A Writer's Handbook





Developing A New Form

Vaughn Seward, CA


What is Renhai?

A Renhai consists of three themed haiku verses typically written by two writers. The final result is similar to the first three verses of a rengay (three-line haiku, two-line haiku, three-line haiku). What is unique about Renhai is that the middle two-line verse is jointly written. That is, line one is written by the first writer and line two is written by the second writer.




When Gary Gay came up with idea of Rengay, he wanted a simpler, shorter renku. Six verses seemed long enough to be interesting and for developing a theme but not too long that readers would grow tired of reading it. He also wanted simpler rules that provided the writers a little more freedom. Now, what if a Rengay-like poem was even shorter? One verse is a Haiku and two verses is a Tanka. What about three verses? This idea nicely corresponds with the 3 lines in a haiku. Could it be possible to have such a short rengay-like poem? Thus the idea of RenHai was born. Since August 2007 Zhanna P. Rader, Hortensia Anderson, and Vaughn Seward have been experimenting with Renhai and are pleased to present the following four examples of this new form of short verse. The January 2008 issue of Sketchbook plans to publish additional examples of Renhai.



A Night Out

A Renhai

Vaughn Seward (vs), and Zhanna P. Rader (zr) 

Still autumn night—
each patch of the forest,
full of darkness.                              /vs

Blanket of velvet-gray fog—             /zr
a crow pierces the silence.               /vs

Coffee aroma
permeates the morning air—
sudden rain...                                /zr

Click this link to read the Notes.

Aug 10-25, 2007




Fairy Ring

A Renhai

Vaughn Seward (vs), and Zhanna P. Rader (zr)


Totem pole—
a lone eagle circles
high above.                                   /vs

A fairy ring on the lawn—                 /zr
the gnome, to his chin in leaves.       /vs

Easter Island—
tourists walk around moai,
necks craned, mouths open.             /zr

Click this link to read the Notes.

November 16-23, 2007



Miles Around

A Renhai

Vaughn Seward (vs), and Hortensia Anderson (ha)

Dawn's cloud cover—
the pale grey sky deepens
with the dusk.                                /ha

Untouched snow for miles around—    /ha
faint tree line in the distance.           /vs

Empty nest—
a weathered bit of string
hangs from a twig.                          /vs

Click this link to read the Notes.

November 29 - December 6, 2007



Chattering Jay

A Renhai

Zhanna P. Rader (zr), and Vaughn Seward (vs)

Time to pay for
the dinner—he discovers
his wallet is gone.                          /vs

The snowman loses his nose—          /zr
a jay chatters from above.               /vs

New gossip
quickly spreads around—
the wife learns last.                        /zr

Click this link to read the Notes:

December 23 - January 1, 2008







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