Toyoko Aisawa: I live in Tokyo and teach Japanese Language and Japanese Culture to the foreign students at UNU-ISP and UNU-IAS, travelling to Shibuya and Yokohama once a week to meet with my students. I first composed kasen in the 1970s with Professor Suzuki Yukio of Waseda University, and Father Peter Milward of Sophia University. I compose my poems in the form of 5-7-5, 7-7 syllables.
Hortensia Anderson (1959-2012) considered renku an instrument of transformation as well as intimacy. She lived bravely in the East Village in NYC with her bengal leopard cat, Camellia, and is author of The Plenitude of Emptiness, Darlington Richards Press’ first title.
Susan Antolin: I fell in love with contemporary Japanese short poetry while living in Japan in the late 1980s. Two decades later, I was excited to discover a vibrant community of haiku poets in the Bay Area and have since served as president of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, newsletter editor for both the HSA and HPNC, and co-editor of Mariposa. My collection of haiku and tanka, Artichoke Season, was published in 2009. I currently edit and publish Acorn: a journal of contemporary haiku. I live with my husband and kids in Walnut Creek, California and post frequently on Twitter @susanantolin.
an’ya: My haigo (haiku pen name) is an’ya, and I live and write in the bountiful state of Oregon in the USA. Attracted to numerous Japanese forms (renku being one of them),that I enjoy because of the interface with other poets. My extended biography can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/existencearts
Sonja Arntzen: I am a retired professor of Japanese literature. I used to compose renga in English with students to help them appreciate the social aspect of traditional Japanese verse. Since moving to Gabriola Island in British Columbia, I have found myself living close to a number of poets who have taken to renku composition like ducks to water. I enjoy how every renku is a voyage taken in unexpected directions by the imaginations of one’s fellow poets.
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 in the challenge and community that is renku. In her free time she plays the guitar and ukulele, juggles, hikes and sails.
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 hobbies. 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 of the German Aphorism Archive. http://www.artgerecht-und-ungebunden.de/ and http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Claudia.Brefeld/
Joyce Brinkman: As a poet and program chair for a small poetry not-for-profit, I have developed and participated in many artistic collaborations. In America, I think we suffer from what I call the Dickinson/Thoreau syndrome. Too often we see the poet as a recluse alone with personal thoughts and words. For early Japanese renga poets, poetry was a wonderful word party. Today thanks to the internet that party can span the globe. It is one world, and the renga relationships I enjoy enable me to connect with other poets and see the natural world from their place on our planet.
Marjorie Buettner lives in Minnesota with her husband and three daughters. She has taught poetry workshops at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and has held informal workshops for writing tanka and haiku. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America, Tanka Society of America, Canada’s Tanka Society and Anglo-Japanese Tanka Society. She writes book reviews and essays for various literary journals. She has a book of haiku and tanka, Seeing It Now, published by Red Dragonfly Press and will soon have a book of haibun published by the same press, Some Measure of Existence.
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.
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 crossroads 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 believes 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…
Andrijana Cvetkovik, Macedonian filmmaker, professor and researcher in Japanese cinema, resident in Japan for seven years: I fell in love with haiku as a child but not until my arrival in Japan did I understand the importance of form and the joy of collaborative writing. I found film editing and haiku, renga, tanka to be very similar; kasen like a four-act film where seasons, emotions, memories and transcendental worlds are depicted in cinematic manner. I am grateful to Toyoko Aisawa, for leading me in the world of renga. This experience changed me profoundly and deeply influenced my work as film director.
Magdalena Dale was born, and lives, in Bucharest, Romania. 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 was one of the editors of Take 5 (Best Contemporary Tanka), 2010 and 2011. She has written a number of books of haiku, tanka and renga. She loves to write renga because it means communication with other poets and she thinks she can learn a lot about Japanese poetry which has a special place in her heart.
