in love and put on the spot, still hesitating to decide for a move but finally almost absent-minded, paralyzed acting, and becoming a mate or getting 'mate' - do they react by choice, or not quite? (A  double short story exercises two stories as appearing integrated by strong shifts or leaps, thematically or otherwise composed. A modification of this term would be called a short story sequence, referring to three or more stories combined and equally characterized only through the way they are linked by techniques solely invented by the author. In case two or more authors offer stories related in any possible new way, then the work can be named symbiotic short stories. All three forms can occur as such or varied by integrating verses of any existing genre or new ones. To make the occurrence of those forms even more sophisticated and spiritually enlarged, one may think of integrating- but not adding, please- pictures of all kinds of visually media or well, sound components, in case one wants to burn a CD. A writer more orientated toward Japanese literature, defining haibun as 'a journal of a journey plus verse', may feel tickled to create a double haibun. Or in case of a modification, when three ore more haibun appear integrated by strong shifts and leaps, thematically or otherwise organized, one can call it a "haibun sequence."  If several authors prefer to work together, then the term "symbiotic haibun" could be applied.) - Werner Reichhold

. . . You may be interested in seeing the lesson plans I've designed for the National Endowment for the Humanities' website, "EDsitement."  These lessons complement classroom studies, and teachers can consult them for reliable online resources.  Among the lessons I've written for them, I have one to teach ghazals and one for tanka.  I'm currently working on lessons for other Asian forms including the haibun, the luc-bat and song-that-luc-bat, and the lu-shih.
--Guzzle a Ghazal and --Tanka? You're Welcome!
 As you can see, your AHA resources are invaluable to me as a classroom teacher.  I greatly appreciate your work. As a side note, it may amuse you to learn that when I was in high school in Audubon, New Jersey, one of our substitute teachers for a brief season was Nick Virgilio.  He was an odd little troll.  Regardless of the topic he was called to fill in for, he threw out the emergency plans and taught haiku.  Quite kinetic and rabidly enthusiastic, he once beaned me in the forehead with a chalk eraser to demonstrate "the experience of the moment."  I'm afraid that incident -- or rather, the huge gash in my forehead as a result of that incident -- was the cause of his dismissal as a substitute teacher in our schools.  Ironically, some 25 years later, my husband became a United Methodist pastor of a small church in Camden, NJ, where one of the prominent members was an active member of Virgilio's Haiku Society, helping to print and publish his newsletter (I think it was called Frog Pond?) and composing haiku of her own (although I think technically they were senryu).  Nick's brother Tony was a good friend of the church, and we got together often at church social functions; he's a wonderful man.  In your work, did you ever have the opportunity to meet Nick?  I'd be interested in your views of his work.  I understand he was highly regarded in Japan, or was that merely good press he received here in New Jersey? Ef


Jane, My wife, Sumiko passed away May 28th at dawn. I'd like to think she waited until after she heard the robin's morning song before she started off on her new adventure. - Hal Hamlow


Dear Werner, Thank you for your notice of my tanka in The Tanka Journal. I don't know why I didn't send there years ago. My hope is that this will extend my audience. Writing is after all, in part, about sharing. I was impressed with your own work in the same issue, "Colors of No Choice." I am trying myself to take the themes of tanka into new areas, so it is good to see what you and a few other are doing. New themes, new means of expressing old themes. On Saturday I went to the HSA meeting in Boston, and stayed overnight with my son. I was asked to read from The Tanka Journal with several others from here on the east coast. I also read Carol Purington's work. It was a small group of about 20 to 25 persons. From my stand point the reading went well. I read on the Yahoo Tanka Group mail last night the very distressing news about Hatsue, I assume this is Hatsue Kawamura. Is there any further news of her condition? My best to you and Jane. Larry Kimmel

