The Process & Bios
Notes on "Haunted Garden"
by Farfel Lombard and Rosemary Lombard
Renku or renga, a Japanese collaborative form, divides alternating three-line and two-line stanzas between or among participants. Today, a revival via e-mail and participatory poems in libraries and elsewhere reflects back to the party game/poetic form first practiced in the twelfth century. Some are written in strict adherence to traditional rules; others, in popular versions, are often less rule-bound.
Some of the procedures in our hybrid poem inspired by the ancient form adopt traditional practices, some not. The shreds of narrative are not traditional, and our lines depart from the tanka-like 575-77 syllable pattern; but the poem adopts the practice of mentioning flowers, moon, and season in their designated lines and, more important, the linking of associations from one participant to the next, thus resembling what Earl Miner in his essay on Japanese poetry in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics notes as a style “philosophically based upon the Buddhist sense of continuity in flux and the poetic tendency to deal less with conceptualized thought than with states of mind and feeling.”
In our poem, Farfel Lombard takes the three-line stanzas and Rosemary Lombard the alternating links. In real life Farfel Lombard writes by tapping words on a communication board for my transcription and response. Thus our student-teacher communications are continual “synergetic transformations” in the form of associative links. Perhaps we could say that all conversation that works uses the same process of alternation and association. Renku formalizes that conversation.
Update after launch
by Rosemary Lombard
Through a facebook exchange between us and our friend John Sibley Williams we discovered that both "Haunted Garden" and John and now-fiancee Staci's collaboration will be in the issue #27 of BluePrintReview. John was our featured guest March 28 at our local Last Monday Poetry series, the series where I'm co-director. I think they live out toward the Cascades on the east side--a good Mount Hood view, says Staci--in relation to Portland; we are on the west side, approaching the Coast Range.
A blog note about this coincidence and the collaboration itself is online in the Chelonian Connection blog: "Reptile, Turtle, Taps a Poem": A Literary Aside
Farfel Lombard's poetry has been published in Thresholds Literary Journal.
Rosemary Lombard, an animal behaviorist who studies turtle cognition, has seen her writing published in Bay Nature, Thresholds Literary Journal, Shakespeare's Monkey Revu, Verseweavers, and elsewhere. Her photographs and graphics live, then die, in past municipal displays and publications and present posters for the Last Monday Poetry series in Hillsboro, Oregon, for which she is a co-director. Her book-in-progress, Diode's Experiment: A Box Turtle Investigates the Human World, tells the story of thirty years of surprises in exploring the potential of the turtle mind.
Blog: Chelonian Connection: Turtles!
a note on the image above, from the editor:
While working on the layout, I slightly photo-shopped the original image, to make it a bit brighter, and the lake surface a bit softer - and then also tried a computer-generated papercut-version of the image, and sent it to Farfel and Rosemary. "What about using both of them--for another layer of synergistic transformation?" Rosemary responded. And so the papercut found its place. Also, I learned that what I thought of as a lake actually is a lighted lawn.
back to the collaboration