Adventure 348 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 14]

With spring done and dusted, and yesterday’s summer climax, today’s renju, Flemming Funch, had lots of options! He could have continued with summer, he could have done a verse on winter, love, travel, dwellings, mountains or shores. Or he could have invoked the Moon Rule – and that’s exactly what he did.

Here’s his clever, creative (and just a little bit irreverent) 7-7 that starts off autumn :

Serene is the sudden calm :
grey smoke rises to the moon

Flemming says : ” After yesterday’s passionate climax, it’s time to cool down a bit, and smoke a cigarette. So, there’s a change in tempo, and temperature : the remaining heat leaving just smoke. I introduce autumn in the form of the moon.”

So, we’re on autumn and that means only one thing for tomorrow’s poet : it’s autumn again!

You can watch today’s episode of The Big Renga Round-Up here :

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 347 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 13]

As Cara submitted a third spring verse yesterday, today’s renju, Alan Millar, had plenty of options! He could have gone for a fourth verse on the theme of spring (up to five consecutive verses are allowed), he could have invoked the Moon Rule, or gone for love, winter, summer or any of the peripheral themes (travel, mountains, shores, dwellings).

The thirteenth verse is important in our renga as it marks the turning point for us. Alan did not disappoint and chose to write a mid-renga  5-7-5 verse on the theme of summer :

Oh thunder solstice
of warm long sensual showers
and roses climax

Alan says : ” I continued the suggestion of powerful human emotions evoked by Cara. I tried to give a shape to her ‘erupting’ , hinting at a more specific human narrative, diffused within the language of nature.  I moved the imagery on, following the natural course from spring into summer. Oh – and the thirteenth verse is – is the half- way point  and significance of this evoked by the solstice. My kigo word is “roses”.”

Ooooh! The thread of imagery over the last couple of verses has been rather “hot” 😛 . I wonder what will happen tomorrow … ?

You can catch up with the latest episode of The Big Renga Round-Up here :

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 346 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 12]

By now, you probably know all about continuity rules, right? And you’ve probably already realised that today’s 7-7 just had to be about spring – and that today’s renju, Cara Wilde was squashed right into a renga corner!

This is what she came up with :

Skylarks dancing, air delights :
hidden desires erupting

Cara says : ” The season word is skylark – it’s a Japanese classic kigo for spring! Continuity is demonstrated by continuing the anticipation and potential of the last stanza, and crescendoing into celebration of new life in spring. The last line is the result of building anticipation :  new life being called to grow from within the Earth.”

So, with three consecutive verses on the theme of spring now complete, the renga game now opens up again!

Watch the latest episode of The Big Renga Round-Up here :

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 345 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 11]

Yesterday saw the arrival of spring via the traditional kigo of “cherry blossom”. This meant that today’s renju, Stephanie Johnson had no option but to continue the theme of spring (the Flower Rule states a requirement to continue the theme of spring for at least 3 consecutive verses).

This is what Stephanie came up with for her 5-7-5 :

Buds yawn and stretch out,
anticipate, quivering :
cloying amber stain

Stephanie says  : “My spring kigo is “buds”. I build on the image of yesterday’s blossoming of the trees and flowers. There’s an allusion to oestrus and sexual awakening too. There’s a clear contrast within my verse too –   between anticipation and action. The image is of pollen being powerful and overwhelming –  and it is not entirely positive!”

Woah! That’s some 5-7-7, right? I wonder what tomorrow’s poet will come up with. We know it has to be about spring, but how are they going to handle the issues of continuity and directional change?

Get your daily dose of The Big Renga Round-Up here :

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 344 ~ The Big Renga Project [10]

With Janet laying down a verse of winter for the first stanza of the second page, it left lots of options of today’s renju, Lisa Holden. Lisa could have carried on with winter, or opted to invoke the Flower Rule, the Moon Rule or the Love Rule. Summer , dwellings, mountains, shores and travel were also options too.

Lisa opted for the excitement of starting off spring and this is what she came up with :

Ambling to a pause, awake :
above cherry blossom, sings.

She employs the classic spring kigo of cherry blossom to start the new season off and continues the movement of Janet’s small animals in the previous verse with the use of the word “ambling”. The sleepiness of winter is now replaced by the awakeness of spring.

Catch up with the latest episode of The Big Renga Round-Up here:

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 343 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 9]

There’s a rumble of excitement in The Big Renga house today 🙂 . Verse 9 heralds the start of the second page of the renga. The second page will have 14 verses. The Moon Rule and (wait for it!) the Flower Rule (that starts off spring) must both be invoked on this page.

