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 ūüėõ . 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.


Adventure 293 ~ Launch A Collaborative Poetry Project

big renga projectI’m sure you may have realised ¬†by now that I’m a bit of a haiku fan ūüôā . As part of the research for my book¬†Seventeen Syllables ~ Cultivating Presence Through Poetry, I looked at the origins of the haiku form. What is now known as¬†haiku was originally known as¬†hokku, the first verse of a collaborative linked- verse poem called a¬†renga.

The renga form has been around since the thirteenth century, and you can find out more about it here. In a nutshell, groups of poets works together to create a linked poem. The first stanza follows a 3-line 5-7-5 syllable format, just like the haiku. It also contains a kigo (season word) and a kireji (cutting word). The second stanza responds to the first stanza, but this time in a 2-line 7-7 syllable format. The renga then gets handed back to the first poet or handed on to the third who, again, works with what is offered in the second stanza but employs the structure of the first (7-5-7).

This sequence of 3-line and 2-line structures is then repeated until the poem is done!

I thought is would be fun to work with other poets to create a renga poem called “December” to capture the spirit of this month. As December will be the last month of my 365 Days Of Adventure project, it feels like collaborating with others might be a lovely way to end the year.

So, for today’s adventure, I’m launching¬†The Big Renga Project¬†and this is where you come in! I’m putting out a call for a crew of 23 poets to join me in creating a 25-verse¬†renga. Whilst no previous poetry-writing experience is required to join the project, I’m looking for ¬†people who are

  • Up for learning about, and respecting, the¬†renga form
  • Keen to collaborate and be part of ¬†a supportive, playful, creative community
  • Able to keep their commitments
  • Prepared to be responsive and present to the previous stanza
  • Respectful of the emergent spirit of the renga
  • Willing to record their stanza in video format (so I can create a film of the whole¬†renga with all the poets involved)

The project will start on December the 1st and the final verse will be created on the 25th. I will create a private Facebook group to facilitate collaboration and information sharing. Each day during December, the poem will be updated so that people can see the renga grow.

If this sounds like this project could be for you, please drop me an email to in the first instance. If you know of others who might enjoy being part of  this collaborative venture, please feel free to share this information with them.

NOTE¬†– it is not necessary for the poetry to be written in English. However, to support other poets, a translation into English will be required for a smooth stanza transition! For all non-English stanzas, subtitles will be required for the video ūüôā .

I am just going outside and may be some time.