home image
what's new page
about the Haiku Society of America page
how to join page
hsa meetings page
Frogpond magazine page
newsletter page
annual contests page
haiku collections page
HSA member anthology page
news page
links page
contact us page

2001 HSA Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Collection

The Haiku Society of America sponsors this annual award for renku of 36, 20, or 12 stanzas. (Renku is a form of renga). See also the contest rules and the judges' commentary for the Einbond award. For more information about the goals of this contest, download a copy of the HSA Renku Contest Committee Report (pdf) published in Frogpond XIII:2 (May 1990).

Commentary by year: 200720062005 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Winners by Year: 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Judges' Commentary for 2001


 


2001


The judges for the 2001 competition were Shinku Fukuda, Eiko Yachimoto, and Fay Aoyagi. Out of six entries, they selected the renku below as the winners. To see their comments on the winning renku, click the link for 2001 on the Judges' Commentary page.

Grand Prize: Winter Stars

A kasen renku by Mark Brooks (mb) and Christopher Herold (ch).

winter stars
the telescope eyepiece
slightly warm

mb

eggnog and rumballs ready
our wives call from the kitchen

ch

a muezzin
ducks back inside
the minaret

mb

you stand in line
for lotto tickets

ch

stuck on the turnpike
I watch the moon rise
over an open field

mb

motionless silhouette
of a stag

ch

still uncertain
the palsied Floridian
dimples a ballot

ch

pressure ridges surround
the base of the volcano

mb

then she unzips my fly
and slips in
a downy feather

ch

on their second date
he proposes

mb

major mergers
spawn a trading frenzy
at the closing bell

ch

larger fish chase down
baby orange platys

mb

Los Angeles smog
eclipsing the eclipsing
June moon

ch

home run ball lost
in sprinkler mist

mb

a whole platoon
of plastic soldiers
raked from the sandbox

ch

Night of the Living Dead
on the late, late, late show

mb

one limb only
of the withered cherry tree
rife with blossoms

ch

near some cliff dwellings
an old pilgrim yawns

mb

safe and dry
we pull down our kite
out of the rain

mb

in a shift of wind
someone practicing tuba

ch

the new guy
cleans out
the elephants' cage

mb

barnacles seal
the dingy trunk

ch

a layer of frost
settles
into the woodpile

mb

manuscript accepted
by the flames

ch

now adorned
with a St. Jude medallion
he rhymes again

mb

the kids' smooch attempt
becomes a fit of giggles

ch

boat stuck
in the tunnel
of love

mb

muffled scraping
from the next cell

ch

harvest moon and yet
green pecans still tumble
down the roof

mb

dusk so early, swallows
no longer skim the pond

ch

in the garden
dragonflies
are becoming attached

ch

party streamers
tied to a gate

mb

with a flourish
I brush on
the ragged cloud

ch

snowmelt ripples
the driveway oil slick

mb

petals drift
through the long arcs
of a swing

ch

what's a fit reward
for the best jumping frog?

mb


Second Prize: Snowball Snow

A kasen renku by Paul W. MacNeil (pm), Ferris Gilli (fg), and Peggy Willis Lyles (pwl).

first light
the sidewalk to work
passes snowball snow

pm

shouts of laughter
from the hillside sledders

fg

she adds
a dash of hot sauce
to the bubbling soup

pwl

helicopter rotors
rev for takeoff

pm

sudden swirl
of fallen leaves
in full moonlight

fg

chrysanthemums
beside your door

pwl

the butler
frightens tricky monsters
with a real tarantula

fg

Kahlil Gibran glares
from the book's cover

pm

how many times
have those dark eyes
spoken my name

pwl

a different tattoo
for every man who seduced her

fg

smoke
rings
the sated lovers

pm

another schnauzer
clearing the hoop

pwl

moonrise
lengthens melon
after melon

pm

as the Dow drops
the smell of sweat

pwl

a bar of soap
thuds
on the shower-stall floor

fg

barely a hiss
the sommelier pulls a cork

pm

bouquets
of cherry blossoms
for Madame Butterfly

pwl

every mirror shows
the tomboy's spring formal

fg

on their nest
a heron pair
touches and bows

pm

proposing with a new house
and a prenuptial contract

fg

he lived
without me
after all

pwl

why did that masked stranger
leave a silver bullet?

