Keith Kumasen Abbott: My Zen Teacher loved a big triangular rock I found lying on its side buried in a dry creek in New Mexico, just its speckled salt and pepper ridge showing. He was very excited and said that in Japanese this type was called a “lying-down upright rock.” So this stone stands straight up in my garden. It changes every second in the daylight or dark. Morphs incessantly with every glance. Grows eyes. Loses eyes. Grows snout. An insect, a Shinto priest. Pregnant. Not pregnant. Demure. Fierce. So it’s called The Dragon Rock. It’s my stone renku.
Finn Andersen: Born 1954, died 2007. Danish poet.
Hortensia Anderson considers renku an instrument of transformation as well as intimacy. She lives in the East Village in NYC with her bengal leopard cat, Camellia.
Lynette Arden: I live in Adelaide South Australia and convene the Bindii group, which focuses on Japanese form poetry. I first started writing haiku after taking an on line course with the World Haiku Club. I am attracted to renku because working with others opens up new possibilities, not only in subject matter, but in imagery and emotional perspectives. It is also both fun and hard work. The reward seems to be in creating a poem that none of us would have achieved singly.
Alex Ask: I am a psychologist by profession and I run a private practice in Adelaide. I continue to help people achieve goals in their life and stay in the moment. Hence my interest in the Japanese poetry forms, that permit the writer to observe and revere nature in ways previously unseen or heard. I find learning and mastering the Japanese poetry forms highly rewarding.
Francis Attard: I am a retired teacher and live in Malta. Renga/renku writing was the outcome of an open invitation in Blithe Spirit by Dick Pettit in 2001. In an article about the genre, he proposed Bashō’s famous frog haiku for the hokku. The interested parties were to provide the wakiku. I wouldn’t lose the opportunity. In four years, we had come to finish sixteen works. Most would appear in Blithe Spirit, Kokako and Lynx. In 2007, Original Numbers was privately published.
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.
Ole Bundgaard: Born 1947. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors’ Society and its haiku-group.
Ashley Capes: I’m a teacher and writer currently living in Australia. I love the haiku of Issa and have recently started reading gendai haiku poets. A few years ago I discovered renku (can’t remember how) and found myself addicted, both to the challenges and the collaboration. Renku seems to make poetry better and I’m pretty sure that the internet has a lot to do with that, as my relative isolation and access to the world of great writers would be sorely limited without it.
John Carley: I am a middle aged Englishman living in the rough uplands of the Lancashire Pennines. A former musician I have always been comfortable with collaborative art and with the idea that evocation can be more powerful than explication. I am particularly drawn to the work of Matsuo Basho whose world view I find to be startlingly familiar.
Andrea Cecon: I am a hearing aid technician. Born in Udine 37 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: My husband and I live in Tucson, Arizona where I have been writing haiku and tanka for about 4½ years. I started writing renku with the maekuzuke on Jane Reichhold’s AHA forum. Renku puts haiku and tanka into historical perspective and provides a context for the reasoning behind certain ‘rules’ and conventions. A bond forms between poets as they write renku together. Each renku creates its own special world, so much so that there is always a little sadness when a renku ends.
Claire Chatelet aka Sprite, is 50-something and lives in East London, UK. Her interest in poetry stems from a compulsion with the written word, she once (and still) considered a disease. Tossed between French and English, with a limited knowledge of German, she has a keen interest in the influence of language on the psyche and is fascinated by the process of translation. She views cross-cultural collaborative Renku/Renga as a most excellent tool for furthering understandings of all kinds, including that of the poetic process itself.
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 30 years ago. Having been involved in numerous intercultural renku exchanges, he is convinced of the overarching good which collaborative linked verse can bring. More at xaiku.com.
L. A. Davidson
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]
Charles B. Dickson
Ferris Gilli: An Associate Editor of The Heron’s Nest, Ferris Gilli lives near Atlanta, Georgia. Ferris’s years in South America and Europe and her childhood in the rural South inform much of her haiku-related work. Ferris loves the challenge of renku and the camaraderie that develops during a partnership with people in other lands. She appreciates that writing renku hones creativity and discipline, yet allows a certain freedom of expression, which can lead a renku in unexpected directions. The award-winning renku that she has written with fellow poets are the results of completely democratic partnerships with no involvement of a sabaki.
