Renga is a traditional Japanese collaborative poetry form that was the precursor to haiku. It is a long chain poem composed of alternating three-line and two-line stanzas, with a strict syllable count for each line. The first stanza, called the hokku, sets the scene and mood for the poem, and later stanzas build on and develop the themes and images introduced in the hokku.

Renga was a popular form of poetry in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868) and was often composed by groups of poets who would take turns adding stanzas to the poem. The subject matter of renga could range from nature and the seasons, to love, politics, and spirituality.

Over time, the hokku became more popular on its own and evolved into what we now recognize as haiku, which typically consists of just the first three lines of a renga. Haiku, however, is typically focused more narrowly on nature, whereas renga can encompass a broader range of subjects.

Renga is less widely known or practiced today than haiku, but it remains a fascinating and challenging form of poetry that can be both entertaining and thought-provoking. Whether composing a renga with a group of friends or exploring it as an individual poet, renga is a unique and interesting form of collaborative poetry.


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