Jeffrey Angles is an associate professor of Japanese and translation at Western Michigan University. Much of his research on Japanese literature focuses on expressions of erotic desire of modern and contemporary literature. He is also a prolific translator of a broad range of contemporary writers, from mystery novelists to contemporary poets. His translations have won a PEN Club of America Translation Grant (2008), a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant (2008), the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature (2009), and the Landon Translation Prize from the American Academy of Poets (2010).
Sonja Arntzen taught classical Japanese poetry and literature at Canadian universities for many years. She enjoyed leading students in composing linked verse in English as a way of learning to appreciate the spontaneous side of poetry production in pre-modern Japan. With delight, she recently discovered that a number of people around the world are drawn to composing linked forms of poetry for their own sake. Last summer, she had the opportunity to lead community members in the composition of a shisan on Gabriola Island, British Columbia where she now lives. She looks forward to more of this.
Francis Attard lives in Malta. He understands that the dynamics of ideas at play are at the basis of renku making. Dick Pettit says a renku is made up of voices. The picture will be of a Greek Chorus or Cats in recess. No longer one voice; reciting a script or singing a song, but each is an individual. Ideas in unison will reflect some form of a literary discipline integrating western traditions when it came to structure and syntax.
Erica Barbiani: If I could choose, I would spend most of my time watching plants while they grow. Luckily, I have a beautiful job that carries me away from my contemplative side. I produce documentaries, I just published my first novel, and I am trying to make writing my full time job. I thought that the intimacy of inspiration could never be shared. When I discovered renku, I realized I was wrong. A happy moment.
Rebecca Barker: Becca lives in the farthest northwest corner of the U.S. She works in the library in Forks, Washington. Her interest in writing started as a child. She has always been drawn to short poems and stories being short herself. Mostly she writes haiku but has recently gotten caught up the challenge and community that is renku. In her free time she plays the guitar and ukulele, juggles, hikes and sails.
Micheline Beaudry: Born in Montreal, Micheline Beaudry lives in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada. She has participated in many haiku anthologies like the 55th Bashô anthology. She published Blanche Mémoire, Les couleurs du vent, at David Editions. She founded GHM – Groupe de haïku de Montréal in 2005.
Janick Belleau: poet and freelancer. To her credit, three personal collections (short poems and haiku) and four anthologies (three of haiku) which she directed. Her poetry and feature articlesare published in literary magazines in Canada, in France and in Japan.
Ann Bendixen moved to California in 2000 and joined the Yuki Teikei Haiku Group at Patricia Machmiller’s invitation. She loves the spontaneity and collaborative nature of renku and plays renku with local groups as often as she can. In Matsuyama City, Japan, Ann was thrilled to see a renku party diorama. In 2010 she self-published a book of haiga titled Reflections of an Old Pine Tree. Ann studies Chinese calligraphy under Marie Hu and Chinese brush painting under Master Teacher Pei-Jei Hau. Her paintings are featured in the Yuki Teikei’s new anthology, Wild Violets.
Maxianne Berger lives in Montreal. Many of her choices of form in poetry play with changing meaning through new contexts: from the historied villanelle to the parodic paradelle, repeated words and phrases morph from stanza to stanza and from line to line. Even a well-placed line break can give a word or phrase two connotations. The renga, through the subtlety of its links, enables shifts that not only move the poem ahead “elsewise,” but also recast the meaning of what just preceded. This polyvalence of the shared lines fits right in with her personal aesthetics.
Sally Biggar lives in Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2010 she enrolled in her first writing course, a poetry class offered at her local community college. A fellow student encouraged her to join the local haiku group, where she discovered renku and the local renku group. “On Ripples of Moonlight” was created at the very first renku gathering she attended. She enjoys the challenge of participating in a collaborative creative process, and finds the social aspect of it a lot of fun.
Fióna Bolger: Writing a renku felt like singing in a choir, careful listening and adjusting required to achieve harmony.
Christine Broe: Dublin, Ireland.
