Tag Archives: renga

Limited Edition: So Remote The Mountains

So Remote The Mountains
after Saigyo

by Pat Nolan

 

so remote cvr So Remote The Mountains is a limited edition fanfold featuring twelve meditations on Saigyo’s tanka, yama fukami (So remote the mountains). A Buddhist monk-poet, Saigyo (1118 – 1190) is one of the most well known and influential of the traditional Japanese poets writing in waka, or tanka, the court poetry style of the late Heian, early Kamakura era. Saigyo had written ten tanka that began with the phrase yama fukami describing the austere and remote circumstances of his hermitage near Mount Koya and sent them to a fellow monk who lived some distance away, north of Kyoto. With a few exceptions, all of Saigyo’s poems are written in the 31 syllable form of tanka or waka favored by the Japanese court of his day. The tanka is a precursor to renga and hiakai no renga (linked verse) and today’s popular haiku. Its 31 syllables are generally broken into sets of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables from which traditional haiku derives its 17 syllable format.

            The twelve meditations on Saigyo’s So Remote The Mountain by Pat Nolan are not tanka, nor are they technically haiku as they do not adhere to the syllabic count for either of these forms. They are probably closer to haiku than tanka because of their succinctness. However it is best to think of them as call and response. The call is Saigyo’s line yama fukami, and the response is the meditation on the line, sometimes sober, sometimes humorous, all of which emphasize a sense of isolation and distance.

            This limited edition of So Remote The Mountain is a fanfold printed on rough unbleached mulberry paper set in a cover of 100% recycled Bogus art paper with Japanese silk screened endpapers imported from Kyoto. The cover is an original stencil print by the author. Each is numbered, signed, with the author’s seal. The fanfold measures 3-11/16th x 8-7/8th inches (9.5×22.5 cm) closed, 7-3/8th x8-7/8th inches (19.3×22.5 cm) open.  Japanese silk screened endpapers can vary from what is shown.  However all endpapers are genuine Japanese silk screened paper.
so remote intext

 

So Remote the Mountain is available from Nualláin House, Publishers Box 798, Monte Rio, CA 95462, for $10 (postage included) cash, check or money order (make check or MO payable to ‘Pat Nolan’).

 

Limited Edition: All Ears

All Ears

haikai no renga by Keith Kumasen Abbott, Pat Nolan, Maureen Owen & Michael Sowl

Renku PoetsAll Ears, a haikai no renga or linked verse, was the first of the collaborations between Maureen Owen, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Michael Sowl, and Pat Nolan to be made into a limited edition handmade book and was published by Empty Head Press in 2004.  Subsequently, Random Rocks and Poetry For Sale, both haikai no renga, were issued as limited edition handmade books(see Nualláin House archives for July 2013 and October 2012).  All Ears was also included in the anthology Saints of Hysteria, A Half Century of Collaborative American Poetry (Soft Skull Press, 2007).   

All Ears was composed through the mail over a period of a year and a half beginning in early 1992.  Once the 36 stanzas (kasen) of the haikai-no-renga were completed, each poet was asked to comment on the process in general, and on their own stanzas and those of their collaborators.  The arrangement of stanza follows the standard haikai form of 8 stanzas on the first sheet and 8 stanzas on the back sheet with the remaining 20 stanzas taking up the central text.  Following the haikai no renga and the commentary by the poets is the sequence showing the stanza assignment as well as which poets had the moon and flower stanzas.   

All Ears was bound using repurposed “sticks & strings” wallpaper sheets from a wallpaper sample book as cover stock and backed with Japanese silkscreen endpapers.  Each cover was unique in itself. The pages were folded vertically with a folded leading edge as is common in Japanese books.  Each book was hand sewn using a Japanese side stitch style known “tortoiseshell.”  The dimensions are 4.25×10 inches (10.5×16.5 cm).  Only a limited number of All Ears were produced and it is out of print. 

For more on the intriguing subject of Japanese Linked Verse, see Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton, 1979), Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1983), and Haruo Shirane’s Traces Of Dreams (Stanford, 1998).

