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Collaborative haikus

Renga is a form of collaborative haiku with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. A single writer initiates the poem with the first 5-7-5 stanza and welcomes other writers to provide the 7-7 stanza.

Anyone can submit the 7-7 lines! For the sake of all renga participants, please include your lines as comments to the collaborative haiku post so that others can see what has been submitted. I will “close” the renga to submissions on the date indicated with the collaborative haiku post.  I will have an independent judge pick their favorite from the submissions. The final renga will be published on this blog, and the submitter will be given co-credit with me in the by-line.

The submission deadline is early this time: 5 pm EDT, Fri, August 31, 2012.  My hope is to post the final haiku on NASA’s “Share Your Thoughts on Neil Armstrong” page at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/people/features/armstrong_comments.html before the public comment period ends.

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Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin) at Kennedy Space Center (Saturn V in the background) on May 20, 1969. Credit: NASA

To The Moon

We choose to go, too,
because your words awaken
a slumbering child.
Your 7 syllable line here
Next 7 syllable line here.

Congrats, J.A. Grier!  Your 7-7 lines were picked by the judges from the submissions.  So here it is: the final haiku!

Exoplanets
by Christine Rueter and J.A. Grier

To the orrery,
we add more distant planets
too faint for our eyes.
This bright, braille wave invites
us to come – explore by touch.

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The collaborative haiku guidelines (retained for posterity):

Renga is a form of collaborative haiku with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. A single writer initiates the poem with the first 5-7-5 stanza and welcomes other writers to provide the 7-7 stanza.

Anyone can submit the 7-7 lines! For the sake of all renga participants, please include your lines as comments to the collaborative haiku post so that others can see what has been submitted. I will “close” the renga to submissions on the date indicated with the collaborative haiku post.  I will have two independent judges pick their favorite from the submissions. The final renga will be published on this blog, and the submitter will be given co-credit with me in the by-line.

This collaborative haiku is slightly different from others I’ve initiated on this blog.  Like the other haikus, this is a renga.  A renga is a collaborative haiku with a two stanza (5-7-5 and 7-7) structure.  This renga will be longer with many stanzas rather than just two, and submissions will be accepted on a “first come, first serve” basis rather than judged.  In other words, the first person to submit a stanza will win the spot provided they meet the very basic guidelines below. In essence, we’ll be growing a haiku together stanza by stanza, a process that renga master Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) thought led to “newness.”

To submit stanzas, please provide your lines using the “leave a comment” option with this post.  Please indicate which stanza you are submitting (e.g., lines 4,5 or lines 6,7,8) to limit confusion.   You will be submitting stanzas (either the next 5-7-5 or next 7-7) not single lines.  Soon as I see the next stanza has been submitted, I’ll post it.  Keep an eye on the comments to see if a stanza is already spoken for.  Some commonsense guidelines:  1)  Profanity has its place though probably not in a brief haiku where syllables are precious.  Any profanity will be scrutinized.  2)  Please stay with the general subject matter (our solar system); that said, don’t be afraid to introduce a surprising new twist to the poem.  All contributors will be acknowledged with initials in parentheses after their lines and with credit in the by-line of the final poem.

I thought a poem about wandering the solar system suited this type of meandering, surprising poetry best.  Looking forward to traveling around the planets, moons, asteroids, dwarf planets, planetoids, and trans-Neptunian objects with you all.

Here is the 5-7-5 to start us off.

Voyager 1's approach of Jupiter (NASA)

Voyager 1 approaches Jupiter (Credit: NASA)

Line 1 (5 syllables):  I wander lonely
Line 2 (7 syllables):  around the moon, gazing on
Line 3 (5 syllables):  shadow-pooled craters.  (TG)
Line 4 (7 syllables):  I follow Voyager’s path
Line 5 (7 syllables):  momentum taking me to  (LH)

Line 6 (5 syllables):  Jupiter: first glance
Line 7 (7 syllables):  at the volatile, swirling
Line 8 (5 syllables):  face of a giant.  (TG)
Line 9 (7 syllables):  Lo behold Galilean moons
Line 10 (7 syllables):  Ganymede, a small marble

Line 11 (5 syllables):  Next to Jupiter’s
Line 12 (7 syllables):  Massive celestial body
Line 13 (5 syllables):  Slips away from view.  (LH)
Line 14 (7 syllables):  Io rings her path in dust
Line 15 (7 syllables):  with each volcanic facelift.