Sculpted clay and wood
Then blessed by births – of seven
Now carve time and words
Claudia Brefeld lives with her family in Bochum (Germany). She has written lyrics (and short stories) for many years and haiku and aphorisms since 2003. Moreover she writes tan-renga, renku and rengay and creates haiga. Nature photography is also on the list of her hobby priorities. Writing renku opens a special way of creative cooperation, which enriches: we get a different look on the world – with the eyes of others. She is the second chairwoman of the German Haiku Society (and works in the editorial staff of the haiku-journal SOMMERGRAS), and founding member and secretary to the board of the German Aphorism Archive. Her websites: http://www.artgerecht-und-ungebunden.de/ and http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Claudia.Brefeld/
Owen Bullock has been writing haiku since 1999, and longer poems since 1981. He enjoys various forms of collaborative writing and the way in which working with others takes him into new spaces. He has published a collection of haiku: wild camomile (Post Pressed, Australia, 2009); fiction: A Cornish Story (Palores, UK, 2010), and poetry, sometimes the sky isn’t big enough (Steele Roberts, NZ, 2010). He is one of the editors of Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Vol. 4. Owen teaches creative writing online for the Waiariki Institute of Technology and the NZ Writers’ College. www.owenbullock.com
Jack Cain began writing haiku in the Canadian wilderness in 1962 and was amazed to see that the poems contained more than he had put there consciously. Bitten by the haiku bug he continued to write intermittently until now. He has been credited with publishing the first English language haibun “Paris” in 1964. He is now living in Montreal.
John Carley is a mostly decrepit Englishman from the Pennine hill country of Lancashire. He arrives at renku via a strong interest in short-form imagist verse, a fascination with linguistics, and a liking, as an erstwhile musician, for collaborative art forms. It is his contention that renku is the new haiku. And that all aspects of the source literature can be realised in any language.
Andrea Cecon: I am a hearing aid technician. Born in Udine 38 years ago, I reside in Cividale del Friuli (not far from my native place) in Italy with my wife, Russian haijin Valeria Simonova-Cecon. I usually find the inspiration for my writings in memories, travels, and the everyday life. My wife involved me in the renku form and I unexpectedly found it to be a very rich and wonderful poetic genre.
Karen Cesar lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, John and her Italian greyhound, Shadow. When she writes renku with others, she values the intimacy of relating to others on a deeper level than can be achieved in ordinary conversation. When Karen writes solo renku, it is for the same reason that, as an adult, she reads old children’s books – to enter the magical world of imagination.
Claire Chatelet (Sprite) lives in London UK at the crossroad of many cultures and languages and has a fascination for the influence of language on the psyche as well as for the translation process. She came to Renku in 2002 via online workshops when just discovering Haiku and got immediately hooked as she strongly believe in the importance of international communication and favours poetry as a means of expression. She’s glad that her co-poets have the intelligence and diligence to submit finished collaborations as she so seldom bothers but then she’s mixing with cultures of oral traditions after all…
Anna Attard Cini lives in Malta. She plays the piano and feels renku in its composition can communicate an element of musicality. Partly why she has been drawn to try renku. The product in its flexible cadences of free verse or when use is made of a specific verse metre, such as the 5 – 7 – 5 / 7 – 7 rhythm based on syllabic count, is euphonic.
Mauro Clementi: I live and work in Cividale del Fiuli (Italy). I’m technical designer and manufacturer of loudspeakers and live constantly in the world of sounds and passions. I deeply love music in each of its single note, photography, and design in every aspect. I discovered renku rather acidentally but it seems to be a beautiful world of 1000 tones.
Susan Constable began writing haiku in 2006 and has since added haibun, tanka, and haiga to her forms of choice. Her introduction to linked verse was at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway in 2010, where a renku workshop was led by Christopher Herold and Michael Dylan Welch. Since then, Susan’s enjoyed working with other poets in this way, but still considers herself very much an amateur. Currently, she is the tanka editor for A Hundred Gourds, a position she thoroughly enjoys. She lives with her husband in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island.
Pam Cooper has been writing haiku for a decade, but is fairly new to linked verse. She has participated in several online renga sessions, which have spanned many nations, with contributing poets from India, Ireland, and North America. One of her haiku was selected as the hokku for one such renga, which was inspired during an international haiku conference. Pamela enjoys the social aspect of renga, which is engaging and amusing, with each verse contingent on those preceding it, as connected by very subtle links. She lives in Montreal, Canada.
Aubrie Cox: Born and raised in the United States Midwest, Aubrie Cox is currently working toward her M.A. in Creative Writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She first began writing haiku and related forms in 2008 while studying at Millikin University. Since then her work has appeared in many of the major English-Language haiku publications and several anthologies. She appreciates the stream-of-consciousness and creative energies that come to the surface while participating in linking verse.
Magdalena Dale was born and lives in Bucharest, Romania. She is a member of the Romanian Society of Haiku and World Haiku Association. Her work has been published in several reviews and anthologies in her country and abroad. She received several awards for her work. She is one of the editors for Take 5 (Best Contemporary Tanka), years 2010 and 2011. She has written a number of books of haiku, tanka and renga. She loves to write renga poems because it means communication with other poets and she think she can learn a lot about Japanese poetry which has a special place in her heart.
