Seven local poets collaborate on “Renga of a Distanced Spring”

Image courtesy of KFPL.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, “Renga of a Distanced Spring” will be posted on the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) platforms. This co-written piece of poetry has been paired with an animated video, and is presented in retrospect by the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

According to a media release from KFPL, dated Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, “Renga” is a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry in which alternating stanzas by two or more poets are linked in succession.  This type of verse may be created by live gatherings of poets, by poets exchanging written texts, or even by a single poet composing alternating texts over time. The first imperial renga anthology was published in Japan in 1356, and it was adopted by Western poets in the last half of the twentieth century.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a state of emergency in Ontario on March 17, 2020. Here in Kingston seven poets – Ashley-Elizabeth Best, Nancy Jo Cullen, Jason Heroux, Helen Humphreys, Kirsteen MacLeod, Sadiqa de Meijer and Sarah Tsiang – co-wrote “Renga of a Distanced Spring,” read the release. Filmmaker Ali Dixon shot and animated a video to accompany the renga, and now Kingston Frontenac Public Library is delighted to present the video on KFPL’s YouTube channel and on the StoryMe blog.  The text of the renga will be posted on the KFPL Poetry Blackboard.

Anne Hall, Librarian, Programming & Outreach at KFPL, commented that it’s striking how such an ancient form of poetry can speak to today’s poets as well as today’s situation. KFPL is excited to host this virtual multimedia poetry event.

Poetry enthusiasts can keep up-to-date and access these platforms through the KFPL main website: https://www.kfpl.ca/

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