A Renhai consists of three haiku verses that are typically a collaboration of two writers. The final result is similar to the first three verses of a Rengay with each of the three verses having one or more common themes. Renku-like links exist between each verse including between the first and the last. In later posts this week we will explore the anatomy of Renhai. For those who can't wait and want a sneak preview of what is ahead, have a look at the worksheet for yesterday's Renhai, "A Night Out".
What is unique about Renhai is that the middle two-line verse is jointly written. That is, the first line is written by one writer and second line is written by the the other writer. In the example posted yesterday, the middle verse appeared as:
Blanket of velvet-gray fog — /zr
a crow pierces the silence. /vs
As you can see, the first line was written by Zhanna and the second line by Vaughn. In fact, the middle verse was actually written first and the first and third verses were written afterward. A proper Renhai is therefore written in this inside-out manner.
What this means is that a Renhai is organically derived. The middle verse is like a seed that germinates and sprouts a root (3rd verse) and a stem (1st verse)
Next: The origins of how the new Renhai poetic form came to be.