Global Haiku Tradition--Tan-Renga 2014 - Favorites


small bonfire
quiet conversation
welcomed into the family
firelight glints
off her new engagement ring


I also liked the image that this one made when I read it. I almost think of a party in particular that I had at a friend’s house during high school. I don't know why but the setting of that party reminds me of this haiku . . . or maybe vice versa. Anyways I think that this haiku is very nice and makes a person feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is nice. Alec

I like the intimacy of this haiku. It's not intimate in a sensual way, but it is intimate in the closeness of the family. It is a special moment for all of them—they are gaining a new family member, and she is gaining an entire family. They are not going out and celebrating; instead, they are celebrating in the company of each other. The moment is shared between those who mean the most to the newly engaged couple. I like the quiet happiness that is evoked through this poem. Mackenzie

This haiku without the cap at the end is super cute and refreshing. Adding the last two lines just makes the haiku even more heart-warming. It speaks of new additions to a family, which is always an exciting thing. I really like how this does not just come right out of say it. The wording is beautiful. Rebecca

This Tan-Renga takes me home to the country and a classic Saturday night. I picture a family sitting around a roaring fire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and snuggled into lawn chairs covered in blankets. I also picture a newly engaged couple snuggled together sharing a blanket having a quiet conversation about everything and anything with their family members. This is a lovely image and I love this Tan-Renga for the image it conveys. Sara

we haven't
even slept yet
textbooks and empty mugs
remnants of our all-nighter


This reminds me of two friends studying for a big test the next day. They were lazy and procrastinated their studying until the last possible day. They didn’t realize how much they had to go over and ended up spending entirely way too much time goofing off at the beginning. They made tea for themselves, covered the ground with flashcards and textbooks while they were shooting questions back and forth with each other. Their test is the first thing in the morning and they just stayed up for it, instead of getting any sleep whatsoever. Danna

labored breathing
climbing that mountain
two slow snails on a
journey of spiritual discovery


This continuation made me laugh because the original haiku was a part of our risqué kukai. We discussed it in class and mentioned how it had a couple different meanings, but most of us thought the same thing when looking at it. I like how this person completely changed the meaning of the original haiku in a well written way. Danna

snack run
pistachio in my
no more money
in my wallet


I really like the slant rhyme that this tan-renga has going on. I think of like 1920’s prohibition age with someone who has just arrived in America with nothing but pistachios in his pocket, looking to better himself. I was reminded of some books and an animated series I had seen that were set in that time period. Alec

raising a glass to
no one
warm moonlight
the old man smiles
picture of his dead wife


I liked this tan renga quite a lot because of how it transfers my imagination. When I first read this I thought of a very youthful feeling, not someone who's wife had died of old age. Then it changes the scene completely. I then got to thinking that this was a really neat effect of the tan renga, because perhaps the old man feels young again, or is remembering his youth that he had spent with his now dead wife. Alec

I love the way that these two lines extend the original haiku. From the first three lines, it could be about anyone, but those two lines take it in a specific direction that is incredibly emotional. I am taken to the scene of this old man, sitting alone in his empty living room. The house is warm, but at the same time the noticeable absence of his wife is cold. He sits in his old, worn, leather armchair with a tumbler in hand, and picks up a framed photograph from the side table. Behind the glass, her smile lights up the frame, brightening her eyes and the laugh lines around them. The old man sits back in his armchair and takes a sip from his tumbler, spending the evening telling her about his day. Natalie

sitting by bags
holding my breath
I check my bank
seven dollars short
for the train ticket


I really liked this tan renga because it is so real. Especially since we are all college students who are more than likely constantly checking our bank accounts to see what we can and cannot afford. I thought it was very well written and this cap was really well done. It definitely added to the original haiku and did not take away anything. I like it better with the cap than without. Allie

I love these two added lines so much. From just the original three lines, it seems like someone who has been on a shopping spree and is panicking - having realized just how much money they have spent. However, those two new lines change the scene completely. Instead of a panicked shopper, it's a panicked traveller. Whatever cash they have left is close to enough, but it has never been clearer to them that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. They're stranded, sitting on their suitcase, frantically pulling up their bank balance on their phone with three minutes to spare before the train is supposed to arrive in the station. Natalie

stood up;
for some reason
I still smile
you're the sun, I'm the moon
—and it was dark at 5


The reason I like this one is because of the fact that when you are with someone you care about, be it friend or more, there is always a source of light in your life. It doesn’t matter the time of day, because if that person makes you happy to be around, they are your source of light and warmth. My friends are the planets to me, I am pulled to them and they are and will always be my best source of light in my darkest times. Brandi

I really liked this addition to a haiku that I had written. I was honored that someone enjoyed my haiku enough to use it in the tan-renga assignment, and I really liked the dynamic that they added to it. It was as if they knew exactly what mindset I had when I was writing this haiku, as well. I loved the duplicity of the sun and the moon, with their symbolism and their actual reflection on who I was writing about. The individual that was stood up is really pensive and gets caught in their thoughts, while the person who did the standing up was a vibrant and aggressive individual. The final line in this tan-renga was so cool, and it created this sense of mystery. Were they mentioning the emotional darkness of the individual who did the standing up, or does this line convey that they just missed each other in passing or couldn't find each other? It creates this really cool mood to the haiku. Props to whoever added onto this. Jonathan

