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What is Haiku?

A Haiku is a Japanese verse form notable for its compression and suggestiveness. It consists of three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables that register or indicate a moment, sensation or impression of a specific point in nature. The first two lines are closely related and the last line relates but in a visceral way or creates a punch line twist.

What’s a Renga?

I’m so glad you asked. This is my take so if you are a purist please be kind. This was snatched from the web with my deletions and additions. The original text is by Jane Reichhold.

A Renga is verses of poetry which alternate between the 5, 7, 5 syllable count of the haiku followed by the 7, 7 two line syllable count. The objective is to trick or turn the reader's thinking to admire a pun or jest as a three-line verse (of 17 syllables) and follow it with a two-line verse of 7 and 7 syllables that perhaps goes in an unexpected direction. The standard long form Renga is 100 verses.

As you read or add to a Renga the important thing to watch is what happens BETWEEN the links. Think of each verse as a springboard from which you are going to jump. As your mind leaps (and you think you know where the poem is going) you should be forced to make a somersault in order to land upright in the next link. It is the twist your mind makes between links that makes Renga interesting.

Some leaps are close (as in the beginning and end of the poem) so the subject is moved only slightly ahead. In the middle of the poem the Renga whizzes can pirouette until your head spins -- and that is just what is desired. Renga is said to be a dance of the minds. Therefore you should take it seriously but not have a nervous break down as you remember it is game with words.