Four Tan-Renga Sets

Amelia Fielden and I wrote the following four tan-renga sets in the evening of 18 July 2011, while travelling by ferry from Sidney, British Columbia to Anacortes, Washington. We had just attended the tenth annual Gabriola haiku weekend, and had carpooled together from Seattle. On the way to Vancouver Island, we had written our “Two Fat Spaniels” rengay together, and on the way home I suggested that we try writing tan-renga. I devised the sequence, which was to simultaneously write two tan-renga sets on a particular theme, each of us starting one of the two sets. The first two sets, “Through the Year,” progress through the four seasons. The second two sets, “Stages,” progress through the stages of human life. This format gave us each the opportunity to contribute a balanced number of three-line and two-line verses, with each of us leading and following. These tan-renga were first published in Red Lights 8:2, June 2012. In publishing these, editor Marilyn Hazelton said that “Featuring the work of significant tanka poets in the center section of Red Lights is a tribute, honoring their dedication and leadership. . . . The results are serious, funny, and a joy to include.” +

Photo by Kathabela Wilson.