Renga & Renku 2012 renku contest - invitation for entries
[haikaitalk] Journal of
Renga & Renku 2012 renku contest - invitation for entries
Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:46 AM
From: "Moira Richards: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to our call for content for the Journal of Renga &
Renku, Issue 3, we are delighted to announce this year’s
renku contest which will be judged by Dr Chris Drake,
long-time professor of Japanese literature at Atomi
University in Japan. See details below.
Entry fee: None
1. The winning poem
will be published, together with a detailed critique, in the
2013 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
kasen form are eligible for this contest
2. There is no limit on the number of entries you may send
3. Previously published kasen are also eligible for the
4. Kasen 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
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: Kasen contest/name of poem/name of
sabaki, e.g. Kasen 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 2012 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.
Dr Drake will look for:
1. Evidence of serious literary intent and imaginative
2. Evidence of familiarity with renku and with the kasen
form. Sites such as renkureckoner.co.uk are good places for
review or for gaining basic knowledge, and translations of
traditional kasen as well as EL kasen are recommended.
3. Success in achieving multivalent linking. Above all,
verses must work as 1) a single verse and also as a new,
transformed verse in relation to 2) the previous verse and
3) the following verse. Readers need be able to concretely
feel the way identical words have different nuances or mean
different things in relation to different verses.
4. Success in using moon, blossom, seasonal, love, and other
non-seasonal verses to create an overall sequence rhythm and
tone. Variations for standard images will be accepted. The
moon, for example, may be replaced by other celestial
objects if the change is stated in a note.
5. Success in creating an introduction in verses 1-6,
full-bodied, dynamic development in 7–30, and a smooth,
quick return to the material world in 31-36.
6. A kasen is long enough to create its own world. If
successful, it affects the way a reader returns to and
experiences his or her own daily world.
7. Traditional monotheme kasen on a single topic (blossoms,
love, Amida Buddha, etc.) will be accepted, though monotony
must be avoided.
8. Both group and solo (dokugin) kasen will be accepted.
Solo kasen should show evidence of the writer’s ability to
hear otherness in her or his own voices.
Chris Drake will judge
this contest and introduces himself here:
“I was born in Tennessee in the U.S. in 1947. I got a PhD in
Japanese literature from Harvard and taught Japanese
literature and comparative literature at Atomi University in
Japan for nearly three decades before retiring. My classes
included renku appreciation and writing for Japanese
students. I’ve published annotated translations of both
kasen and hundred-verse hyakuin by Japanese haikai poets of
the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries, including a translation
of a kasen by Bashō and his followers in JRR2. I’m now
completing an annotated translation of Saikaku’s 1675 solo
thousand-verse haikai requiem for his wife. I write renku
both in English and in Japanese and have participated in
several kasen sequences in Japanese judged by the late
Higashi Meiga (Akimasa).”
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 name Kasen means
'Poetic Immortals' and refers to the Chinese and Japanese
practice of creating ideal groups of thirty six artistic
forbears. Prior to the establishment of the Basho school
formalised linked verse was generally written as one hundred
or fifty verse sequences. By the time of Basho's death the
majority of haikai sequences were Kasen.
Though he is known as the father of haiku the Kasen renku
and haibun [mixed poetry and prose] were Matsuo Basho's
preferred vehicles for expression. It therefore comes as no
surprise that the Kasen is rather good.
Seasons recur. [The major seasons of spring and autumn] may
appear for up to five verses in a row. There are two spring
blossom verses. There are three moon verses, two of which
are generally autumn. Love appears as a fixed topic twice,
potentially for an extended run. The structure of the Kasen
clearly demonstrates that fine writing has more to do with
periodicity and interlocking cycles, with tonal control,
evolution and recontextualisation.
Without clear vision and leadership the twelve verses of a
development side can rapidly become amorphous. The Kasen too
takes time to complete. But the Kasen was and remains
essential to the development of all aspects of excellence in
renku. A person who limits themselves always to the shorter
contemporary forms is unlikely to develop the highest level
of artistry that the genre permits.
—John Carley, Renku Reckoner
learn more about renku and kasen?
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:
Darlington Richards Press
-- Moira Richards