Line 16 (5 syllables):  Her surface is a
Line 17 (7 syllables):  baby, no old history,
Line 18 (5 syllables):  like Ganymede’s lines.  (JAG)
Line 19 (7 syllables):  Yet a pair in age they could
Line 20 (7 syllables):  Sure and absolutely be.  (IB)

Line 21 (5 syllables):  The voyage on to
Line 22 (7 syllables):  Saturn is long and coldish
Line 23 (5 syllables):  Closer with each mile.  (IB)
Line 24 (7 syllables):
Line 25 (7 syllables):

Line 26 (5 syllables):
Line 27 (7 syllables):
Line 28 (5 syllables):
Line 29 (7 syllables):
Line 30 (7 syllables):

Line 31 (5 syllables):
Line 32 (7 syllables):
Line 33 (5 syllables):
Line 34 (7 syllables):
Line 35 (7 syllables):

Line 36 (5 syllables):
Line 37 (7 syllables):
Line 38 (5 syllables):
Line 39 (7 syllables):
Line 40 (7 syllables):

Congrats, Markus ★ Hammonds!  Your 7-7 lines were picked by the judges from the many wonderful submissions.  So here it is: the final haiku!

Transit
by Christine Rueter and Markus ★ Hammonds

Transit of Venus:
brief vision of our sister
against roiling sun.
Her bright veil in silhouette
She hides her face from the light.

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The contest rules (retained for posterity):

Renga is a form of collaborative haiku with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. A single writer initiates the poem with the first 5-7-5 stanza and welcomes other writers to provide the 7-7 stanza.

Anyone can submit the 7-7 lines! For the sake of all renga participants, please include your lines as comments to this post so that others can see what has been submitted. I will “close” the renga to submissions on Wed., May 23 at 5 pm EDT. I will have two independent judges pick their favorite from the submissions. The final renga will be published on this blog before the Transit of Venus on June 5, 2012 and the submitter given co-credit with me in the by-line.

The Transit of Venus is an extremely rare event.  The last transit was in 2004.  The next transit–after the June 5, 2012 transit–will be in 2117.  I’ll be observing the transit with the lovely folks at the University of Maryland Observatory.  If you don’t have a transit-viewing “home” or the transit won’t be visible from your location, the Keck Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii will be doing a live webcast here:  http://venustransit.nasa.gov/2012/transit/webcast.php

Some resources to inspire you as you write your 7-7:

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Sr., “The Flaneur” (Boston Common, December 6, 1882, During the Transit of Venus): http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173647

Congratulations, J.A. Grier!  Your 7-7 lines were selected as the winning entry in the “Star Stuff” collaborative haiku contest.  Here it is: the final poem!

Star Stuff
by Christine Rueter and J.A. Grier

The “star stuff”* in me
is in you, too, eddying
with lighter atoms.
Big Bang hydrogen, super
nova iron, fire our blood.

A very big thank you to our 2 judges–Francis Reddy and Tony Berendsen–for their time and efforts!

Francis Reddy is a science writer on contract to the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. He is also the author of Celestial Delights: The Best Astronomical Events through 2020, which was published in 2012 by Springer.

Tony Berendsen is a Star Guide, Poet, and owner of Tahoe Star Tours. He uses Astro-Poetry to help people understand the starry skies, and our place in the Cosmos.

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The contest rules (retained for sentimental value):

Renga is a form of collaborative haiku with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. A single writer initiates the poem with the first 5-7-5 stanza and welcomes other writers to provide the 7-7 stanza. For fun, I wanted to initiate an astro-renga in honor of Global Astronomy Month 2012 (GAM2012) and National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and invite anyone who wants to participate to do so.

Anyone can submit the 7-7 lines! For the sake of all renga participants, please include your lines as comments to this post so that others can see what has been submitted. I will “close” the renga to submissions at 5 pm EDT on May 4, 2012. I have two independent judges lined up to pick their favorite from the submissions. The final renga will be published on this blog and the submitter given co-credit with me in the by-line.

If there is enough enthusiasm for this renga process, I’m happy to start another renga and potentially alter the format to allow for a multiple stanza renga.

Look forward to reading your 7-7 lines!

*As Carl Sagan famously said, “we are made of ‘star stuff’.”