To view a PDF facsimile of All Ears, click on ALL EARS 2004

Limited Edition: Random Rocks

Random Rocks

Haikai No Renga

By The Miner School of Haikai Poets

randrksfcRandom Rocks is a limited edition haikai no renga (linked verse) published by Bamboo Leaf Studio in 2007.  The size of the edition was linked to the number of stanzas in a kasen, a standard renga length employed by Basho and his disciples, and in the memorializing of the 36 immortal poets of Japanese literature.  Random Rocks measures 5.5x 7 (14x17cm), is hand sewn in the Japanese side stitch style, bound in heavy green chiri paper, momogami binding strips and features Japanese silk screen end papers.  The edition was divided evenly among the four haikai poets to distribute as they saw fit.                                                                                        

The Miner School of Haikai Poets have engaged in the practice of haikai no renga over a period of thirty years, written primarily through the mail and more recently, email.  They are Pat Nolan, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Michael Sowl and Maureen Owen. The Miner School’s haikai have been published in numerous magazine including Hanging Loose, Exquisite Corpse, Jack’s Magazine, Big Bridge, and Simply Haiku as well as in limited edition chapbooks and broadsides from Empty Head Press, Bamboo Leaf Studio, and Tangram Press.  Their kasen, All Ears, was included in Saints Of Hysteria, an anthology celebrating collaboration, from Soft Skull Press (2007).   

One of the unique features of Miner School haikai is that it includes a running commentary by the authors on each of their own stanzas as well as a stab at their collaborators’ links.  It functions in a way similar to commentary provided as a special features audio track on a DVD.  The introductory essay to another kasen, Bamboo Greeting, published in Simply Haiku (2008), further details some of the unconventional methods practiced by The Miner School of Haikai Poets.  

Haikai no renga is a form of renga (Japanese linked verse) practiced by Basho (1644-1694) and his disciples.  It consists of a 17 syllable verse and a 14 syllable verse provided in turn by the poets engaged in the collaboration.  In linking verses, a 31 syllable poem is produced, the latter verse of which (the 17 or the 14 syllable) will go on to join the next in the sequence to form its own unique poem, and so on until the requisite number of stanzas has been achieved.  Renga sequences can number into the hundreds.  Basho favored the economy of 36 stanzas.  Renku is diminutive for haikai no renga also known as haikai.  The more renowned Japanese verse form, haiku, is derived from the practice of amassing numerous hokku to vie for the privilege of opening a moon-viewing-sake-sipping evening of friendly literary collaborations.   Renga itself is derived from the courtly form of poetry exchanged by the aristocracy as exemplified in Lady Murasaki’s 11th Century The Tale Of Genji.  The rules of the composition for renga and haikai no renga are complicated and arcane, but like those of chess or go can be captivating and stimulating.  

For more on the intriguing subject of Japanese Linked Verse, see Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton, 1979), Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1983), and Haruo Shirane’s Traces Of Dreams (Stanford, 1998). 

A pdf facsimile of RandomRocks 2007can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Limited Edition: Untouched By Rain

Untouched By Rain

A Tanka Sequence

by Pat Nolan 

ubrfcvrUntouched By Rain was published in 2005 by Empty Head Press in a limited edition, lettered A through Z, signed by the author and bearing his seal, “old goat.” Each hand-made book has a unique cover, many as reproductions of  uchiwa-e, Japanese fan prints, features silk screened Japanese end papers, and is hand sewn in the Japanese four-hole side stitch binding.  The black & white illustrations accompanying the tanka represent traditional Japanese motifs such as the cherry blossom, crane, bamboo, and pine. Untouched By Rain, and a companion selection of tanka, Thin Wings, were originally made to be sold through the gift shop at the Sonoma County Museum.  Up until the gallery’s recent closing, both tanka selections were also offered through The Quicksilver Mine Company.  Less than a handful of copies of Untouched By Rain are still available.  Inquiries welcome.

presentation envelope
presentation envelope

Click to view a pdf facsimile of Untouched By Rain 2005

Tanka, meaning ‘short song,’ is an unrhymed poem with a fixed thirty-one syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.  In Westernized stanza form, it is a five line poem.   Tanka, one of the oldest of Japanese verse forms, dates back to before the 11th Century.  Tanka gained renewed popularity in the late 19th Century among radically modern young poets who brought its diction and subject matter up to date.  Historically, tanka is a precursor to renga, haikai, and haiku.  The poems in Untouched By Rain do not follow precisely the fixed syllabic count nor do they conform to many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture. 

Limited Edition: Poetry For Sale

Poetry For Sale

Haikai No Renga

By Keith Kumasen Abbott and Pat Nolan

Poetry For Sale is a limited edition haikai no renga (linked verse) published by Mountain Forest River Editions in 2008.  The size of the edition was linked to the number of stanzas in a kasen, a standard renga length employed by Basho and his disciples, and in the memorializing of the 36 immortal poets of Japanese literature; Poetry For Sale is also a kasen.   A variety of covers were printed (of which the accompanying image is only one of a half dozen) on 100% recycled Bogus Art paper and bound in the Yamato style using handmade ribbons of Japanese silkscreened paper.
Dimensions, w7 x h8 inches (18 x21.3 cm).
                                                                   

Keith Kumasen Abbott and Pat Nolan have engaged in the practice of haikai no renga over a period of thirty years.  They are founding members, along with Michael Sowl and Maureen Owen, of The Miner School of Haikai Poets. The Miner School’s haikai have been published in numerous magazine including Hanging Loose, Exquisite Corpse, Jack’s Magazine, Big Bridge, and Simply Haiku as well as limited edition chapbooks and broadsides from Empty Head Press, Bamboo Leaf Studio, and Tangram Press.  Their kasen, All Ears, was included in Saints Of Hysteria, an anthology celebrating collaboration, from Soft Skull Press (2007).  

