January 29th, 2006

Egrets Reading

Short poetry & photography

Short-short poetry works so well with photography. There are many short-short poets working in multimedia. One of these days, I'd love to get some photoshop software so I can play, too.

Today, I just received word of a cinquain/photography exhibit by Nancy Williams that was on display at the John Michener Library in Quakerstown, PA last August.

Williams had actually written me last summer at the Amaze editorial address, wanting to obtain a write-up of the history of cinquain poetry. Unfortunately, it was buried in my poetry backlog, and I just now responded to it....too late.

I never, ever want to get this backlogged again.
Egrets Reading

SF Renku

Last night, I found out from time_shark that “From the Oort Cloud”, a renku I wrote with several other members of the Scifaiku List, will be appearing in Mythic Delirium #14. My fellow collaborators on this piece are ushi (Andrea Gradidge), Teri Santitoro, oino sakai (Lloyd Daub), and Mary Margaret Serpento. The complete table of contents of issue #14 is listed here.

I believe that science fiction renku is even more challenging to write than traditional Japanese renku. Part of the problem lies in the rules of linked verse, especially those against back-linking. A mainstream renku can wander through a slice of life without repeating themes, items, tastes, etc on its journey through the seasons. The idea is to link to an element in the verse before and then shift the focus away from that verse, proceeding seasonally through the piece. Since a science fiction renku isn't limited to the normal framework of life on the planet we live on, it’s hard to find a reference point if each individual link takes off in a completely different direction from the link before it. Without that reference point, there is a danger that the poem can become so surreal that it becomes meaningless. It seems that science fiction renku works best if all participants agree upon a “story” or, at the very least, a particular sf setting beforehand. This way, the links can shift the focus in new directions but there is always a bit of an internal, grounding link back to the central core story or speculative idea. The seasonal rules become somewhat void when we move away from the planet to space, where there are no seasons.

Off-topic Reminder: There are only a couple more days to enter a haiku in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. The deadline is January 31st and there are no entry fees. The haiku should be written for the cherry blossom season so there should be something to indicate this in the haiku...blossom, cherry tree, cherry...