Aldo Ghirardello: I live in Udine and work there as history of art teacher. I also paint – from the moment I remember myself. I belong to a group that deals with performance called Labadini. Based on images, renga/renku poetry opens me to new ways of knowledge.
Rohini Gupta lives by the sea in Mumbai, India. She writes poetry, fiction and non fiction. Haiku and Renku seemed very strange when coming to them from free verse poetry but there was a great attraction to both. Haiku with its vivid imagery, and renku with the discovery that collaborative poetry with dedicated poets can be so delightful.
Ida Hamre: Born 1941. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors’ Society and its haiku-group.
Hanne Hansen: Born 1944. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors’ Society and its haiku-group.
Christopher Herold lives in Port Townsend, Washington, USA. His first brush with renku was in 1991 at the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society’s annual retreat at Asilomar, near Carmel, California. Soon afterward, he became a regular member of the Marin Renku Group which met to write in person every month or two throughout the 90s. Christopher co-founded the Port Townsend Renku Club in 2008. It meets monthly. He has also judged the HSA’s Lionel Einbond Renku Competition several times. His favorite way to describe renku is to quote Groucho Marx: “Let’s put our minds together and forge a head.”
William J Higginson: (bio by Penny Harter) Bill was very committed to linked poetry. I remember our first get-togethers to write group ‘renga’ – in which we linked verses with Elizabeth Lamb and others in Santa Fe. And, of course, as Bill got deeper into the Japanese traditions of ‘renku’, we began to follow the more traditional rules re placement of verses, throw-backs, variety of topics, etc. He and I worked together in classrooms, encouraging students from elementary to secondary to write linked poems. And we ran renku workshops at various haiku conferences, as well as participated in writing renku with a master in Japan. Then there was Bill’s worldwide internet renku life, his web sites (http://www.2hweb.net/wjhigginson), and his creating variations like the net-renga. His passion for linked verse led him to write and edit Haiku Seasons and Haiku World, an international saijiki, both of which were significant contributions to worldwide devotees of the genre.
Sonia Hjertebjerg: Born 1938. Danish poet.
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!
Veronica Ikonnikova: Hi! I’m from Russia. Vivid, ‘living’ images and so laconic a 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.
Elizabeth St Jacques
Colin Stewart Jones resides in Aberdeen, Scotland. Though he originally came to Aberdeen to study Gaelic his crimes as an undergraduate have forced him into exile in a city known for oil, granite, dour weather and gulls. It is not surprising then most of his writing tends lean to the grimier aspects of life.
Herbert Jonsson works as a senior lecturer in Japanese at Dalarna University in the city of Falun in central Sweden. He received his PhD in Japanology from Stockholm University in 2006. His main field of research is Japanese haikai poetry and theories of verse linking from the 17th and 18th centuries, but he has also studied Japanese painting and music in the past. For the most part he has worked with haiku and renku from the point of view of the critic and translator, but he finds the creative writing of haikai poetry to be an important complement to enjoying and understanding this art.
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.
Niels Kjær: Born 1949. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors’ Society and its haiku-group.
Kobayashi Issa: (1763 – 1828, bio by David Lanoue) I lived in the snowy, mountainous province of Shinano in Japan two centuries ago. After losing my mother and granny as a child, I traveled on foot to Edo, the city that you know as Tokyo. Eventually, I joined a haiku group led by master Chikua. As time went on, I became a haiku master in my own right, crisscrossing Japan on poetic journeys and participating in plenty of poem parties. When I departed this life (sailing west to Buddha’s Pure Land), I left behind me over 20,000 haiku that I hope you will enjoy.
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. RNA, Renku North America in 1992 was a pivotal undertaking. While she has made some forays into writing renku on line, she has found it frustrating preferring to write face to face. She did greatly enjoy her daily renga collaboration of ‘other rens’ for about 3 years with Francine Porad & marlene mountain. She is grateful to the other members of AIR who have kept it alive.