pm

eagerly
we drop our coins
into the gypsy's palm

fg

refugees cross
a withered field

pwl

matted with ice
the Scottish cattle
stand to the storm

pm

echoes of the battering ram
on the portcullis

fg

his birth cry
cuts through
a daze of pain

pwl

behind a rusty dumpster
syringes

pm

the moon's path
leads straight to the yard
of an AA center

fg

dried-out cockleburs
on the rabbi's sock

pwl

she shakes sawdust
from the prize ribbon
at the state fair

fg

telling the phone solicitor
I'm not available

pm

ecology
is an ancient science,
true or false?

pwl

atop the plastic float
a frog joins the chorus

fg

brilliant blues
begin to climb
spires of lupine

pm

beekeepers bait a hive
with honeycomb

pwl

 


Judges' Commentary for 2001


These comments were written by Shinku Fukuda in Japanese, reflecting comments from Eiko Yachimoto and Fay Aoyagi. The comments were translated into English by Fay Aoyagi.

*

Compared with 12 entries last year, there were 6 entries in the 2001 renku contest. This was rather disappointing. However, we are glad to point out that all the entries were full kasen. In Japan, renku contests only accept half-kasen (18 verses) due to the high volume (700) of the entries. We feel this is unfortunate because kasen is the jewel of renku. We admire the many poets who have made efforts to obtain a deeper knowledge of renku, have had more experience in writing it and are eager to explore this new world.

There are some important elements in kasen renku. There should be close responsiveness between the hokku (the first verse) and the wakiku (the second verse). The omote (#1-6) should be calm and cheerful. In the ura (#7-18) and the nagori-omote (#19-30), the poets should shift and develop verses with the feeling of 'ha' (breaking the rhythm). The kasen renku should contain the compulsory two blossom verses and three moon verses, as well as two sets of love verses. There should be unlimited variations in the materials and the flavor of linking. The topics can be on society and its subjects, human nature, humor and current events. In linking, the poets can find the strings from the previous verse by picking up the flow through the topics, the emotions, the scents, the sounds and the hierarchies. They can also leap. An ideal ageku (the last verse) should have a hopeful and cheerful tone.

To judge with the utmost fairness, each of the three judges first submitted his/her favorites with comments to the others. After thorough discussion, we reached our conclusion. The grand prize is awarded to Winter Stars and the second prize goes to Snowball Snow. Let us discuss why we selected Winter Stars as the winner. We use the terms omote, ura, nagori-omote and nagori-ura here because we believe that awareness of these four parts of the renku is important for best results.

The poets seem to have written this kasen, Winter Stars, with relaxed pens, while keeping their eyes on American life-style and feelings. Basho used the term 'sejo-ninjo' (the feeling of the society and and its subjects). See the omote 3 and 4, the ura 1, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 12, the nagori-omote 7 and 8 and the nagori-ura 3. Each country has its own culture, customs, and human characteristics. We don't have to remind you that those elements of the society where the poets live are often reflected in the renku they write.

Responding to the hokku with the winter stars by describing the warmth of home, the wakiku shows us happiness in everyday life. The shift in No. 3 verse is excellent. The flow from No. 5 (moon) to No 6 (a stag) tightens the renku. All three moon verses deal with different situations. The moon eclipsed by the smog in Los Angeles is inventive. (Please remember that 'no moon' and 'the invisible moon' should be avoided in the moon verse.)

The first blossom verse is about withered cherry trees responding to the Living Dead in the previous verse. Skillfully, the poet focuses on a single branch with blossoms. The second blossom verse is picturesque and shows sensibilities often seen in Japanese-style renku. Are the first love verses (the ura 3 and 4) about a man falling into the trap of a prostitute? These verses about contemporary urban life are entertaining. However, the second love verses in the nagori-omote 8, 9, 10 are a little weak as love verses. The stronger love verses do not deal with children in love.

