Renhai: What & How
Before moving on to further Renhai examples, here is a summary of what Renhai is and how it is usually written:
A Minimum Definition of Renhai:
1. Three independent haiku (formatted as 3-lines, 2-lines, 3-lines).
2. Each haiku (verse) links uniquely to the other two verses in some way.
3. Each verse references at least one common theme.
4. A seasonal reference (kigo) is desired. If there is a season then only one season is referenced by at least one verse. If there is no kigo then the renhai should be nature-based and would be considered "Non-seasonal" or "All seasonal".
5. There is an appropriate title.
How the verses link, what constitutes an appropriate title, and other details such as format and style are refinements that are left up to the writers.
Seven Basic Steps to Composing a Renhai:
1. Agree on a season in which to write.
2. Write the Middle Verse, First Line (partner 1).
3. Write the Middle Verse, Second Line (partner 2).
4. Choose a Theme.
5. Write the Third Verse (partner 1).
6. Write the First Verse (partner 2).
7. Choose a Title.
Although Renhai was intended as a collaborative verse form, some members of the Renhai Studio spontaneously started writing Renhai on their own, perhaps while waiting for a partner to come free. Tomorrow I'll present a summer solo Renhai I recently wrote.