Elizabeth Searle Lamb
David Lanoue: I live in New Orleans, where I teach English at Xavier University. I came to the world of haiku as a translator, twenty-five years ago. I studied Japanese because I wanted to read and translate the works of Issa. Translating Issa inspired me to write my own haiku. At one memorable HSA meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I participated in a renku under the expert guidance of Tadashi Kondo. That renku (lasting late into the night), set me on the path to learn more about the form: collaborative, ever-changing, and always moving forward–like life!
David E. LeCount
Ole Lillelund: Born 1942. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors’ Society and its haiku-group.
Ramona Linke was born in 1960 and lives with her family in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. She has written lyrics for many years and haiku since 2003. Also, she writes renku and haibun, takes photos and paints (primarily sumi-e & aquarelle). Her haiku and haiga have been published in anthologies and magazines. She is a member of the German Haiku Society, the WHCgerman and the World Haiku Association.
Marilyn Linn: I have lived in Adelaide, South Australia all my life. I am married with two married children and four grandchildren. I am a member of South Australian Writers’ Centre, the South Australian Women Writers Society, Seaside Writers’ Group, Marion Cultural Centre Writers’ Group and Bindii, the Japanese poetry form group. I enjoy writing short stories and poetry. The challenge of haiku is a growing interest to me. I have had poetry, short stories and short articles published in several anthologies and magazines and have won First Prize, High Commendations and Commendations in several Australian Competitions.
Geraldine C Little
Dylan McGee: I am an assistant professor of Japanese language and literature who specializes in literature of the Edo period. While I have always enjoyed reading comic poetry from this period, especially senryu and kyoka, this is my first experience translating a whole collection of kyoka into English. I hope that this small effort can give readers a sense of appreciation for Ueda Akinari’s (1734-1809) poetry.
Paul MacNeil from Ocala, Florida, USA describes himself as an Amateur Naturalist who started the study of haiku and renku in his mid-forties, and is a long-time Associate Editor of the print and on-line haikai journal: The Heron’s Nest. Paul is a member of writing teams winning five Grand Prizes (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010 and nine other awards, 1999-2010) in the Haiku Society of America’s Einbond Renku Competition. Paul feels it a very special honor to have had one of his haiku engraved on a river boulder as part of The Haiku Pathway, Katikati, New Zealand, dedicated June, 2010.
Carole MacRury reads, writes and publishes free verse, haiku and tanka from a tiny town on the 49th parallel on the Canada/US border in the State of Washington. Camera always in hand, she photographs images in nature that offer unspoken poems. She finds the connections made with other minds through linking and shifting pure magic and the global participation enriching. Her best experiences with renku have been with decisive sabaki’s with final say on verses and who tend to the music and poetics of the renku as a whole.
Tomislav Maretić is a medical doctor in Zagreb (Croatia). He first met renga in the books of Vladimir Devidé. He was attracted by this form of poetry because of the verse communication and poetical interaction among the participants. Renku/renga could be a kind of very vivid play of inspiration with unexpectable results, being a sort of a real poetical adventure.
Diane Mayr lives in New Hampshire where she is owned by two cats. She is also a public librarian and a writer. Until a few years ago, her first love was writing for children (Run, Turkey, Run! is her most popular picture book), but she has found herself increasingly attracted by short form poetry and is currently enamored of the creative possibilities of haiga. Diane is involved with several blogs and spends altogether too much time online. Visit her at www.randomnoodling.com .
Paul Mercken: After an academic career (history of western philosophy) in my home country Belgium, the UK, Italy, the USA, and the Netherlands, where I’ve lived now for 32 years, I discovered the attraction of African and Asian cultures. Logic, language(s), linguistics, semantics, poetry, literature and art fascinate me. Haiku taught me the transitory value of the here and now. I’m secretary of the Dutch haiku society. I enjoy meeting people all over the world, citizens of a republic of letters, who adhere to the motto: haiku builds bridges. I particularly like the playfulness and the liveliness of linked verse. I’m 76.