Dear Larry, Thank you so much for your response. Yes, indeed, in many ways you and I are on the same path. I wanted to add something to my last letter when I talked about your tanka in The Tanka Journal. I wanted to ask you if I mentioned to you a book that was of great importance to me about fifteen years ago when I started to write haiku and tanka sequences: The Modern Poetic Sequence, by M.L.Rosenthal and Sally M.Gail, Oxford University Press. Price was $11. So in case you don't know the book or don't want to spend the money for it, I offer to loan the book to you for as many months as you want to study it. (Basically the first 60 of the 500 pages say everything that's important). May I tell you that even though that since 30 years I read here and there in Newspapers or magazines some of Jacques Derrida's work, something made me feel I missed reading more of this philosopher's ideas about 'deconstruction.' Now, Larry I can not tell you how very much I learned especially from a book containing several lectures of his performed since 1967. In English translation, you can find it on , titled The Script And The Difference', in French titled L'ecriture et la difference' ( to follow all of his complicated thoughts; I myself read his books only in German.) Again, I would recommend this book to anybody concerned with literature. No, we didn't here more about Hatsue Kawamura's condition. One of her sons, living in the States, said he will keep us informed. Hatsue now is in a coma for the third weak. I wrote to her husband Hiro, but right now he is not capable to answer letters. Werner.

. . . It is now three months and two weeks since Hatsue suffered a stroke. She still has not awakened. Sometimes she opens her eyes but makes no other movement. I visit her every day. I exercise her arms and play music for her. Soon they will move her to another hospital. Yasuhiro Kawamura

. . .  in a letter from  Angela Lueck, is this request for : Rose Haiku:  Shoreline invites submissions for Rose Haiku, the next in its series of "flower" anthologies.  Haiku (or tanka) about roses may be previously published, but include publication info. Submission deadline: November 1, 2004. Email, or mail to Angela Leuck, Associate Editor, Shoreline Press, 4807 rue de Verdun, Montreal, Quebec  H4G 1N2. And for: Jazz Haiku:  Shoreline invites submissions of haiku (and tanka) for its upcoming anthology: Jazz Haiku.  Poems need not refer specifically to jazz, but should be inspired by listening to or playing jazz.  Submission deadline: December 1, 2004.  Email or mail to Angela Leuck,Shoreline Press, 4807 rue de Verdun, Montreal, Quebec  H4G 1N2.

. . . announcing a new tanka journal - red lights - with Pamela Miller Ness as Editor. You are cordially invited to become a charter subscriber to red lights. Annual subscriptions include two issues (January and June). $10. US, $13 Canada, $15. elsewhere. Payment is accepted by check in US$ or cash. Pamela Miller Ness, 33 Riverside Drive, Apt. 4 - G, New York, NY 10023-8025 USA

 .  . . another of the tales from my prison gigs, but a significant one because it lead to my being asked to speak at the state conference this year . . . the workshops had been making quite a splash . . . so, some of the officials, administrators, etc. decided to come see for themselves . . . anyway, this bit of writing, posted to the teapot last year, documents that particular session before the prisoners got started on their own paintings. - Zolo

Back From The Prison Gig . . . The Saga Continues . . .

. . . it seems like such a long time . . . just got back  from another long gig at the state prison on Long Island, haiku and haiga workshops . . . and for me, "coming back home" always means in part, coming back to the Teapot, to the haiku poets on our list . . .  it's good to see all your names here . . . and just in case anyone doesn't know it, we really do have a list of the best haiku poets working in the field today, the pioneers and the new wave . . .and i believe we're lucky to see fine work being posted here all the time, regularly in fact . . . poems good enough to win contests or to be in any of the best publications . . .
i do want to tell you a bit about the prison workshops, but before i do i want to thank everyone who was kind enough to mention my last series of poems, "it just can't shake" . . .
i've mentioned in past postings how the classroom on long island is set up with a big central rectangle of 4' X 6' tables all clustered together . . . and that the "prisoners" sit all around it, twenty or more of them . . . and this time was no different, except that this time there were quite a few visiting officials from BOCES . . . teachers, and counselors and psychologists, and administrators . . . all there to see for themselves what this "haiga/haiku thing is all about" . . .

