of Renga & Renku
of Renga & Renku"
Further to our call for content for the Journal of Renga &
Renku, we are delighted to announce this year’s renku
contest which will be judged by well-known renku poet, Eiko
Yachimoto. Details below:
Entry fee: None
Deadline: 1 October
1. The winning poem will be published, together with a
detailed critique, in the 2011 issue of the Journal of
Renga & Renku. All entries will be considered as
content for inclusion in the journal.
2. A small (and yet to be selected) prize will be sent by
way of congratulation to the sabaki or one designated
participant of the winning poem.
1. Only renku in the shisan form are eligible for this
2. There is no limit on the number of entries you may send
3. Both solo and collaborative shisan are eligible
4. Previously published shisan are also eligible for the
5. Shisan that include verses written by the contest judge
or editors of JRR, or led by them, are NOT eligible for this
The leader or sabaki of the poem is designated the contest
entrant and should do the following:
1. Send a clean copy of the poem (stripped of initials,
schema notes, renju's names etc.) as a Word (or RTF)
document attachment to RengaRenku@gmail.com (RengaRenku AT
gmail DOT com)
2. Mark the subject line: Shisan contest/name of poem/name
of sabaki, e.g. Shisan contest/October's Moon/Moira Richards
3. In the body of the email, paste the following text:
I hereby confirm that I have obtained consent from all of
the participating poets to enter this poem in the 2011 JRR
Renku Contest, and to offer it for publication by JRR
4. There is no need to list the names or number of poets who
contributed to the poem. We'll contact you later for this
information if we decide to publish.
The judges will look for:
1. evidence of appreciation of both the renku genre and its
2. successful employment of jo-ha-kyû movement
3. effective use and variety in linking techniques
4. a rattling good poem
Eiko Yachimoto will judge this contest. Eiko has been a
member of the Association for International Renku (AIR) for
15 years, and her experience and expertise in the realm of
both Japanese and English-language renku is widely
recognised. Eiko is editor of both Wind Arrow: renku
anthology (1999) and of Wind Arrow 2: shisan
Why a one-form renku contest?
Every JRR contest will feature a different form of the
genre, in order to
a) promote appreciation of the distinctive features of the
various forms of the genre and how they can be employed to
different ends in the writing of poems, and
b) encourage poets to explore more fully the possibilities
of one form, and to appreciate what others do with it.
The Shisan adopts the jo-ha-kyu dynamic found in the Kasen.
Despite its brevity it is formally divided into four sides.
There is one season per side. Seasons follow in calendar
The poem typically has two spring, two autumn, one winter
and one summer verse. The autumn verses are always grouped
as a pair, spring likewise.
Moon and blossom normally appear in association with their
traditional season - autumn and spring respectively. However
moon may appear in association with any season, though not
in association with a non-season verse. Likewise flower, any
type of bloom, may replace blossom and appear in association
with any season, though not in association with a non-season
A grouped pair of love verses appears on side 2, 3 or 4.
—John Carley, Renku Reckoner
Want to learn more about renku and shisan?
1. Lots of great reading matter, including information about
the shisan form, from John Carley here:
and excellent material from the late Bill Higginson here:
2. Lots of space to learn, write and meet other renku
enthusiasts at The Renku Group here:
Journal of Renga & Renku
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