These are the notes for The Big Tent Rega, Falkland, June 17th 2007
What is renga?
Renga is linked verse, composed collectively at one time and in one place according to a prescribed schema or template. It has a one-thousand year history. From the opening verse – the hokku – developed the haiku.
Each succeeding verse, chosen by the Master Poet (sabaki) from verses offered by the participants, links to the preceding verse but shifts away from it. The links should avoid being too direct.
Alternating verses are written in three and two lines. This event will not follow strict syllable-counting, but lines should be short.
Each verse is written in the spirit of haiku, in the present tense, and from the world of sensation and perception.
Expression should be direct and straightforward, avoiding both metaphor and introspection.
Those taking part, whether they have worked in this way before or not, will enjoy a unique experience of shared poetic composition.
Spectators (who are welcome) can expect to see and hear creativity in action.
The event will conclude with a reading of the finished poem.
Writers should leave names and addresses with the host, so they can receive copies of the finished renga. It may be reproduced by any participant, provided that all participants are credited.
Note that there is room for quiet, calming, ground verses, as well as for flashes of brilliance. Renga writers are encouraged to use their senses throughout the sessions, to admire the surroundings, to feel textures, to smell and taste the tea, to listen to sounds.
“The poem should be written in the present tense and should conform to the poetic values of haiku. Thoughts, ideas and overt metaphors are not normally appropriate; it is better to create the poem from the immediacy of sensation and perception; work with natural images; and express yourself in a direct and uncluttered way.” Alec Finlay and Martin Lucas
“For every Master there is a Master. It’s nothing special.” Gerry Loose