i should mention that there were some of my old students there . . . Jason was there, you might remember him, he wrote:

even behind bars
   the sound of piano
      is so soothing

 . . . but not Mike, unfortunately, Mike screwed up big time, and now he's upstate at a tougher program . . . funny, his haiku from the last gig seems somehow prophetic now:

a moment ago
   there was a moose
      in that pool

. . . Lalainia is doing well, i know you couldn't forget her, and she's now part of the Day Reporting Center, goes home every night, sleeps in her own bed . . . and she's a lot happier . . .  she came to visit me,  and i told her about your comments on her painting and verse, and sheila, i gave her the poem you wrote for her . . . she just smiled and said, "tell them all i said thanks" . . . i was happy to see her looking so dressed up . . . she's allowed to wear street clothes on her "check ins" . . .

i think it's important to mention that long island was in the midst of a genuine heat wave the whole time i was there . . . temperatures went close to 100 degrees every day . . . that's the setting, and on the island, it means a lot . . . everyone is affected by it, no one can escape it . . .

 . . . since there were so many folks to deal with, it was important to me to "give 'em a show" . . . so, i hung twenty huge flip-charts around the classroom . . . and used my plastic squirt bottles of paint . . . and filled my palette in the most dramatic way, and lost myself in a surging wave of  haiga energy  (people love to see something come into existence right before their eyes)  . . . so please envision: 

a room filled with blackboards and computer desks, and big windows all along a long wall, and the tables in the center forming one big table with more than thirty people sitting in comfortable armchairs around it . . . and a central aisle all around that table making a circle around it, and edging that, twenty big flip-charts ready to be painted at lightning speed, without thought or hesitation, like a lightning storm hitting over and over again all around them . . .

 . . . my brushes are big . . . 18 inches long, round heads, flat heads, and there are plastic buckets of paint on the head table, sponges, paper towels, sticks, feathers, palette knives, all kinds of implements for creating lines and smudges and textures in paint . . . i'm dressed in tight black jeans, my socks are black with blue diamonds up the outside of the ankles, i'm wearing soft black leather walking shoes and a navy blue rayon shirt with white palm trees on it . . .

and then, i begin with just the first haiku . . . and the first simple haiga, just to get their attention and to create something right before their eyes that will start the wave of painting i have planned . . . and this first haiku, so simple, yet so apropos, became a kind of koan or riddle for the week, with people coming back again and again to discuss it, to make sense of it, to make comments about it, and to add to the possibilities of its interpretation:

heat wave . . .
   traffic doubles,
      red lights too

 . . .  it epitomized everything long island is on a day of intense heat, especially on continuous days of intense heat . . . the highways are almost always laden with traffic on the island ..  . but on really hot days, it suddenly seems that traffic doubles . . .  i guess folks want to get out of the house, want to go to the shore, want to find a way away . . . i don't know . . . it's just phenomenal . . . there suddenly seems to be twice as many cars as usual . . . it's soooooo hot and soooooooo congested . . . people converging from all angles all around at top speed, people in a dither, people talking madly on cell phones, moving as fast as their atoms . . . it's like being inside a huge pinball machine, bizarre, surreal, electric, hot . . .

and not only does it seem that the traffic doubles . . . but the red lights seem to double too! and they seem to last twice as long!  so . . . without belaboring this, it made for quite a few fun and fascinating comments and moments of discussion with some folks who were really gettin' into it . . .

let me interject here . .  my sincere apologies for the terrible photography i'm going to post . . . but you must realize that these were really big paintings, far too big to scan, something like 3' X 4' each . . . so i just snapped a photo of them with my very small Olympus digital camera and did the best i could to make them acceptable . . . please know that the depth and true color of the paint is impossible to capture in this way . . . you must know that you can't see all the deep strokes and striations in the paint in the attachment photos, or the "back of the brush" strokes that seem to amaze everyone . . . (for some reason, no one expects me to suddenly flip the brush over and paint with the bristleless end of it . . . but i always do) . . .

 . . . i must say too, in a situation like this especially . . . size matters . . . and quantity matters . . . and brightness and color and especially freedom of strokes, surety, and energy of application  . . . and that the haiga should come one after another in rapid succession with everyone watching wide eyed and even gasping as the paintings seemingly explode from the brush . . .

