Tan Renga

North America’s answer to the Japanese linked form Renku or Renga is to shorten the pattern and involve fewer poets. And even though they adopt the 5-7-5 7-7 syllabic patterns of the Japanese form, they often reduce the number of syllables and sometimes number of lines. The American versions do not “link and shift” like the Japanese but are usually built around a theme. Nor do they require an introductory hokku with setting and season and other such elements common in the Renga.

The Tan Renga is:
○ a poem in 5 lines, made up of a tercet followed by a couplet.
○ a cooperative poem. One poet writes the tercet, the 2nd poet writes the couplet.
○ syllabic, 5-7-5, syllables per line or 17 syllables or less created image. The 2nd link is 7-7 syllables per line or 14 syllables or less.
○ composed with the couplet drawing a mood from the image of the tercet a kind of statement – response scenario.

the phone rings
a vendor mispronounces
my name
no offer sounds so sweet
as a friend calling your name

(I am sorry, I found this in my notes but I don’t know who wrote it. I include it here because it is such a perfect example of the form and I love the verse. If anyone reading this recognizes it and knows the name of the poet, please let me know so I can give the author credit.)

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Not having a collaborator on hand at the time, I shall simply leave you with the fine and sufficient description that Judi has provided.

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