Mililani Hughes on the Volcano Renshi workshop

July 6, 2012

Aloha All

Just a debrief on the renshi session today at the Maluhia Guest House in Volcano.

One word to describe it: AWESOME!!

We started at 10:00 am and five hours flew like nanoseconds!! Our presentors were Juliet Kono Lee, Jean Toyama, Ann Inoshita, and Christy Passion. (All are published writers/poets…check out the Bamboo Ridge website and look up the renshi link. They invite you to read the blog and comment.)

It was an experience to hear them describe how the renshi writing project came about and then they read their pieces from the published book, They Had No Choice But to Follow. This book of linked poetry (renshi) was part of Bamboo Ridge's 30th Anniversary celebration. There was a brief introduction to renshi and some comment on how it differs from renga. The readings were a good demonstration of how the renshi poetry writing process worked.

Then…it was our turn. There were 10 participants, some of whom traveled from as far as Kohala and Waimea. We had parameters set. We each had seven minutes to write our poem. The first line of the poem came from a "grab bag," and the lucky first person had to include the line in her first line. When the first writer finished her piece, the second writer had to take off using the last line of the first piece. And so forth…all of this with only seven minutes to write. It was challenging. It was exciting.

But the awesomest part of the process was when our renshi poems were read. Wow! Although it seemed impossible that the pieces would be unified, they were.

We ended the session with the guest poets choosing pieces to share with us.

We hope to do something like this again and hope that you will take advantage of this kind of writing opportunity. Thanks to Miyoko and Juliet for being the catalysts for the event and making it happen.


PS: Lunch was wonderful with tons of food. (I was worried because everyone was so enthralled that they didn't want to take a break at first.)

Here's a link:

Talk story

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