John Merryfield: I am a painting contractor operating out of Tahoe City, California. I divide my time between Lake Tahoe, California and Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico where I surf, eat mangos and smile at my wife. I am a student of haiku and was coerced into writing renga by William Sorlien several years ago.
Ron Moss: I live in Tasmania a small island state of Australia, and I work as a Digital Technician in the Tasmania Archive and Heritage Office. I have also been a volunteer fire fighter for the past 12 years in a busy brigade that responds to all types of emergencies. I have been writing haiku for the past ten years and I enjoy the collaborative process of writing with friends very much. Achievements with my partners include placements in the Yellow Moon and HSA Einbond renku contests. I’m also a visual artist and I like to combine words and art in new and exciting ways. My website: www.ronmoss.com
M. M. Nichols
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.
John Parsons has been an artist all his life and has been writing short poems for most of it. Discovered haiku in mid sixties after buying R.H. Blyth’s History of Haiku, tried writing it at the time, and has done so, on and off, since then. Worked in small presses with Asa Benveniste and Brian Coffey in the seventies. Has always been interested in the graphic mark, expressionism, zen, and the natural world. Lives, works and gardens in Norfolk UK.
Matthew Paul: I was born in New Malden, Surrey, England, in 1966. I have been writing haiku since 1989 and have had them published regularly for much of the time since then. I am the Associate Editor of Presence, the UK’s leading haiku journal, and co-writer/co-editor (with John Barlow) of Wing Beats. I also write longer poetry, have a blog at http://matthewpaulpoems.blogspot.com and live in sunny Twickenham.
Benny Pedersen: Born 1954. Danish poet, member of Danish Authors Society and its haiku-group.
Dick Pettit: I’m a retired English Language teacher, 75. 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—
Sean Price: I live in a small brick house in Saint Louis, Missouri with my wife and cat. My interest in haikai began with my readings of Matsuo Basho’s travel journals in college. This translation of “Impromptu at Fukagawa” was completed while on vacation in Seattle when I wasn’t record shopping or checking out the local doughnut shops.
Gloria H. Procsal
Kala Ramesh writes that ‘searching’ is the one word that seems to say everything about her. She progressed along the path of Indian Classical Music, first instrumental then vocal, and from the South Indian Classical tradition crossed over into North Indian Classical music, performing in various cities throughout India. Then she plunged into yoga, Hindu philosophy and vipassana — which accidentally led her to haiku in 2005, and since that time it has been haiku, senryû, tanka, haibun and renku that she breathes
Jane Reichhold has been writing renga since learning the form by working with Hiroaki Sato in 1982. Her study and delight in the work with the form by Basho resulted in the book, by Kodansha International, Basho The Complete Haiku. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane has also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, Geppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she has co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets for 17 years. Lynx went online in 2000 in AHApoetry.com the web site Jane started in 1995. The work with renga continues on the AHAforum – an online community of writers. She lives near Gualala, California with Werner, her husband, and a Bengal cat named Buddha.
Gabriele Reinhard writes, paints, works and lives in Germany. She is a member of the German Haiku Society. You are curious? Then have a look to www.gabriele-reinhard.de
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 the translating, from Japanese, of renku as poetry. http://www.redroom.com/author/moira-richards
Annamaria Schiavi: I am not really a poet. I simply love Nature and I love classical haiku because this genre draws inspiration from it. In just a few words you can feel the deep union between your life and the spirit of Nature.
Adelaide B Shaw: I live with my husband in the small rural community of Millbrook, NY. My interest in writing haiku and other short form Japanese poetry began several years ago. My collection of haiku, An Unknown Road, won a Mildred Kanterman Merit Book Award, sponsored by the Haiku Society of America, for 2009. Renku/renga gives me the opportunity to work with other poets and challenges my creativity to work within the controlled rules of this form. My haiku blog is www.adelaide-whitepetals.blogspot.com.