Norman Darlington: I live in rural Ireland, raising vegetables, chickens and children. I’ve been enchanted with renku since first reading Hiroaki Satō’s One Hundred Frogs more than 20 years ago. Having been involved in numerous intercultural renku exchanges, I am now convinced more than ever of the overarching good which collaborative linked verse can bring. I’m a core member of the Intercultural Renku Group haikai.eu/irg founded in 2013. More at xaiku.com.
Billie Dee is the former Poet Laureate of the U.S. National Library Service. A graphic artist and writer, she is especially interested in renku, haiku, and related forms. “I find in renku a fine model for group cooperation and inspired problem resolution. Can there be any more noble path to peace?” Billie lives in a bright pink house with her gracious wife and a pack of spaniels. She publishes both online and off. http://billiedee.net
Elehna de Sousa: I live on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, where I enjoy a quiet lifestyle surrounded by nature and the sea. I spend much of my time exploring my creative interests in mixed-media art, photography, haiku and tanka. Renga and Renku is not a form that I get a chance to participate in very much but the few times I have done so have been throughly enjoyable – it has always been a refreshing and fun shift to move from the introversion of solitary poetry making to the extroversion of creating with others in a linked form.
Chris 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: I’m a babysitting grandmother and wildlife carer who lives in a small country town on the east coast of subtropical Australia. Maleny is famous for having fought Woolworths (and lost), but also for a large amount of co-operatives. We are a remarkably united/divided community which suits me fine since I both enjoy diversity and need to be accepted for myself. I guess I was a dead sitter for renku.
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.
Donna Fleischer: As I write this, Spring is arriving in Connecticut, U.S.A., where I was born and continue to live and write, mostly poetry, in both open and Japanese-derived forms; the latter for the past fourteen years, and renku begun just a year ago. For me renku is another kind of walking, as haibun was for Basho, haiku for Santoka. I live on a traprock mountain ridge surrounded by meadow, and a floodplain road that eventually connects me to manmade urban streets. Renku connects me with others, makes of us neighbors in poetry, walkers through imagination.
Francesca Forrest: I’m a mushroom gatherer, cloud watcher, and railroad-track walker. I love telling stories and writing poems. I enjoy the company of my husband and four children, my friends and neighbors, and the natural world. I love the haiku form for its focus on small things and particular moments, for how much one can say with so few words.
Heike Gewi: I am… indifferent to a lot of items on earth. But some people call me passionate about haikai. I won’t correct them. As a teenager I was a gymnast able to jump, which brought me some years ago to think of Basho’s frog; link and shift. Sometimes I put colours to a text – mostly digitally because of my bad experiences in kindergarten with paint pots. I fall in. I’m grateful for those who have chosen to write renku with me – repressing the idea, that they might be stuck with me. Thanks to them wonderful things happen in my life.
Stephen Gill (Tito): Being a university lecturer, BBC Radio scriptwriter, translator (Jap. to Eng.), and stone arranger who lives in Kyoto, I spend much of my time communicating, mostly with Japanese. Haiku is close to silence: necessary and absolute. Renga is more like music and appeals to me for the live jamming rather than for the reading afterwards, although that can also be enjoyable. I tried my first renga in Nepal in 1972 with two other expats living there. Now I do it with my friends in the Hailstone Haiku Circle. Nobuyuki Yuasa is a guide and an inspiration.
Gabriele Glang: I am a bilingual German-American poet, painter, screenwriter, teacher and translator. Born and raised in the US, I have called the Swabian Alp in southern Germany my adoptive home since 1990. Haiku has been my faithful companion since college: it teaches me wisdom, clarity, brevity, precision, beauty.
Kim Goldberg After twenty years as investigative journalist and nonfiction author, I signed up for a T’ai Chi class and promptly tumbled down a deep, dark well of arcane Taoist metaphysics and recipes for internal alchemy. When I finally surfaced, my words (like much else in my life) had been transformed. The only language I could speak was poetry. I find myself particularly drawn to renga/renku and its prime directive of “link and shift” because it yields a text that bears little resemblance to linear narrative structures of Western literature but a high degree of resemblance to the structure of ecosystems. www.PigSquashPress.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.