One of the unique features of Miner School haikai is that it includes a running commentary by the authors on each of their own stanzas as well as a stab at their collaborators’ links.  It functions in a way similar to commentary provided as a special features audio track on a DVD.  In his introductory comment, Pat Nolan explains how the idea to write Poetry For Sale came about and how it would proceed:

I had been reading Earl Miner’s The Monkey’s Straw Raincoat for some clarification on an aspect of haikai and by chance reread his translation of the delightfully quirky haikai, Poetry Is What I Sell, written by Basho and Kikaku.  Miner speculated that the haikai might have even been used as a prospectus to garner new students.  I streamlined Miner’s version of the hokku and sent it off to my long time haikai partner Keith Kumasen Abbott with the idea of replicating the spirit of this haikai; he would be Basho and I would be Kikaku.  After some initial confusion, we followed the sequence that Miner set out in his introduction to this oddly hilarious renga

Haikai no renga is a form of renga (Japanese linked verse) practiced by Basho (1644-1694) and his disciples, one of whom was the above mentioned Kikaku (1661–1707).  It consists of a 17 syllable verse and a 14 syllable verse provided in turn by the poets engaged in the collaboration.  In linking verses, a 31 syllable poem is produced, the latter verse of which (the 17 or the 14 syllable) will go on to join the next in the sequence to form its own unique poem, and so on until the requisite number of stanzas has been achieved.  Renga sequences can number into the hundreds.  Basho favored the economy of 36 stanzas.  Renku is diminutive for haikai no renga also known as haikai.  The more renowned Japanese verse form, haiku, is derived from the practice of amassing numerous hokku to vie for the privilege of opening a moon-viewing- sake-sipping evening of friendly literary collaboration.   Renga itself is derived from the courtly form of poetry exchanged by the aristocracy as exemplified in Murasaki’s  11th Century The Tale Of Genji.  The rules of the composition for renga and haikai no renga are complicated and arcane, but like those of chess or go can be captivating and stimulating.

For more on the intriguing subject of Japanese Linked Verse, see Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton, 1979) and Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1983).  Also, the introductory essay to the kasen Bamboo Greeting, published in Simply Haiku (2008), further details some of the unconventional methods practiced by The Miner School of Haikai Poets. 

A pdf facsimile of Poetry For Sale can be found here.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Limited Edition: Thin Wings

THIN WINGS  − A Tanka Sequence

By Pat Nolan

Thin Wings was published in the Fall of 2005 by Empty Head Press in a limited edition lettered A through Z, signed by the author and bearing his seal, “wandering like a cloud,” each with a unique cover, some as reproductions of Japanese prints in the author’s collection, silk screened Japanese end papers, and hand sewn in the Japanese four-hole side stitch style.  It is made available here as a pdf file.

Tanka ,meaning ‘short song,’ is an unrhymed poem with a fixed thirty-one syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.  In Westernized stanza form, it is a five line poem.   Tanka, one of the oldest of Japanese verse forms, dates back to before the 11th Century.  Tanka gained renewed popularity in the late 19th Century among radically modern young poets who brought its diction and subject matter up to date.  Historically, tanka is a precursor to renga, haikai, and haiku.  The poems in Thin Wings do not follow precisely the fixed syllabic count nor do they conform to many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture.

From the introduction to Pat Nolan’s Cloud Scatter (Tangram Press, Berkeley, 1994)

Cloud Notes
Tanka originated as court poetry early in Japanese history. I would hesitate to call these poems tanka because that presumes a mastery of a complicated set of rules and conditions.  The poems. . .actually owe more to the intricate prosody of haikai no renga (known as renku or linked verse), than to this ancient form, especially in the relationship between [the split] stanzas.  There is, as a matter of fact, a renku term for a poem composed of only two links and that’s ‘tanrenga.’  As accurate as that may be, I am uneasy with that label.  ‘Tanku,’ a word of my own invention, would seem to accommodate the Japanese nomenclature (haiku, renku) but it too doesn’t suit my sense of these poems.  Ultimately, I find myself preferring tanka as the logical as well as sentimental favorite for what this kind of poem might be called.  I do so well aware that the designation is a borrowed one.