 . . . the 2nd haiku and haiga we discussed in the classroom was an oldie of mine . . . i'll attach the haiga for your viewing . . .

on the big oak desk . . .
   a vase of fresh cut flowers
       hides the ticking clock

 . . . i chose this one because it lends itself to discussion, and to didactic explanation, using the 5-7-5 form that so many people are familiar with, so it bypasses that question and moves the group into an analysis of the disparate elements juxtaposed in the verse to create a "haiku moment" . . .

i want to tell you a funny anecdote here, then i'll return to the tale of the painting session . . . something that will portray the kinds of relationships that exist at the prison among staffers, and that's something i've never touched upon in any of my prison workshop postings thus far:

 . . .the assistant director of the whole program was in my classroom a lot, a really nice fellow with two master's degrees .  . smart, but a truly humble fellow, and very intrigued by haiga paintings and haiku in general  . . and he writes haiku and tries to paint haiga, really participates . . . his name is matt kozak . . .

anyway, i came into the classroom laughing one mid-morning . . and i walked up to matt and said . . . "i just had a pretty interesting haiku moment in the men's room" . . . he looked at me wide eyed and made a crazy face . . . and said, "i'm not sure i want to hear about that one" . . . and we both laughed, and he asked what happened . .  .

i told him that i walked into the staff men's room and there was larry connelly, a psych/counselor, tall as a bean pole, long bushy gray hair, corduroy jacket and slacks, leather patches on the elbows, standing in front of the urinal in a state of panic . . . yup . . . it was that moment when you realize the drain is plugged up and the water begins to pour out of the sides and down the front of the porcelain bowl and splashes onto the floor and over your shoes . . .

and there was larry, trying with all his might to jam the silver handle of that stand up toilet into the next world . . . flushing and flushing it with all his might, and the water was coming down in unstoppable streams and splashing and pooling all around him . . .

then . . . suddenly, magic happened . . . the drain unplugged and to larry's great relief the water flushed down and stopped pouring out . . . and the nightmare was over . . .

i was laughing . . .

he turned to me with with his hair standing straight out against the lighted, frosted window like a spiked halo . . . and a wild look on his face . . . it was too perfect for words, it said everything . . .

i just looked at him and shrugged and said, "hey, larry, it happens to the best of us sometimes" . . .

larry blinked profusely and nodded and walked out without saying a word, really having gone through one of those times when you just hate being human . . .

so, when i got back to the classroom and saw matt, i told him about larry's "moment" . . .

and he said, "i challenge you to put that into haiku" . . .

so, almost always up for a challenge, i said, "i'll not only put it into haiku, but in traditional 5-7-5 form and i'll paint it!"

 . . . and the gods were with me . . . i picked up the brushes and in a wave of inspiration painted a huge painting of that men's room wall complete with porcelain urinal . . . life sized . . . i mean it looked like you could actually stand and pee in it . . .  and then the basin pouring out a flood of water . . . streams of multi-colored shades of blue . . . and then big slamming splashes of blue, and then swirling, pooling puddles of blue below it . . . it came out amazingly good . . . so real . . . and yet so genuinely "painted" . . .

and for the haiku i wrote on it:

a moment of truth . . .
   as the water overflows
      a clogged urinal

and i dedicated it "To Larry", and signed it "Zolo" . . . .

matt was delighted, and everyone who had heard the story was roaring . . . so . . . i took the painting, flip-chart size, down the corridor of doorways to larry's office, and found he'd gone out to lunch . . . and that was good because it gave me the chance to scotch-tape the painting to the back of his office door, on the inside of the door . . .

a half hour later he came into the classroom nodding his head, smiling, looking all around at everyone knowingly, and extended his hand to me . . .

i said, "Larry, i wanted you to have an original Zolo . . ."

and all of us had a real good laugh about it . . .