I feel like a celebrity
every time
I go home
should I hand out


I liked this tan-renga because it made me smile. Adding the autographs part was really creative and funny. I can connect to this, too, because sometimes when I go home I see people that I haven’t seen in a while and they’re so excited to get to talk to me. This tan-renga brings joy to me and great memories. Erin

I really like the playfulness that is added to this hokku with the cap. I think it is a really cute image for someone to be giving their family members their own autograph. Especially if it were at Thanksgiving or something. I really enjoyed this addition to this hokku. Allie

a storm approaching
the horizon
dark with rage

below the sky
the air is a fierce song


These haiku both flow extremely well together. That is the main reason I enjoy this haiku. They work well with each other and are kind of left open to the reader's opinion. I enjoy that that first haiku is personifying the horizon by telling that it is mad. The storm is coming and I can almost see a frown and grimace from the horizon. Then, I like how there is contrast with the second haiku. One would think that below the sky, the weather would be much calmer, but this author wrote it to be somewhat mad as well. I like how they both are contrasting but are also similar as well. Daniel


wrought iron
my father's
gruff embrace
we say our goodbyes
at the foot of her grave


This is my favorite tan-renga because of the unexpected twist. The original haiku I saw as a father having a difficult time saying goodbye to his daughter, probably his little girl going off to college or moving far away. However, the added lines make it seem as though the father and the daughter (I imagine a daughter) clinging to each other for stability and comfort. They are saying goodbye to someone they both love forever, instead of saying goodbye to each other for now, like I had originally imagined. Olivia

This tan-rengay is melancholic and wonderful. It reminds me of a Neil Gaiman scene where someone has passed and it's cold and damp, but a heavy warm wind blows slowly. What happened? It is an old graveyard and everything in the present already seems ancient. The visual is magnificent. Taylor

lights dim
and the crowd cheers—
an electric strum
queen for the evening
applauded by adoration


a wink in class
her blush
reveals their secret
untold stories bubble underneath
the guard of tight lips


I like the direction the second author did to the original haiku. When I read the original haiku, I get a flirty and rather playful kind of vibe. When the capping is added, the situation of the two secret lovers seem much deeper than that. It seems that one of the characters would like to tell friends about what is going on, but instead keeps their mouth closed shut. This makes me sad because it reminds me of my history with boys and how they wanted to keep me a secret. I know some people like their relationship and romance being kept a secret, but after a while, it seems as if the other person is ashamed of you. Valina

I was shocked to see a continuation of one of my haiku, but I love this! I think these two lines add extra mystery to this haiku, creating a spark of interest to the reader. I find myself wondering what stories do the characters want to share but can't? I don't know who wrote this but I want to thank them for making my haiku so much better! Sara

a wink in class
her blush
reveals their secret
stolen answers for the exam have
mistakes that lead to broken hearts

your name
only learnt
seconds before we kiss
at a party where
no one knows anyone





your name
only learnt
seconds before we kiss
fine in his eyes
but a mistake in mine

first date jitters
awkward laughing
I sit in the wrong car
thirty two years later,
we still laugh about it


Okay, who decided to take us all on a trip to the emotional aspirations that we all seek? This was such a cool addition to someone's haiku, and I thought that it truly gave the haiku a different meaning and context. While it was originally a funny story, it now conveys a beautifully perfect ending to a long love story. This tan-renga really speaks for itself, and I just love the idea that this haiku gives me. This is just a really happy haiku. Way too cool. Jonathan

This haiku is extremely adorable in its own awkward way! It tells a story with a couple who through all of the silly moments in life have managed to still maintain a loving relationship. The first couple lines make it a humorous story but the added two lines create a memory that explains tot he reader how the couple has stayed together. Mikayla

I chose this as one of my favorites because of the element of humor involved. When I read this I couldn't help but laugh with the characters in this Tan-Renga. I love the image of a couple still laughing about an embarrassing moment from their first date. I also like the idea of a couple still being together after thirty two years and still being in love. This is a wonderful image that I think the author(s) did a wonderful job of carrying out. Sara

I like this pairing because it continues a story that could have so many other endings. Unlike most people who read this link, I actually heard the original story that the first haiku came from. While the addition is nothing like the really outcome, I like the optimistic story the other person has turned the first one into. It is now a story about a first date gone wrong, but so many years ago that the couple still together can laugh about it. Trista

I like the humor and nostalgia about these added lines. Instead of this just being an embarrassing moment for the narrator of the story, it becomes something special. It's a moment from a couple's first date—the beginning of a long-lasting relationship that certainly seems, from these lines, to be a positive and healthy one. It turns the awkward mistake of a teenager into a funny story that this couple looks back on fondly. Natalie

© 2014, Randy Brooks • Millikin University • All rights returned to authors upon publication.