In the omote 4 and 5 and the ura 1 and 2, we see good shifting from the inside scene to the outside scene. The shifting and linking in the omote 5 and 6 is excellent, as well. The development in the nagori-omote 2 (tuba), 3 (elephant) and 4 (barnacles seal) is clever. The nagori-omote 5, 6 and 7 with the rejected manuscript in the middle demonstrates excellence in developing the flow.

Unfortunately, we don't see much variation in the nagori-omote 11 and 12 and the nagori-ura 1 and 2. The poets could have shown more movement here. Another flaw in this kasen, we must say, is there are too many animal verses (the omote 6, the ura 6, the nagori-omote 3, 4, 12, the nagori-ura 1, 6). It is better to have no more than one verse with a four-legged animal in the whole kasen. Also, too many outside verses in the middle are inhibitors of variation. In addition to the nagori-omote 8 (the kids' smooch) verse, there are several humorous verses.

The omote 4, ura 9 and 12, the nagori-omote 8 are superb examples of haikai. We can feel the kind eyes of the poets. The ageku with a frog is well done and evokes warm feelings. Some English-language renku have artificially long verses with forced three-line-breaks and occasionally even a short verse in 2 lines is too lengthy. In this winning renku, we don't see these shortfalls. The choice of words in this kasen is simple but powerful. Equally important is the pleasant rhythm and sound. We hope that many English-language poets will be inspired to write with relaxed and cheerful pens as shown in the winning renku.

Let us briefly comment on the second winner, Snowball Snow. The shift and development in the omote 2 and 3, the omote 5 through the ura 5 are skillful. Three round-figure images in a row in the ura 5, 6 and 7 are somewhat disappointing. The cherry blossom verse with Madam Butterfly in the ura 11 is unique and evocative. The response to the ura 12 is cheerful and clever. A pair of herons in the nagori-omote 1 is answered by the human marriage verse in the nagori-omote 2. Here, the poets show effectiveness by twisting the flow. A gypsy in the nagori-omote 5 and refugees in the nagori omote 6 are a little close, image-wise and a little inert, link-wise.

Too many dark verses appear in the nagori-omote 8 through 11. However, the development in the nagori-omote 1 through 4 is skillful. The second blossom verse could be about cherry blossoms as in the traditional-style Japanese renku. The ageku is excellent with a bright and hopeful tone. We see excellent linking rather than dramatic shifting in this kasen. We believe the readers can feel how much the poets enjoyed writing it. Compared with the non-winning entries, this kasen follows the renku rules diligently and is a very high-level, powerful work. We truly respect the poets in the U.S. who are beginning to establish their own world while they enjoy writing high quality renku. We all thank the poets who entered this contest.

Lastly, we are so grateful for being given this opportunity to judge the contest and we enjoyed reading all the entries.

December, 2001

—Shinku Fukuda, Eiko Yachimoto, Fay Aoyagi, Judges

Note

In October 2000, the Global Renku Symposium was held in Japan with Shinku Fukuda as a coordinator. The international renku panelists were William J. Higginson from the U.S., Ian Cordescu from Romania, Mr. Zu Yao-Ming from China and Ai Yazaki from Japan. To promote renku which we can share as a global treasure, we issued "Global Renku Tokyo Manifesto." For the poets who are interested in English-language renku, Shinku Fukuda wrote "Introduction to Global Renku". Please contact Shinku Fukuda to obtain this book:

Shinku Fukuda
1-3-2 Kurihira
Aso-ku, Kawasaki
Kanagawa-ken 215-0031
Japan

 


Home | What's New | About the HSA | How to Join | Society Meetings | Frogpond | Newsletter
Annual Contests
| Haiku Collections | HSA Anthology | News | Links
| Contact Us