 . . . now, back to the painting session at the classroom on the first day of prison workshops with the prisoners all assembled and the visiting dignitaries keenly observing . . .

 i load up my palette, squirt bottles of paint blazing in my hand . . . i approach the first flip-chart, and the room begins to fade . . . suddenly i'm painting on the big canvases and images are exploding from the brush . . . i can only vaguely hear the background murmur of the group watching as the paintings begin coming into creation in a kind of fury . . .  fast strokes, quick, strong lines, dashes and jabs in all directions like sword-play, and splatters of paint give way to circles and shapes and suggestions of forms . . .brushes are dipped and dipped again and again in buckets of paint . . . folks watch in fascination . . .

 . . . and now i'm reeling around the big table full of amazed onlookers, painting one big painting after another, spinning from one canvas to the next, turning back on myself to dash a bit of red here, a stroke of blue or green there, an explosion of splatter on another . . . and in a short period of time, almost like magic, the room and the table is ringed with canvases full of big colorful images, flip-charts covered with new paintings . . . birds and fish and flowers and faces . . . pine trees and waves and mountains and moons and lightning bolts appear in a circle of fresh creations . . .

and when the twenty canvases are done, and my eye has finally scanned the circle of paintings like a beacon for any possible necessary additions or touches, the paint brushes just automatically fall from my hands, my hands and arms and glasses covered with paint, my shoes splattered with paint  . . . and then there is silence, and the session is finished, and the wave passes . . . .

 . . . and as fast as i painted them, that's as fast as i give the paintings away . . . one by one they come down off the wall like wafers or candy or butterflies as folks come up to shake hands or talk or to make their comments . . .

 . . .  and that began the week at the prison . . . and the 2 paintings i'll post now, are what remain for me to share with you . . .  Zolo



. . . I thought you might find this event interesting, Will be away all weekend taking part in 24 hour performance piece at the BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art with 12 other poets. Notes by Alec Finlay on our intentions below... paul conneally  

We will compose a 100 verse renga together, working from noon to noon. The renga platform is designated as the station for WORK. our work is the poem. I would like to keep all discussion to an absolute minimum, and, if possible, to have silence on the platform, beyond the reading and selecting of the actual verses themselves. Talking, relaxing and meeting people should take place in the REST area, which is provided. Shiatsu massage is available at some times, in the REST area. Ask Tamsin if you would like a massage. She is fully qualified.

At any time you may leave the platform and go to REST or SLEEP. There is no obligation to write. There are toilets on either side of the orientation spaces.

FOOD will be provided at mealtimes. During the gallery opening hours light food, tea and coffee is available from the cafe on the ground floor.

If possible I would like everyone to spend all of the time on Level one, either in the WORK, REST or SLEEP spaces, but, of course, if you wish to look around the gallery during opening hours that is fine.

Please do not leave level one during closing hours without asking CREW, so as not to cause the security cover concern. Most exits are locked.

In event of a FIRE ALARM then CREW will lead you to the nearest exit.

During gallery opening hours the entire space is open to the public (except SLEEP, the Cinema). Hopefully this will not be too intrusive. We are involved in a 24 hour performance, mostly silent, and people can watch.


Each poet will be a MASTER for one hour during the day and one hour during the night. Please sign up for the hours that you wish to do. The MASTER poet is solely responsible for selecting one verse, from all of the verses offered. The MASTER'S decision is final in every respect during their tenure. However, the wording and lineation of each verse is decided by each poet. The MASTER can make suggestions if he or she wishes, but the final form of the verse is always the decision of its author. The MASTER may select their own verse.

The procedure is that we should complete slightly more than one verse every 15 minutes.  We should reach verse 20 by 4.30pm
verse 40 by 9pm
verse 60 by 2am
verse 80 by 7am
verse 100 by 12 noon

It is each MASTER's responsibility to ensure that we remain on schedule. At each round the MASTER announces the verse number and specified theme. Poets should also refer themselves to the supplementary themes that have been suggested (listed below the schema). We write for between 5 and 10 minutes at each round. During verses 1-20 poets usually need a little longer; between 20 and 50 we should be on song; after that is no-mans land. The MASTER then asks the poets to read. Each poet reads the verse before and their own new verse, twice. Read as clearly as possible, and without commentary, unless there is something you feel it is important to add, relating to a link or theme your verse is referring to.