Andrew Shimield: I live in west london and have been writing renku on and off for the last 6 years. I’m attracted by what I think of as the alchemy of the process. Out of nothing come all the links, twists and turns of the poem, which seems to take on a life of its own. I find ‘live’, face to face renku especially fulfilling, where a palpable poetic energy is created.
Valeria Simonova-Cecon: I am Russian and some 6-7 years ago I started writing haiku and this passion has changed my life. I met an Italian haijin, Andrea Cecon, on the World Haiku Club’s forum (Italian branch). We got married and now we live in Cividale del Friuli, a very small but incredibly beautiful village in North Eastern Italy. Renku is a relatively new genre for me, but it has already won my heart and helped me to understand much better, the origins of haikai. In writing renku, I try to involve my husband and my friends because for me this is one of the most wonderful ways to communicate poetically.
Sandra Simpson: I live, work and write in Tauranga in the aptly named Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. I made my first contributions to a renku in 2009 – enjoying the challenge of learning such a complex form, the online camaraderie and the creativity it sparked within me. I count myself fortunate to have been led by the great (and patient) John Carley in several poems and although I am a slow pupil, his education is beginning to have an effect. I am also the editor of Haiku NewZ, www.poetrysociety.org.nz/haikunews
William Sorlien: I’m a haiku and renku gadfly residing in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, though my origins are closer to the heart of the country from a place whose motto is, ‘Show Me’. A short while ago, I was introduced to haiku by a practicing Buddhist mixed martial arts sensei via a small lending library ensconced in his dojo. Later, while seeking the true origins of the form, I became enamored of renku collaboration. In the interim I’ve produced nigh onto 3,000 such verses, the majority of which have had to be thrown out in the trash.
John Stevenson: I learned renku from Ion Codrescu, Christopher Herold, Fay Aoyagi, Bill Higginson, Penny Harter, and Shinku Fukuda. Live composition (including improvised performance/composition for an audience) is my favorite kind of renku experience. A highlight of each year since 2000 has been an annual renku retreat in Onawa, Maine with Yu Chang, Paul MacNeil, and Hilary Tann.
Kikuyo Sugiura: I am a house-wife living in Tokyo. I am a keen gardener, but in this cold winter weather, I have few flowers in my garden. However, I love winter scenes too. I enjoy making renku verses in English and Japanese with my friends. I published a book of Japanese free-verse poems a few years ago, which is a poetic record of my long life.
Alan Summers was renga workshop leader at the Bristol Sign Poetry Festival 2010. He was also Japan-UK 150 renga poet-in-residence. Alan is the renga & renku editor for Notes from the Gean, and the founder of With Words (www.withwords.org.uk).
Harish Suryanarayana is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in electrical engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA. He is also an amateur poet and a badminton enthusiast. He enjoys renga and renku because the collaborative pursuit of poetry creates a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. It provides an opportunity to learn from others’ experience while creating something beautiful.
Rachel Sutton-Spence wrote an essay on the question “Are sign languages real languages?” as an undergraduate in 1986. She concluded that, as one could compose haiku in sign languages they must be real languages. And now she documents and analyses signed haiku and renga. That feels right.
Susumu Takiguchi believes that people would benefit enormously if they begin by studying renku first and only then move on to learn haiku. This is how haiku literature has developed and therefore would put them on the right track from the start, and vice versa. He founded in 1998 the World Haiku Club, a global haiku movement (rather than a rigid organisation) which has helped the dissemination, study and development of world haiku across the globe. He was born in Japan and educated at Waseda University, Tokyo, and later the University of Oxford. His haiku lineage dates back to his great uncle Kataoka Noo, a close student of Takahama Kyoshi. He is an accomplished artist, poet and essayist. He lives in England but operates internationally and in Japan particularly.
Hilary Tann comes to renku via two other members of the Route 9 Haiku Group (publishers of the biannual anthology of haiku and senryu, Upstate Dim Sum). Each September, John Stevenson, Yu Chang and Hilary Tann travel to Paul MacNeil’s boathouse retreat on Onawa Lake expressly to “live renku” for a long weekend. These are in-the-moment times, treasured times, and welcome breaks from her other lives as college music professor and composer (www.hilarytann.com).
