Regular readers of Upstate Dim Sum will recognize that we have done something unprecedented in this issue. Our center pages, which have always been used to display the work of guest poets, contain something quite different this time—a
nijuin renku: a twenty verse collaborative poem, written by
Hilary, Tom, Yu, and me. This departure from our traditions
is both ironic and very naturally occurring. Ironic because our inability to meet the deadlines that make a guest poet possible is a result of our serving as the local organizing committee for Haiku North America 2015, which welcomed poets from North America and the world to Union College in October. These conferences take place every two years and it requires most of that two year interval to organize them. The past six months, during which we were also gathering material for this autumn issue of Upstate Dim Sum, have been an especially demanding period for our conference work. So, we are not hosting a guest poet in this issue because we have been hosting many poets (with the extraordinary assistance of Union College) at Haiku North America 2015.
The renku that is occupying our center pages is a natural choice for us for several reasons. Every summer since 1999, some or all of us have traveled to Onawa, Maine to be the guests of Paul MacNeil. During our stays we have traditionally composed one or more renku. Writing these collaborative poems has become a highlight of our summers. This year, for the first time since 1999, we were unable to make our trip to Onawa. The best we could do was to get together for “Onawa West” at the home of Hilary Tann and her husband, David Bullard, in Schuylerville, NY. The renku in our center pages was composed there. And we asked Ion Codrescu to pick any one of the verses for use in his haiga presentation that would otherwise have featured a guest poet poem. We hope that you agree that we have made something interesting out of necessity. We look forward to returning with a new guest poet inthe spring!
first day of summer
a wild rose
turns my head
to the lullaby
across the aisle
a speed bump
in alphabetical order
names in the cemetery