To manage the MASTER's role it helps to jot down the verses that you think work best, and then concentrate on selecting from a few verses, and compare each for its effectiveness as a link. The MASTER may ask to listen to two or three verses again, to finalize their decision. They then indicate which version has been selected. Be careful that the decision making process does not go on too long. Some rounds do require more time, but be sure to catch up on lost time during the next verse(s).

Each poet has been assigned a number (1-12). 
1. Bruce Bamber
2. John Cayley
3. Ken Cockburn
4. Paul Conneally
5. Anne-Marie Culhane
6. Alec Finlay
7. Linda France
8. Harry Gilonis
9. Elizabeth James
10. Ira Lightman
11. Gerry Loose
12. Martin Lucas

At each round that you offer a verse each poet must write their verse neatly onto a sheet that is passed round. Please always put your number alongside your verse. The MASTER will then draw a circle around the selected verse, and then the sheet will be given to CREW to transcribe. The renga will be presented in two forms: a sheet with all of the verses offered, a sheet with the selected verse only. These will be displayed on the gallery walls. You will need to keep a neat record of the poem by you at all times. I suggest that you also keep a generous amount of note paper, and that you take a new page every ten verses or so.

The schema was prepared by Martin Lucas. The seasonal patterns preserve the haphazard arrangements of actual renga. There is no attempt to make them obey any more symmetrical scheme. It is to be understood as a very faintly-ruled guide, but should not become a straitjacket. The breaks in the 100 verses indicate separate sections, which would have been printed on different pages in the original classical presentation. The opening (jo) phase corresponds to the first 8 verses, and the closing (ky) phase to the last 8. The rest is the middle bit (ha). The seasonal schema reflects the classical Japanese preference for Spring and Autumn. Winter doesn't feature as much, and Summer is barely touched upon. We can equalize these proportions in the writing, if we wish to. A 15th century renga would always have incorporated a number of additional thematic elements, which we have included as suggestions: Mountains, Waters, Dwellings, Falling Things, Rising Things, Travel, Laments, Religion, and specific Place Names.

A renga link would be associated with one of these themes by means of a keyword or reference, in the same way as a season-word establishes association with a particular season. Indeed, some season-words have a double function, e.g. "dew" is an autumn reference, but it is also in the category of "falling things", so it would count under both headings. The themes are dotted about the renga, with little or no sustained run of verses on any one theme, with the exception of Travel and Laments, which often do suggest maintaining the theme for 2-3 verses at a time, as the hint of a narrative develops. The numbers in brackets after each heading indicate a typical total number of references within a renga of 100 links. Mountains (5-10): e.g. mountains, peaks, valleys, hills, foothills, timber, forests, mountain pass, mountain path, or a named mountain. Waters (10): e.g. water, boats, ships, waves, current, rivers, shore, cove, wake, seaweed, tides, seabirds and shorebirds, named coastal features. Dwellings (5): e.g. towns, villages, houses, huts, interiors. Falling Things (5-10, but nearer 10): e.g. snow, rain (of all kinds), hail, sleet, dew. Rising Things (5-10, but nearer 5): e.g. clouds, mist (of all kinds), haze. Travel (10-15): e.g. innumerably various references to travel: lodgings, fitful sleep, the distance ahead or behind, going away or returning home, foreign lands, borders, roads, transport, etc. NB: travel is a fairly clear metaphor for transience, in Buddhist terms, i.e. our life-in-this-world as a fleeting, unstable form of restless movement.  Laments (10-15): This theme doesn't translate at all into a contemporary western context. In Japanese/Buddhist terms it covers all references to things passing away, ageing, restlessness, disappointment, frustration, retirement, etc. Its spirit is one of disillusionment, renunciation, and ultimately acceptance. It unites both laments for what is given and unalterable (i.e. the processes of ageing, separation and decay inherent in physical existence), and laments for the waywardness of the world (i.e. the elusiveness of worldly success and the idea that the authentic life is one of detachment and, potentially, isolation). How we give expression to this in our culture isn't clear. We might ask: how much do we really have in common with this attitude? (I suspect it's truer to the nature of things than we are ordinarily aware of.) And also, we might reflect that all true Art challenges the status quo in one way or another; otherwise it's propaganda. Thus Laments might be extended in out time to cover the idea of the artistic, as well as religious, vocation. Religion (2-4): In Japan, this is reference to the concepts and objects of Buddhism and Shinto. For us, just about any religion is appropriate material, and if we're true to the spirit of the age we'd possibly want to extend to include surrogate religions: the Arts, sport, politics, or any form of "social bonding for a higher purpose". Place Names (3-5): Places of nationally famous scenic or historical interest. In Japan, Fuji, Naniwa, Akashi etc. In Britain it isn't difficult to supply alternatives, although the choices would be less obvious. Although the theme of Love is incorporated into the general schema, it might also be helpful to include here a short list of Love references to emphasize the classical context. Thus: dreams, parting, bitterness, sleeping alone, being visited, yearning, waiting, tears, pillow etc. In other words, this ties in with Travel and Laments as a sense of absence rather than a celebration of something fulfilled.