Hayashi Hiromasa is a medical doctor and a tanka poet. This was his fifth chance to compose kasen. He lives in Tokyo with his daughter and leads a tanka group at Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.
Hayashi Seiho is a retired professor of Toyo University and lives in Yokohama with his family. He published his first book of tanka poems, Dewdrops of Roses, last year. He likes travelling in Europe and especially in the UK as his research branch is in Brighton.
Tzetzka Ilieva (Vida): I was born and grew up in Bulgaria. All my relatives are still there. After moving for a while, my husband, our two children, and I, settled in Marietta, Georgia. For me, renku is like backpacking. You can choose your starting point and draw a map of the places you want to visit, but all the details come later, as the journey goes on. I love the surprise detours.
Kirsty Karkow: I find that writing renku is a most friendly and companionable sport that brings poets together in ways that solitary writing seldom does. I live on the coast of Maine, USA where poems come and go on the tides and there is lots of dreaming room. It is quite wonderful that this renku is being published here.
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.
Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda: Every morning I’m awakened by the lively call of crows, cardinals, and wrens. I live on a peninsula that juts into the Chesapeake Bay, the United States’ largest estuary. Nature feeds my spirit as does the renga each time I respond to this collaborative “feast for the senses.” Working with other poets has taught me how to look closely at nature’s intricacies and to filter out what’s commonplace. This poetic conversation has taught me that words are at their best when chosen deliberately and savored slowly. I’m an artist and writer who served as Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2006-2008.
Taro Kunugi: I have, from the beginning, been much more interested in renku and renga than haiku and tanka. Now, I’m mostly engaged in writing renku three times a month or so and under sabaki training provided by the Japan Renku Association. Recently, I wrote two shisan in English with foreign poets, one of whom studies renku at a London University. I’m pleased to have found that they take seriously renku, the art of wit and friendship, as an academic subject.
Nataliya Levi lives in Moscow, Russia. For her, haiku and renku are ways to feel the rhythm of nature and non-random flow of events in the big city. She has been writing and publishing haiku, renku and senryu for more than ten years. She is one of the organizers of the International Russian-language Haiku Contest (haiku-contest.ru) that is sponsored by The Japan Foundation and a co-editor of Ershik – the Russian language journal of senryu and kyoka (ershik.com)
Roman Lyakhovetsky: Originally from Russia, I now live in Israel. My haiku have appeared in various journals including Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Heron’s Nest and TinyWords. I am one of the editors of the online Russian-language senryu and kyoka journal, Ershik www.ershik.com.
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.
Walter Mathois 1954 born and living in Vienna. Since his youth he writes poems and just can’t help it. Because of his interest in the Japanese way of life, he approached the Japanese short lyric forms. 2007 he started to write haiku, tanka and Japanese linked verse with other Haijin. He is co-author of the book “Urban Story”, dedicated to all kinds of linked verse and published in many anthologies,the journals Sommergras, Lotosblüte, Chrysanthemum, Notes from the Gean, Sketchbook, Lynx and others.
Vicki McCullough: I live in a housing co-operative in the “alive” Commercial Drive area of Vancouver, British Columbia. A sampler of life, I have been chiefly occupied as mother, daughter/caregiver, actor, director, teacher, administrator, researcher, writer and editor. Mindfulness practice led me to haiku, where I found renku. Live renku participation invigorates me in the way theatre collaboration and improvisation does. Renku online, where I’ve played both sabaki and renju, has been a new editing challenge and an interesting exercise in bouncing from one side of the brain to the other.
Beth McFarland: Originally from Ireland, I now live in Germany in a village near the Black Forest. For me, writing renku is a great learning process, and I love working in a creative team. Part of the excitement is that the renku takes on a life of its own and refuses to be kept under control.
Bette Norcross-Wappner enjoys haiku, photography, and woodblock printmaking. She likes participating in renku link poetry for the collaborative energy between friends. Bette lives in Kentucky, USA with her husband and two children. bettenorcrosswappner.blogspot.com
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.
Shin Yu Pai is the author of Haiku Not Bombs (Booklyn Artist Alliance, 2008) with the Collectivo Haiku (Tom Gilroy, Jim McKay, Patrick So, Denise Siegel, Rick Roth, Alison Roth, and Grant Lee Phillips). Shin Yu lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit http://shinyupai.com.
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—
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.
Zhanna P Rader: I was born and got my university education in Russia. I have been living in Athens, Georgia, USA, for many years now. I write a variety of poetry, including that for children, both in English and in Russian. I also enjoy writing Japanese genre poetry. Writing renga/renku with other poets is also fun and joy for me.
Kala Ramesh: I held five haiku sessions at Bookaroo – Festival of Children’s Literature, Delhi 2012. I’ve been invited a second time to Bookaroo Kashmir, May 2013. This March I was at The British School, Delhi, teaching haiku and renga to students. Twenty three management students opted for my 30 hour haiku and renga course at Symbiosis Floating Credits Program, Pune. Along with a core group of five other members I was instrumental in founding IN haiku on 23rd February 2013 at Pune. Our main intention is to hold a haiku utsav annually in India. It’s all about our coming together!
Moira Richards: I author or edit (usually academic) books and articles; read, review and (as partner in Darlington Richards Press) publish contemporary literature – mostly poetry; and pursue with passion the study and practice of the not as disparate as you might suppose, arts of renku and kitchen gardening.
Michele Root-Bernstein: I do many things: study creativity, bake bread, present research, advocate for arts-infused education, knit socks, swim, teach now and then, skpe with my far-flung children, and write about the invention of imaginary worlds. I spend a lot of time, too, exploring haiku, haibun, haiga. I write haiku alone, meditatively, and whenever I have the opportunity, in groups, for the communion. Although I have only participated in two renku parties thus far, I love how the body postures, pen scratching, chit-chat and ideas of others around me stimulate my own image-making and thinking.
Andrew Ruzkowski: I currently live in Chicago where I am pursuing an MFA in poetry. I am drawn to renga/renku because of the layering effect inherent to the form. When I write, I feel as if I am accessing different parts of the self. I imagine the self as existing constantly and continuously but, at the same time, tenuously compartmentalized. The renga affords me the opportunity to explore the world through the prism of self.
Hiroaki Sato was nominated for president of the Haiku Society of America in 1978, just a few years after Bill Higginson invited him to talk about haiku from the perspective of a translator of modern Japanese poetry at a HSA gathering, even though in his talk he pompously denigrated haiku as unfit to be an independent modern literary form because it was too deeply anchored in renga conventions – a misrepresentation of Yamamoto Kenkichi’s classic position though (as I found soon enough) an exact copy of Earl Miner’s. He was duly elected president and served for three terms because in those days there weren’t many people willing to serve in that position.
Kazuko Sato: I lived in Portland, Oregon, USA for 15 years before settling in Yokohama six years ago. While in Portland, I had a chance to compose haiku in English and on my return to Japan I joined 遊子座, a Japanese renku group led by Master Tadakatsu Wada. I find the renku somehow resonates with my profession of counselling. I am a complete novice in AIR (Association of International Renku) but look forward to a rich renku world of bi-lingual sessions.
Andrew Schelling: First involvement with poetry came through Asian verse forms. I translate India’s poetry, but find its forms don’t fit much with North American practice. Haiku, renga, and haibun fit like a glove. For some years I did a great deal of haibun. Haibun Black Earth. The form situates the Southern Rocky Mountain bioregion for me. I can use field guides, letters, newspapers, wildfire. It was the Scottish renga poets who led me to renga, which I came to love: you do it with others. Great innovation, constant change, tight form. Seasonal cycles. Moon optional. Dream means love affair.
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 has published haiku and renku in print and online journals around the world. He offers haiku workshops to educators and is currently working on a collection of haiku and longer poems to be published in 2014. John loves the social give and take of renku, a welcome break from the usual solitary nature of poetic composition. A teacher of older children for many years, he now works as an administrator at Austin Montessori School and is also well-known around the world for his writings on Montessori education..
Richard St. Clair (b. 1946) is a lifelong musician and prolific composer of modern classical music who came to Japanese-inspired poetic forms some twenty years ago. His haiku have been published in most of the major English language print and online journals. He was a member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society for many years where he received most of his initial tutelage in haiku aesthetics and where his work was of prize-winning calibre. His tanka have appeared in publications of Keibooks including Atlas Poetica and several issues of the Bright Stars series. St. Clair’s interest in renku composition began in the summer of 2012 and he has been very active since then on The Renku Group, his collaborative work having appeared in print in Frogpond and on-line in Lynx. He is also an enthusiast of nō drama and has written a western-style chamber opera using an English translation of a 15th-century nō play, Taema, by the famous Japanese playwright Zeami Motokiyo, as his libretto.
Carol Steele: I live near Santa Cruz, California and have been writing renku with the Yuki Teikei Society for thirteen years. I am a past president of the society and the current editor of the GEPPO. I enjoy renku for the social and collaborative spirit in which it is written and originally went to monthly renku parties to learn more about writing haiku.
Carmen Sterba lived most of her adult life in Japan. She has been active volunteering as Haiku Society of America’s Secretary and 1st VP, writing two columns on haiku, and is one of the co-founders of Commencement Bay Haiku in 2012. Her haiku chapbook is sunlit jar. Because of her major in Far East Asian Studies at a university in Tokyo, she is presently writing a non-fiction book on historical men and women in Meiji Japan.
Johnye Strickland: I’m a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. In the fall of 2000, as a beginner at haiku, I was invited to join a renku group. I am still intrigued by the process, as well as by the spirit of community among participants.
Subhadassi: I am a freelance writer and photographer living in South East England (Lewes). I came across Renga through my friend Linda France, who came across it from Alec Finlay. In the early years of the century we ran various public renga in the NE of England, particularly around and along Hadrian’s Wall. I love the wisdom of renga’s structure, and the fact that collaborating ‘live’ is a perfect antidote to sitting in a studio alone making writing happen. More recently I have begun to use the renga form as a way to do much in corporate training/development contexts.
Kikuyo Sugiura: I am a housewife 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.
Marg Sutton: Considering myself more a shakuhachi and sumi-e artist, I feel privileged and honored to participate in such writing ventures. As a recent transplant to Gabriola Island, I look forward to these summer writing weekend workshops to exercise my “grey cells” alongside the charm and wit of such esteemed comrades.
Takahashi Sachiko (from Toyoko Aisawa on her behalf): I am afraid Ms Sachiko Takahashi cannot write her bio as she is not good at writing English. On behalf of her, I write it here: Sachiko Takahashi is a tanka poet and also has been composing kasen with her friends for many years, though she cannot understand English. She has published some books on tanka poems and is the editor of Rakuza one of the quarterly magazines of poetry. She is a Noh player and belongs to the Kanze School. She is strong and healthy as she trains her muscles by playing Noh. A lovely and self-reliant old lady.
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
Jie Tian lives in Southern California. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Cloudbank, Pearl, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Marin Poetry Anthology, Squaw Valley Review, SOLO NOVO, and other publications. Her honors include scholarships or residencies from Hedgebrook, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Fine Arts Work Center, Poets House, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. A finalist for The Center for Book Arts (New York City) 2011 Poetry Chapbook Competition, she was awarded an Emerging Writers award from the Center in 2012.
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.
Vladislav Vassiliev lives in London, UK. He is a co-editor of the senryu and kyoka magazine, Ershik (www.ershik.com) and is particularly interested in scifaiku and sci-fi renku.
Naomi Beth Wakan: Living in the world of haijin for twenty years, of tanka writers for the last five and of renku for the last three, I have seen my poetry open and develop into three very different ways of viewing the world. In my new book, “And After 80…” I have been able to use this past writing experience in full range — living in the present, nostalgic and the long poems for whining and complaining. A full canvas. www.naomiwakan.com
Ken Wanamaker was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from San Diego State University in the early 70s. He has been writing traditional Western form/no form poetry for over a decade. In 2009 he became interested in renga after reading Basho’s renga and commentary in Makoto Ueda’s book on the poet. He became intrigued with the concept of linking and attempted many solo pieces before becoming participant in online forums devoted to the form.
Michael Dylan Welch has been writing haiku-related genres since 1976. His haiku, senryu, tanka, longer poems, linked verse, essays, and reviews have appeared widely. He believes that the spontaneity and receptiveness necessary for renku composition are useful skills to develop for responding to life experiences by writing haiku. Michael is vice president of the Haiku Society of America, and founder or cofounder of the Haiku North America conference, the Tanka Society of America, and National Haiku Writing Month (nahaiwrimo.com). Michael lives with his family in Sammamish, Washington, where he is working on an anthology of rengay. His website is graceguts.com.
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!
Mark Windsor: I am a PhD student and assistant lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Art at the University of Kent, England. For several years now I have turned my hand to Japanese forms of poetry. I am especially attracted to renku beacuse of the potential it offers to dialogically communicate densely charged ‘aesthetic ideas’ (to borrow Kant’s expression) – ideas both revelatory and meditative that cannot be reduced to any determinate thought or concept.
Sheila Windsor: Writing and art making are simply things I do, and have from almost as far back in childhood as I can recall. I’ve been an exhibiting artist for about a decade and a published writer, with the usual credits and awards, for circa twenty years. I have fallen in love with all the Japanese forms, and western derivations, to the point of daily absorption. In summer 2013, husband Alex and I (and three tortoises) plan to move to Bexhill-on-Sea at the foot of the rolling Sussex Downs in England: near our adult sons and not too far from central London. A big adventure. We’re ready to play!
Kai Xie: I am originally from China, and now I am a PhD student studying Classical Japanese literature at University of Washington Seattle. I first encountered renga when I was taking a class of Classical Japanese literature at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and I immediately fell in love with it. I was especially amazed by its unique linking concept, which is very different from that in the lianju, or linked verse composed in China. Recently, I am working on wakan renku, or linked verse in Japanese and Chinese.
Eiko Yachimoto: Two years ago, on March 11, when victims’ quiet consideration to each other impressed people outside of Japan, I thought of the persistent influence of renku culture in Japanese society. Yet the curricula of modern Japanese schools include haiku and tanka, but never renku. That grace in utmost adversity came from within; from a spiritual well that had nourished communities since renga was composed across social class. Alas, the on-going disaster of Fukushima now breaks and tears apart the tissues of community life and I pray for a rebirth of renku qualities among all who struggle in its aftermath.
Kaori Yoshioka: I am a Japanese poet, and belong to the Han Association of Haiku and the Kagetsu International Renga Association. I live in Yamagata prefecture in Japan, near the national scenic area of Yamadera. Sharing an appreciation of the permanence of natural beauty with friends who have a similar sensibility motivates me to compose witty poems.
Nobuyuki (Sosui) 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.
(b. 1946) is a lifelong musician and prolific composer of modern classical music who came to Japanese-inspired poetic forms some twenty years ago. His haiku have been published in most of the major English language print and online journals. He was a member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society for many years where he received most of his initial instruction in haiku aesthetics and where his work was of prize-winning calibre. His tanka have appeared in publications of Keibooks. St. Clair’s interest in renku composition began in the summer of 2012 and he has been very active since then, his collaborative work having appeared in Frogpond and Lynx. He is also an enthusiast of Noh drama and is in the long-term process of writing an opera using a 15th century play by Zeami Motokiyo as his libretto.