Today’s renju, Janet Dowling, had plenty of options. She could have composed a final verse on the theme of autumn (a maximum of 5 consecutive verses is allowed); she could have invoked the Flower Rule; or she could have written a verse about love, winter, summer, places, dwellings, mountains or shores.

Janet plumped for winter and this is what she came up with :

Exquisite members
traversing the dormant plain :
running, sweeping low

In her accompanying commentary, Janet says ” My kigo word is dormant, being the sleeping land of winter. My link to the previous verse is the sense of small animals making their way through winter. “Members “running , sweeping low” is all about creating the idea of limbs in motion.”

Hmmm… so what will happen, tomorrow? The renga field is wide open again!

Get your daily dose of the Big Renga Round-Up in today’s video.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 342 ~ The Big Renga Project [8]

Yesterday’s saw the completion of the third compulsory verse in the autumn sequence. This meant that today’s renju, Kate Trafford, had lots of options! She could have continued with autumn or shifted direction into winter, summer, love, dwellings, mountains, shores or travel.

Kate stayed with the theme of autumn and came up with this 7-7 for today’s submission :

Acorn hoard, squirrelled away;
fear conceals buried treasure

Kate says : “Continuity is shown by taking up Caroline’s reference to secrets and referring to something being ‘squirrelled away’. Change of direction is created by moving from dark/fear-driven imagery to the bright/exciting image of buried treasure. Nature mirroring human nature is shown in second line. The squirrel is driven by fear/ scarcity to bury his treasure of a stockpile of food. For us humans, fear also conceals (masks) the inner treasure of insights/self awareness…”

In today’s Big Renga Round-Up I actually get to interview Kate about her stanza!

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 341 ~ The Big Renga Project [7]

Yesterday we already knew that today’s stanza was going to be about autumn because of the Moon rule’s continuity clause. Whilst today’s renju , Caroline Johnstone, didn’t have much room for manoeuvre, she certainly made use of the little space that she had!

Here’s the 5-7-5 that Caroline added today :

Mushrooms mulched fully
feed on the dead like poison :
harvesting secrets

Every time a poet submits a verse, they have to provide a commentary to show how they’re complying with the renga rules. This is what Caroline said about her submission : “Continuity was via the leaves that nourished the ground, which they do by rotting. I was watching Gardener’s world and it was all about mulch…which like so many things has a dark side to it too, with fungal infections lurking, which also linked to mushrooms which are fabulous – or poisonous.. Senga’s verse was such a lovely picture of autumn (my favourite season, and I love scrunching through leaves)… so the contrast was to show the other side of that… and then because it was autumn, time of harvests and Samhain and the Day of the Dead etc, I wanted a plot change and thought about the sorts of things you can harvest – and the things you couldn’t, or wouldn’t, want to harvest :  secrets being one.. ”

And here’s today’s edition of The Big Renga Round-Up 🙂

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 340 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 6]

Because Kate invoked the Moon Rule yesterday, it really narrowed down the options for todays renju, Senga Cree. By mentioning the rule, it means that at least the next to verses must be about autumn.

This is what Senga came up with :

Tall branches sway, shedding flame :
earth’s crisp nourishing carpet

Senga keeps the continuity going by echoing the height of the peaks and the tides that Kate mentioned yesterday (she uses the word tall). She also echoes the heat of Kate’s verse by layering flames onto yesterday’s glow. The change in direction comes with a shift of our attention : we’re no longer looking up, we’re looking down on the crisp carpet.

What I like about Senga’s verse is the powerful and simple autumn image. The kigo word is “shedding” and all I can imagine when I read it is fiery autumn leaves!

Here’s today’s round-up :

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 339 ~ The Big Renga Project [Day 5]

Betsy really raised the renga temperature yesterday with a smokin’ hot second verse on the theme of love. The options for today’s renju, Kate Gold, remained alluringly wide for today’s verse 😛 . Kate could have written a third ,and final, 5-7-5 verse on the theme of love. She could have invoked the Moon Rule and started of the theme of autumn. She could have written a verse about summer, winter, shores, mountains, dwellings of travel.

Kate plumped for the Moon Rule and this is what she came up with :

Strength of waxing moon
pulls the tide ever higher
as distant peaks glow

To invoke autumn, you must use the kigo word “moon”. Kate shows a link with Betsy’s by mirroring the swell of hearts with the swell and pull of tides. She shows contrast within the verse by inviting us to compare an image of the sea with an image of mountains. She shows a shift in direction by pulling us back into nature.

So, what does this mean for tomorrow? Well, it means one thing : autumn. Once autumn has been started, at least another two verses on the them must follow.

Oh – and I almost forgot. Something brilliant happened yesterday : one of our poets (Caroline) was interview on BBC Radio 3 about the Big Renga Project. How brilliant is that!

I am just going outside and may be some time.