Norman Darlington lives on a hill in rural Ireland, raising vegetables, chickens and children. He’s been enchanted with renku since first reading Hiroaki Satō’s 100 Frogs more than 20 years ago. Having been involved in numerous intercultural renku exchanges, he is now convinced more than ever of the overarching good which collaborative linked verse can bring. More at xaiku.com.
Tracy Davidson: lives in Warwickshire, England and enjoys writing poetry and flash fiction. This was her first attempt at putting together a renku, a solo effort, and she was therefore surprised and delighted to be chosen for inclusion alongside more experienced writers. She hopes to write more renku in the future and looks forward to having the opportunity to collaborate with other writers.
Donna Davis is a visual artist, educational consultant (MA, McGill University, 2000), and emerging writer living in Montreal, where she currently works as a creative free-lancer in the fashion industry. While drawing from life remains her first love, Donna’s deep interest in the Surrealist word-image and the visual poetry of collage has led her to explore alternative narratives and disciplines across many media, included illustration, digital graphics, performance art, and poetry.
Billie Dee: I live in San Diego, California, USA, where I work as a writer and multi-media artist. I’m attracted to linked poetry by the warm sense of community, and by the fresh, often startling, ideas and images that come to me by way of our collective muse. As a Pacificist, I find in renku another path to peace through shared creativity. Can there be a finer art? [Now, for the boilerplate: Billie Dee received her doctoral degree from the University of California at Irvine and is the former Poet Laureate of the U.S. National Library Service. http://billiedee.net]
Christopher Drake lives in Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. After teaching at a university, he’s concentrating on translating and interpreting haikai (renku, hokku, haibun) of the 17th and 18th c. in context, trying to understand, at least to a certain extent, how Japanese writers themselves understood their works and why linking verses (in groups and solo) was such a heady, empowering, and often socially prestigious activity during that period. Drake writes renku in English and Japanese and considers life a sequence of exchanges of points of view, roles, and values.
Kathy Earsman is a grandmother who lives in a country town of sub-tropical Australia where wild creatures come and go. Some are free, choosing to be fed from her verandah, others are patients to be healed or raised and released. Kathy’s been fascinated by renku for several years, enjoying its ever-changing linkedness and variety; the unexpected is expressed in unique ways, stories are told within and between each verse.
Life is reflected in renku’s ever changing linkedness. It’s endlessly creative, satisfyingly challenging, and FUN. Those who regularly write together become quite bonded. Come on down and see.
Laura Farrell: 12 years of age. Laura is a true Dub who is new(ish) to poetry and writing. Likes Shakespeare, Thomas Hood and Edgar Allan Poe. Laura writes different poetic formats but enjoys the haiku format the best.
Martin Farrell: Lives in Dublin. Martin has been writing poetry in various forms for many years. He is a member of several Dublin reading & writing groups. He is a renku novice that has been bitten by the bug.
Amelia Fielden is an Australian professional translator of Japanese, and enthusiastic writer of Japanese short form poetry. She divides her time between homes in Canberra and the coast north of Sydney, family in Seattle, and the ‘country of her passion’, Japan. Amelia has had 17 books of her translations published, plus 6 collections of her own poetry, and 4 books of responsive tanka written with other Australian poets. She relishes the challenge of renga, and finds composing with like-minded writers extremely stimulating.
Kim Goldberg lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, where she is a poet, author and practitioner of the ancient Chinese martial art of Liuhebafa. Her 2007 collection, Ride Backwards on Dragon, was a finalist for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Award for poetry. She teaches Kung Fu For Writers to help others awaken their mind-body connection and develop body-centered
writing. The shisan she contributed to in this journal was her first opportunity to work with this stimulating form. She looks forward to future opportunities. Visit her online at http://liuhebafagirl.wordpress.com/
Rohini Gupta writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction books. She lives in Mumbai, India, by the sea. Having spent years with poetry, renku was a surprise, not just for the twists and turns of linking but also for the open and co-operative spirit between the poets. It continues to charm and amaze.
Jay Haskins is an artist and poet currently living in Port Townsend, Wa. He has been writing poetry for many years and was captivated by haiku about 5 years ago when he joined the local haiku writers group. When some of the members decided to explore the renku form he got involved with that as well. He enjoys the social and playful aspects, the free flow of ideas that happen when writing a group poem.
Peggy Heinrich must have been Japanese in a former life because she is drawn to all things Japanese: its food, architecture, haiku, tanka and most recently renku. Strange that the attraction of these last three is in reverse order of their actual development. A fairly new participant in renku sessions, she finds their twists and turns baffling to her Western-shaped mind but that is the challenge. A native New Yorker, Peggy happily relocated several years ago to the warmth of Santa Cruz.
