EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks • Spring 2005
Haiku Unit Plan Appendix 7

Appendix 7
How To Write a Rengay

Get with a partner; though rengay can be written alone, the point of this assignment is to understand the community process of haiku, a concept very important to Japanese writers. Generally, the more experienced haiku writer contributes the first link - or hokku - but as you are both on a level playing field of experience, it does not matter who starts. This first link should establish a tone but leave the poem open to other possibilities. You can begin by picking a theme to explore in the rest of the links, or you can just see what comes out as you're writing...it's up to you!

Once you have discussed and agreed on the first link, create the second link. This should be two lines and should build off the first link. It should be shared, discussed and enjoyed in combination with the first link. Again, discuss this link together and if you both accept it, move on to the third link, which will be 3 lines.

By the end of the third link, the unifying element of your rengay should start to become clear. It will be developed further in the last links. The final step of this process is to read through the entire rengay and "tweak" it to make sure all of the links and words work together. Lastly, select a title that invites the reader into the world of the haiku without giving away your secret unifying element. You already know that we do not use titles in haiku because titles tend to limit the reader's perceptions, so be careful in titling your rengay.

Here is an example from a college class of mine to get you started:

Summer Memories

red berry --
sun burnt child
napping naked

   dry grass
   harsh beneath bare feet

beneath the shade
of an apple tree
-- forgotten sandals

legs swinging
from branches
too high to climb

   as the frog jumps away

tadpoles flee
wild feet
lunge through water

©2005 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors