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Linked Poems at
the Haiku Canada Conference 2007 (a review)

Photos and Text by William J. Higginson

One of the more interesting ways we talked to each other at the conference was in participating in linked poems, composed by groups of poets working more or less under guidelines established in Japan hundreds of years ago.

A Renku Reading

Marshall Hryciuk and Karen Sohne read a renku they had written in Crete with some other poets, early Friday evening. This would be our first taste of renku, but hardly our last.

The Late-Night Renku Parties

Exhausted from the drive from New Jersey to Ottawa, Penny and I could not stay up Friday night for the first of two "Late Night Renku Parties" conducted by Marshall and Karen. On this page, I'll include the photos I took of the Saturday night session.

Same Party

Looking toward the other end of the table, and wait, there's more . . .

Another Angle on the Same

Yes, that is George sitting next to Anita! Sorry it's not always easy to identify everyone in these photos, but I'm doing my best. More . . .

And Yet Another

That's just about the whole gang, seen over Marshall's left shoulder, and maybe omitting one to his right. Then, . . .

Last View

Well, I don't know who was at Marshall's right in that last photo, but here's almost the whole group, from the opposite end. One last thought, below . . .

They Take Linked Poems Seriously in Canada!

As you can see here, DeVar Dahl and LeRoy Gorman listen intently to the renku reading pictured at the top of this page. Not everything we did required this kind of concentration, but it was great for performers to know that their work was taken seriously. There were also many mirthful moments, as the photos of the late-night renku party, above, well illustrate. Let's not forget the "blind renga" initiated by Dorothy Howard and read by a group near the end of the program, in a photo here. Those who've been attending Haiku Canada Weekends for a some time will know that linked poems have been a part of the scene since long before Aylmer became Gatineau, at the hands of Dorothy and others—I remember one done in Aylmer, some twenty years or so ago. And Marshall and Karen's late-night renku sessions have been a feature of nearly every such weekend for a decade.

And, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the other web pages on the program, books, freebies, karuta (the game of matching parts of well-known haiku and tanka), and social-plus (a few of the many social interactions at the conference, and a few other unclassifiable items).

Contact William J. Higginson at wordfield[at]att[dot]net.