Christopher Herold lives in Port Townsend, Washington with his wife, Carol O’Dell (also a renku poet). After a richly rewarding career as a rock ‘n’ roll drummer, Christopher settled down to help raise their daughter. He wrote his first haiku in 1968 while going through monk’s training at a Soto Zen Buddhist monastery. He began to write live, in-person renku in 1991. In 2008, he co-founded the Port Townsend Renku Club with Karma Tenzing Wangchuk. Creative collaboration is what most attracts him to the genre—that and the conviviality it promotes. He describes renku by quoting Groucho Marx: “Let’s put our minds together and forge a head.”
H. Mack Horton I teach premodern Japanese literature and culture at the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on classical poetry. I worked for a decade or so on medieval renga, publishing a translation of The Journal of Sôchô (Sôchô shuki) and a companion volume, Song in an Age of Discord: The Journal of Sôchô and Poetic Life in Late Medieval Japan (both from Stanford, 2002). I then moved far back in time and began to work on Man’yôshû, the poets and anthologizers of which were also profoundly exercised by questions of poetic linkage. My study of the longest poetic sequence therein is entitled Traversing the Frontier: The Man’yôshû Account of a Japanese Mission to Silla in 736-737 (forthcoming, Harvard). But I’m not a poet and wish I were!
Siobhán “Von” Houston: Von lives in Ireland. She has been writing poetry on and off for many years. She draws her inspiration from Poe, Yeats and Pearse. Her writing style is varied but has recently been writing haiku and renku. This is her first published poem.
Leticia Huber linguist, is native from Mexico City. From her beloved Spanish, French, Italian and English, she has savored the delight of language in many expressions: Professional Acting, Professional Writing, 2nd Mex. National Prize Lyricist for 1 year, Teacher, Professor, Language-learning Investigator, Published Poetess.Her re-occurring art seems to be Poetry -since she finds it everywhere! Renku, for Leticia, has been a discovered Port Townsend treasure beyond its intimidating, wise structure, facilitated by harmonious friendship; factual work, productive freedom in creativity; and beyond all: LOVE (as a cohesive energy. Not only a feeling), and as a beautiful, very efficient form of meditation.
Veronika Ikonnikova: Hi! I’m from Russia. Vivid, ‘living’ images and such a laconic way to express them – that’s what I like about renku. In the sequence of very short verses you can see many different stories, whimsically changing and at the same time coherent and harmonious. This is a unique and breathtaking view of the world. Every author has his/her own view to share with the others – that’s why writing renku is so interesting.
Marjo de Jeu: retired lecturer in Plant breeding (specialism in flowers) at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Hobbies: sculpturing in stone and wood, playing the violin, gardening and making my own jam. I also like sailing, travelling and reading literature and poetry.
Betty Kaplan: (1919-2011) started writing haiku and related forms after she had become a widow. Living in Florida (USA) after retiring from the fashion industry, she wrote and published haiku, tanka, haibun, renga/renku and rengay. She loved writing the latter linked forms especially. Even more important than linking poetry to her was that these forms linked people, even worldwide. And the process of collaborating probably meant more to her than the product of that collaboration – though she did enjoy the pleasure readers had of her work.
Marianne Kiauta: Born 3 m below sea level in the city of Gouda (The Netherlands), I had the opportunity to participate in several scientific expeditions in the Himalaya, climbing up to 5800 m a.s.l. Now, 40 years later and after employment in entomology and as editors, my husband and I, in our second youth, take care of abandoned animals (chickens, goats, horses, rabbits, goose). Our menagerie is a rich source of haiku moments.
Svetlana Kiolo: I’m from Russia and I work for a newspaper in the city of Voronezh. My friend Valeria Simonova-Cecon introduced me to renku and Japanese poetry in general. In the genre of renku I’m particularly attracted by its diversity and richness – constant change of imagery and mood. Renku is also a great opportunity to look at the world from different perspectives and to know better those with whom we are writing poetry.
Kris (Moon) Kondo: co-founder & past president of AIR, is an artist, poet, journal keeper, teacher & mom with a myriad of interests who was fascinated by the multi talents of the early haijin. Her renku activities, which started in 1979, were extremely intense in the 1990′s when she was at the center of major happenings of the renku world in Japan & activities with HSA, HIA, & HNA as renku seeds were taking root on all fronts. While she has made some forays into writing renku on line, she has found it frustrating, preferring to write face to face.
David G. Lanoue teaches English at Xavier University in New Orleans. His Kobayashi Issa website features an archive of 10,000 haiku. Haiku led him to renku. He was lucky to learn from Japanese master Tadashi Kondo at a meeting of the Haiku Society of America in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He loves the vigor of linked verse, its power of dynamic connections and imaginative shifts. He is a novice in renku, though he has served as sabaki for two kasen written with fellow members of the New Orleans Haiku Society.
Angela Leuck has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. Her passion for flowers and gardens has inspired numerous poetry collections. She is also committed to making haiku and tanka better known in North America and is presently working on a haiku anthology for teens to be published in Fall 2012 by Wintergreen Studios.
Ramona Linke was born in 1960 in the Mansfield area. She resides in Salzatal/Beesenstedt, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 2003 she has been writing haiku and she takes part in linked poetry (renku). She is especially interested in haiga, photography, watercolors, sumi-e-painting, and she takes part in poetry readings and collective art exhibitions. She’s a member of the German Haiku Society (DHG) and the World Haiku Association (WHA) and is present on the internet with her homepage and her blog „haiku-art“. www.haiku-art.de & haiku-art-rl.blogspot.com
Patricia Ludwick is a professional playwright and published poet, who keeps body and soul together by working as an editor on manuscripts and story editor on feature films. She has lived on Gabriola Island for over twenty years, where she has enjoyed a number of workshops on haiku, tanka, and linked verse conducted by Sonja Arntzen and Naomi Wakan. Two of her haiku were included in the 2011 anthology Tidepools.
Deborah Barbour Lundy lives among the badlands and wildlife of western Wyoming in the small town of Dubois. Upon discovering renga during the fall of 2011, she began exploring this expressive linked style. Although her nijuin is a solo effort, she is attracted to the collaborative writing process and its promise of blending singular voices and visions into humanity’s colorful and unique mosaic.
Carole MacRury: Carole, a Canadian, pursues her writing and photography interests from a small border town on the 49th parallel in Washington State. Encouraged by friends and mentors, she began to explore various forms of renku, despite her misgivings it wasn’t poetry. She was particularly influenced by the concept of ‘scent linking’ on the late William J. Higginson’s website and “Aspects of Prosody”, an article on John Carley’s website www.renkureckoner.co.uk. She is currently drawn to shorter forms of renku: the nijuin, shisan, and yotsumono, and views renku as a dance of the minds through associative thinking. Carole highly recommends collaborative writing as therapy for any dry spell in one’s poetic life.
Catherine Mair lives in Katikati, New Zealand and was the motivator for the Katikati Haiku Pathway. Catherine has been writing poetry, short short stories and the Japanese forms for two decades. She has published a series of health books for children. Catherine finds the ‘conversation’ of renku stimulating and challenging.
Tomislav Maretić (Zagreb, Croatia) thinks that renku is a creative collaborative poetry resembling a jazz band or an orchestra where everybody has her/his role in improvisation. In this way a collective poem arises belonging to all participants together with the joy of creation.
Vicki McCullough has been digesting, assimilating and producing haiku and related forms for the past 10 years. Her first encounters with renku were the late-night renku parties led by Marshall Hryciuk at Haiku Canada gatherings. Her first encounter with the shisan was in a renku workshop led by Bill Higginson at Haiku North America in 2005. Vicki is attracted to the collaborative and problem-solving aspects of the linked-verse form, and particularly to the spontaneous—and fun!—creation in live renku. The west-coast regional coordinator for Haiku Canada, she lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Fokkina McDonnell was born and raised in the Netherlands. For almost 40 years she has lived in the UK. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Manchester which has a thriving poetry and performance scene. Co-creating linked verse with its unexpected turns and shifts is for her a stimulating and joyous experience.
Dylan McGee: I teach early modern Japanese literature and culture at Nagoya University, Japan. I have always had an abiding interest in Japanese poetry, especially haikai, and lately I have done some work on poetic networks in the Osaka region during the 18th Century. I am also very interested in connections between image and text in Japanese literature, and that is probably one of the qualities that inspired me to try my hand at translating an illustrated poetry sequence.
Paul Mercken: Born in 1934, he discovered the attraction of African and Asian cultures after an academic career (history of western philosophy) in his home country Belgium, the UK, Italy, the USA, and the Netherlands, where he lives since 1978. Logic, language(s), linguistics, semantics, poetry, literature and art fascinate him. Haiku taught him the transitory value of the here and now. He’s secretary of the Dutch haiku society. He enjoys meeting people all over the world, citizens of a republic of letters, who adhere to the motto: haiku builds bridges. He particularly likes the playfulness and liveliness of linked verse.
Angela Naccarato lives in Port Coquitlam, BC. She is the founder of and the facilitator for Intuitive Vancouver, a company that empowers individuals by guiding them to develop their intuition. Angela is also the founder of the Vancouver Haiku Group where members enjoy lively discussions, create haiku, and develop their intuition as a source of inspiration. In July of 2011 along with other poets she attended a gathering on Gabriola Island in British Columbia where she was introduced to renku. Although she found the genre challenging, the support of some very talented and prolific writers made the renku experience a lasting memory.
Carol O’Dell: An ‘Army Brat’, Carol O’Dell spent her childhood in a number of countries. She enjoys Renku and received the HSA’s Einbond Grand Prize in 2009 for two renku & a First Honorable Mention in 2010 (all three renku were written with her husband, Christopher Herold). Carol & Christopher enjoy living in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, and are very happy that their daughter, Vanessa Herold has made her home there also. Carol finds working is getting in the way of writing haiku & renku these days, but hopes to have more time in the future.
Martin O’Keeffe: Born in 1961, Martin O’Keeffe, a native of Dublin Ireland is married with four children. He left school at sixteen but maintained a love of the written word; both poetry and prose. A parallel love of music drew him to songwriting and consequently to writing poetry. His recent involvement in this collaborative Japanese form he found “both challenging and hugely enjoyable”.
Joy Olsen: A prairie born Boomer .. sought a west coast adventure and found it. I worked in the airline industry, raised a family, and travelled a bit. My life long passion is observing and discovering the intricacies of nature. My expression of this passion is through creating ceramic sculptures and paintings. Currently I live with my partner on a small Gulf Island in the Salish Sea, occasionally writing poetry and playing with words.
Origa:is a Siberian girl once discovered on an internet site by an American gentleman… thus, she now lives in Michigan. Haiku and renku came rather late into her life, yet these poetic forms from ancient Japan have become her inner self. While haiku requires solitary immersion in nature, renku brings amusement of intercultural relations – together, they balance poetic life. Origa is also a sumi-e artist, and host, judge, and translator of the international bilingual haiku contest Calico Cat with her original sumi-e as prizes, and husband Dennis as the contest sponsor. She is a founder/editor of Kankodori Press.
Linda Papanicolaou lives in the Bay Area of California. An art teacher and the editor of Haigaonline (www.haigaonline.com) initially became interested in renku to gain a better understanding the concept of linking as applied to haiku and images. Since then it has become a major passion. She is an active participant online at The Renku Group and in live renku sessions with friends at the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.
Dick Pettit:I’m a retired English Language teacher, 76. I came back to, & started writing Haiku in 1990, and was attracted to renga soon after: by Nobuyuki Yuasa’s translation of the first 8 verses of ‘Minase’ and Hiroaki Sato’s 100 Frogs. The form has opportunities for combination, suggestion, and drama, with endless sequences. It can clearly be developed into new things, but first we must learn to do what the ancients did, that is to master linking, so that it becomes second nature. This is essential, but also it doesn’t matter, as the interest of renga is its changing topics—
Mary Emma Dutreix Pierson joined the New Orleans Haiku Society at its initial meeting.A speech-language pathologist in the New Orleans Public Schools for twenty-eight years, she retired after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Elementary School where she was employed.She began writing traditional haiku and now writes modern haiku. Moon haiku and firefly haiku are of special interest to her.Currently,
she is exploring renga and renku forms with the other members of the New Orleans Haiku Society.
Patricia Prime lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She is the co-editor of Kokako. She has been writing Japanese forms for twenty years and finds the stimulation of working with other poets rewarding.
Vanessa Proctor is an English, New Zealand, Australian writer who first discovered haiku while she was living in Japan in the ’90s. She writes poetry and teaches in Sydney where she lives with her young family. She enjoys creating renku online with poets from around the world and experiencing the renku journey which often leads to unexpected places.
Collette Quinn-Hall is a published poet and educator living in Calgary, Alberta. She keeps sane teaching Humanities to a group of brilliant students at an arts-centered school and continues to tug at the threads of the wild world spinning webs of poetics. She recently attained her MA sharing stories of how children and one adult came to know the world a little better through poetry.
Sheila M Ross: A contemporary lyric poet from Montreal, currently living in Gatineau, Quebec, Sheila has been exploring Japanese writing forms since 2007… mostly haiku, haibun and renku. Sheila is a member of KaDo Ottawa and Haiku Canada.
Moira Richards: I live with my husband in a small town between mountains and the sea on the southernmost edge of Africa. I love to read, to be cooked for, and to get down and dirty with the rampant vegetation in my garden. I’m especially interested in renku as poetry. http://www.redroom.com/author/moira-richards
Jeremy Robinson is an assistant professor of Japanese language and literature at Grand Valley State University in western Michigan, USA. He has a PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in Japanese literature with a focus on classical poetry, and his dissertation centered on the earliest collection of Japanese poetry, the 8th century Man’yôshû. His interest in renga stems both from his interest in Japanese poetry as an inherently participatory and communal art form, and his belief that the importance of humor and play is under-appreciated in studies of classical poetry.
Denise Ryan was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. She uses poetry as means of self-exploration and views the whole creative process at therapeutic.
Yulia Shoda lives in the capital city of Ukraine, Kiev. Being for a rather long time interested in Japanese culture and having chosen oriental studies for her future profession, she had a nice chance to visit Japan and to feel its spirit. She thinks of haiku as of a unique form of expressing one’s way of feeling and thinking, and likes it for its minimalism and true magic. As for renku as the other form of Japanese poetry – it’s like a pearl necklace where each pearl, when in its place, contributes to the real beauty of the whole, which is always greater than its parts.
Valeria Simonova-Cecon lives in Cividale del Friuli (a small and very picturesque town founded by Julius Caesar in Northeast Italy) with her haijin husband Andrea Cecon and their mongrel dog Renga. She enjoys writing haiku and renku, walking the pre-alpine hills and studying languages.
John R Snyder:
Carmi Soifer lives in Suquamish, Washington, USA, where she can see Mt. Rainier from her mailbox. She is a writing teacher, and is pleased to be a part of the Port Townsend Haiku and Renku Groups. She loves the comradery and communal spirit of renku.
Nicholas M. Sola resides in New Orleans, USA.
William Sorlien is a haiku and renku gadfly with origins in the central United States from a state whose motto is “Show Me”. He was introduced to Japanese poetic forms through the auspices of a practicing Buddhist martial arts sensei who kept a small lending library in his dojo. While searching for the true essence of the haikai form he discovered renku and has been collaborating with international poets ever since.
Alan Summers lives in Bradford-on-Avon, where a well-deserved lunch at the Castle Inn affords a splendid view of Wiltshire’s Westbury White Horse. Alan has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and is a Japan Times award-winning writer for haiku and renga. His passion is for live renga with the public in particular, but not exclusively. He founded With Words, a UK-based provider of literature, education and literacy projects, and was the Literature Director of the 2010 Bath Japanese Festival. Alan is also the Linked Forms editor for Notes from the Gean. With Words: www.withwords.org.uk Blog: area17.blogspot.com
André Surridge: Born in Hull, England, André lives in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand. He is the winner of several writing awards for poetry and playwriting and his work has been widely published. André enjoys the collaborative approach to writing as it highlights the mystery of the creative process. The interaction & blossoming synergy is truly awe-inspiring, … how one poem sets off another & the different pathways of interpretation are intriguing. My personal thanks to collaborators who have enriched my creative life through their guidance, brilliance, encouragement & their generosity of spirit.
Marg Sutton: “Why not” quoth the ghostwolf, “give it a try, and see what this renku is like. Add it to your shakuhachi/sumi-e/haiku triad.” What else does one do on a sunny Sunday on Gabriola Island? But enjoy the afternoon with fellow writers in a game of renku – really! Simply amazing!!
Jim Swift is retired in Port Alberni, on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. He came to Renku to learn more about linking, and apply what he learned to his photographic haiga. He is now exploring the idea of linked haiga, enjoying the abundance of links between the verbal and visual imagery.
Barbara A Taylor: “Each day demands that I write and that my fingers touch and feel the earth.” Barbara’s haiku, haibun, haiga, tanka and short form poems appear in international journals and anthologies on line and in print. Renga/renku writing challenges my creativity, spontaneity and patience. The collaborative pathway to a whole poem is always illuminating, enriching, and mostly satisfying. I really love it when they move fast. I live on a mountain ridge in the Rainbow Region, Northern NSW, Australia. My diverse poems with audio are at http://batsword.tripod.com
Molly Vallor is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research focuses on medieval Japanese Buddhism, literature, and culture. She is currently researching her dissertation on Rinzai Zen master Musō Soseki (1275 -1351) at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyōto as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow. Her dissertation will feature the first fully annotated edition and first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology.
Vladislav Vassiliev: Born and raised in Russia, Vladislav currently lives in a quiet London suburb with his wife and two children. His job is commonly described as “working with computers”. Vladislav’s fairly recent interest in renku has been fuelled by his desire to learn more about the history and aesthetics of the haikai genre.
Max Verhart: Dutchman Max Verhart emerged nationally as a haiku poet in the early nineteen eighties and internationally in the late nineteen nineties. He runs his own small publishing house ‘t schrijverke and edits and publishes the multilingual haiku journal Whirligig. He writes collaborative poetry because he likes the process regardless of the result, for he values comradeship higher than success. But of course the result can be a bonus…
Janet Vickers’ poems have appeared in various Canadian and UK anthologies and literary journals. She has published two chapbooks, You Were There (2006) and Arcana (2008). Moving to Gabriola in 2010 opened the opportunity to learn more about Japanese poetry through the teachings and work of Sonja Arntzen and Naomi Beth Wakan.
Naomi Beth Wakan is a poet and essayist living on Gabriola island, BC. She has published more than forty books. In the last while she has been working cooperatively with other writers and artists. This led to her working on a couple of response tanka books with the scholar of mediaeval Japanese literature, Sonja Arntzen. Writing poetry with another led inevitably to writing poetry with a group… renku. www.naomiwakan.com
Karma Tenzing Wangchuk started writing haiku in 1964 and experimented with linked forms in the 1980s. But it wasn’t until 1998 that he began to write renku, first partnering with Marlene Mountain in “linked haiku,” then collaborating with poets including Jane Reichhold, Tom Clausen, Jan Bostok, Charles Trumbull, and William Higginson. In more recent years, Tenzing has composed renku with members of the Port Townsend Renku Club, which he cofounded with Christopher Herold. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington, where he works in the Free Store and the Food Bank, and performs as a member of the Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble.
Bette Norcross Wappner enjoys haiku, photography, and woodblock printmaking. She likes participating in renku linked poetry for the collaborative energy between friends. Bette llives in Kentucky, USA with her husband and two children. bettenorcrosswappner.blogspot.com
Michael Dylan Welch:is a widely published poet and first vice president of the Haiku Society of America. He first wrote renku around 1990, and attended the 1992 Renku North America tour in San Francisco. In 1992, he cowrote the first rengay, invented by Garry Gay, and his essays on rengay popularized this renku spin-off. Michael has an extensive rengay page at http://sites.google.com/site/graceguts/rengay and other linked verse at http://sites.google.com/site/graceguts/collaborations. In 1997, his article in Frogpond first began to popularize tan-renga. Michael believes that the responsive and spontaneous writing skills necessary for linked verse are essential to learning haiku.
Mary White lives between the mountains and the sea in Dublin, Ireland. She has been writing Renku for three years since meeting Norman Darlington at a reading by Bruce Ross. She loves the sense of tradition along with the immediacy and fun in interacting with other Renku poets. Exploring the different Renku forms experimenting with gendai is engrossing. It really sharpens the nib for Haiku composition. Her acapella group has put one of her Haiku sequences to music!
Josh Wikoff spent his childhood and young adulthood on a commune, an Indian reservation, a sailboat, in Central America and on more than one couch. Now married with 2 daughters and 2 dogs, he lives in Northern California where he’s slightly more settled. Josh especially enjoys linked forms for the social aspect of their composition and, often, a fresh, multicultural diversity of imagery.
Alison Williams works in Southampton, England and plays in the borderless online world. She finds the writing of linked forms to be both a challenge and a delight, and appreciates the opportunity to work with people she is never likely to meet in person. She is often surprised by the marvellously unexpected results of collaborative creativity.
Eiko Yachimoto: Ever since she was seized by the beauty of communion through linking verses, she has called herself a renkujin and keeps writing renku with poets in and out of Japan. She is also keen on translating Basho’s renku into English and feels very fortunate that, over the years, she has established a strong fellowship with her co-translator, John E. Carley. When she is not working on renku, she studies, struggles, and writes on Sugita Hisajo, believing that Hisajo’s life and poetry should be a secret link between modern Japanese haiku and the global haiku community that includes lovers of renku and renga.
Zulis Yalte as a teen, found herself captivated by the gentle piercing imagery of Haiku, especially that of Basho and the poetic reflections in Vancouver Island’s coastal landscape. That captivation continues to weave itself through her writing, sculpture, painting and multi-media imagery. Last summer a gathering on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, introduced a newfound and compelling delight in the word/image linking and group sharing practice of renku.
Susan Yeend was introduced to Japanese Poetry through Haiku weekends on Gabriola Island B.C. Canada where she was inspired by the outstanding poets that participate there. She finds poetry a way of experiecing life more deeply. Last year Sabaki Vicki McCullough led her group through the the intricacies of Renku. She also enjoys organic growing, folk dancing, singing, painting, photography, bell ringing, & sharing her love of her Gulf Island environment with her young grandaughter.
Fabrizio Zamero: I’m a teacher of literature in an Italian secondary school. I’ve had twenty year’s experience in contemporary dance, both as an interpreter and a choreographer. Right now I’m engaged in contemporary art projects. Of renga/renku I love the sharp precision of the form that paradoxically, leads to an always unpredictable beauty.