Poetry For Sale
Haikai no Renga (Linked Poetry)
Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas. Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes. It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written. The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.
“I have seen a number of attempts to do versions of linked poetry in English, and I think yours the truest to the spirit of the Japanese. . . .”
—Earl Miner, author of Japanese Linked Poetry and The Monkey’s Straw Raincoat
The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets. What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.
October 2015 ~ 152 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN978-0-9840310-4-7
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Poetry For Sale
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Praise for Poetry For Sale
Poetry For Sale is a fantastic collection. Anyone interested in the interaction between Japanese and English poetry needs this book. And anyone interested in renga should definitely get it. It is an immensely pleasing collection: entertaining, surprising, sometimes sharp and witty, sometimes introspective, sometimes descriptive, the renga unfold with great skill and elegance. They are a pleasure to read. Nolan and his partners have done a great job adapting renga to an English language poetic context. Renga is a unique poetic genre; I don’t know of any other form which has the effect that renga imparts. It is a combination of the concrete details of life combined with a dream like sense of traveling, like some kind of strange astral journey. It is a difficult form to do well. It is remarkable how graceful this collection is. My hope is that this collection will help others access this form so that they can also walk the journey down the renga road.
—Jim Wilson, author of Microcosmos, The Art Of The Solo Renga (Sebastopol, 2014)