Barbara A Taylor: Each day demands that I write and that my fingers touch and feel the earth. My haiku and short form poems have appeared in many international journals and anthologies online 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 live on a mountain ridge in the Rainbow Region of northern NSW, Australia. My diverse poems with audio are at http://batsword.tripod.com
Mitzi Hughes Trout
Tateshi Tsukamoto: I have been writing renku and haiku for 30 years in Japanese and nearly 20 years in English. I am a representative of AIR now. It is my sincere desire to communicate with people in many parts of the world through English renku.
Yoshiko Uchiyama started renku through meeting Kris Kondo in the mid 90s. She also participated in the Isehara Renku Group, and went on to be an active member in Shinku Fukuda’s Milky Way Renku group. She opened her house for AIR Renku meetings for over a decade.
Bette Norcross Wappner enjoys writing haiku poetry and incorporating it into her water-based woodblock prints, creating simple, English language contemporary surimono (a Japanese term used in the ukiyo-e era for unique woodblock haiku prints). She also enjoys writing collaborative linked verse renku poetry. Bette lives in Kentucky, USA. http://surimono-garden.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.
Donna West works with Rachel Sutton-Spence and Michiko Kaneko at the University of Bristol on a research project exploring metaphor in creative sign language and sign language poetry (see www.bristol.ac.uk/bslpoetryanthology). She learned about haiku, and sign language haiku through Dr Kaneko’s doctoral work and the first BSL haiku festival (www.bslhaiku.co.uk). She fell in love with sign language renga through working with Deaf poets at the Bristol Sign Poetry Festival 2010.
Mary White: I live in Dublin, Ireland. Two years ago I met Norman Darlington at a reading by Bruce Ross in Dublin and shortly afterwards he invited me to join in a Renku on Facebook and then The Renku Group. It has been a wonderful learning experience and it really sharpens the nib for writing. I love the immediacy and fun in interacting with other Renku poets. My Haiku composition has improved and last night my acapella group put one of my Haiku 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 lives on the south coast of England and works as a librarian in a university. She enjoys the elements of surprise and synergy in collaborative writing of various kinds including renga/renku. She is delighted with all the opportunities for international communication, collaboration and creativity that the internet offers.
Paul O Williams
Sheila Windsor: Having taken part in the first renku to be published in Ireland and the first published in Sweden was gratifying yet, for me, the abiding gift, with all collaborative creations whether in my contemporary visual art practice or in any form of writing, is the relationships forged and developed, sometimes over years. Solo practice and collaboration inform, expand and enrich each other and all of life. I am deeply grateful.
Nate Wright is a quiet young man contented with his life, and the people he shares it with. He turned to haiku and renku at a young age, as a way to share memories and lifetimes with people from across the world. Drawn to renku first by a love for its simplicity and clarity with which it tells its many tales of life, and then to the many people and cultures that make it truly one of the greatest poetic movements of this century. He currently resides in southern California, with his family, and their lazy but lovable mutt, fang.
Eiko Yachimoto: I always liked language study. My major in young college days in Tokyo was Russian. I also love literature, especially poetry. I find bilingual renku to be a field in which language and literature are closely knit together. In my late thirties I became a student again, this time, of the English Department, University of Minnesota and fell in love with writing poems and essays in the English language. I am entering my old age with a dream: ‘May we, through our poetic collaboration all over the world, regain that renowned communal power of language.’ I have been a member of AIR for 15 years now, and recently edited the second anthology of the group: Wind Arrow 2, a shisan anthology.
Virginia Brady Young
Nobuyuki Yuasa: By profession, I am a John Donne scholar and have translated his complete poetic works into Japanese. I also translated Basho, Issa, and Ryokan into English. I began writing renku only five years ago, so regard myself a novice in this mysterious art. Renku, for me, is a way of bringing human hearts together, for: each member must hearken to other hearts while making a unique contribution towards a harmonious whole. I belong to a group called AIR, which meets bimonthly and writes renku simultaneously in Japanese and English. This is an arduous task, but we enjoy it.
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.