1 Autumn

2 Autumn

3 Autumn / Moon

4 Autumn

5 NS

6 Spring / Flowers

7 Spring

8 Spring


THEMES 1-8: Mountains (2), Rising Things (1+), Falling Things (1+), Travel (1). Optional: Place Name, Waters, Dwellings.


9 NS

10 NS

11 Love

12 Love

13 Love

14 NS

15 NS

16 NS

17 Winter

18 Winter

19 Winter

20 NS

21 NS

22 NS

THEMES  9-22: Travel (3), Waters (2), Laments (2) [preferably not before v.15], Optional Falling Things (2), Dwellings (1+), Mountains (1+), Rising Things (1+).

23 Love

24 Love

25 Love

26 Summer

27 Summer

28 NS

29 NS

30 Spring / Flowers

31 Spring

32 Spring

33 Winter

34 Winter

35 NS

36 NS

THEMES 23-36: Travel (3), Falling Things (2+), Laments (1+), Mountains (1+), Religion (1). Optional: Rising Things, Waters.


37 Autumn / Moon

38 Autumn

39 Autumn

40 NS

41 Spring / Flowers

42 Spring

43 Spring

44 Spring

45 Autumn

46 Autumn

47 Autumn / Moon

48 Love

49 Love

50 NS

THEMES 37-50: Laments (2), Waters (1+), Mountains (1+), Dwellings (1), Travel (1). Optional: Rising Things, Falling Things.

51 Winter

52 Winter

53 Spring

54 Spring

55 Spring

56 NS

57 NS

58 NS

59 Summer

60 Summer

61 Summer

62 NS

63 NS

64 NS

THEMES 51-64: Travel (3+), Laments (3), Waters (2+), Place Names (2+), Falling Things (1+), Dwellings (1+). Optional: Mountains, Religion.


65 Autumn / Love /Moon

66 Autumn / Love

67 Autumn

68 Spring / Flowers

69 Spring

70 Spring

71 NS

72 NS

73 NS

74 Love

75 Love

76 Love

77 NS

78 NS

THEMES 65-78: Travel (2), Waters (1+), Religion (1+), Laments (1+). Optional: Mountains, Rising Things, Falling Things.

79 Autumn

80 Autumn / Moon

81 Autumn

82 Autumn

83 NS

84 NS

85 Summer

86 Summer

87 Winter

88 Winter

89 Winter

90 Autumn / Moon

91 Autumn

92 Autumn

THEMES 79-92: Waters (2+), Laments (2), Falling Things (1+), Rising Things (1+). Optional: Travel, Place Name.


93 Love

94 Love

95 NS

96 NS

97 Spring

98 Spring

99 Spring / Flowers

100 Spring

THEMES 93-100: Waters (1), Laments (1) Optional: Religion, Place Name.


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Page Copyright by Jane Reichhold 2004.



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Deadline is January 1, 2005