thought renga

On the evening of 10 October, we held a thought-renga at Tea Sutra, Newcastle. The event was part of the programme for the 2012 Philosophy Festival. The theme of this year's Festival was 'the self'.

What is a thought-renga? 

A thought-renga adopts the traditional Japanese renga form, but sightly lightens the emphasis on structure in favour of a more free-flowing sharing of ideas. Both are activities of collaborative writing. The thought-renga considers the possibility of borrowing an ancient poetic form as a mode of philosophical composition.

Much shorter than a traditional renga, our one-and-a-half hour event comprised six rounds of communal writing, each round taking a specific theme (sound, taste, sight, touch, smell, mind) inspired by the Festival's overall theme of 'the self'.

Below is the thought-renga produced by the group, which comprises six different participants' thoughts. In the right-hand margin is the theme of the round and the author of the chosen thought. Taken together, the sequence makes up a group thought-chain. 

Each participant had their own thought-renga booklet (shown above), in which to record their personal sequence of thoughts from the evening.

I am very grateful to my co-host Linda France, whose guidance was invaluable.

Collective: a thought-renga
Tea Sutra, 10 October 2012

form & movement                                               sound (Jez)
translated into sound

imagine these light bulbs
                                      taste (Wendy)
turning into lemons

the blue hydrangea flirts                                       sight (Linda)
with the idea of being pink, ravished
by its own complexity

touch becomes audible                                          touch (Brian)
through the movement of pen
on paper

if I could smell                                                      smell (Vicky)
I would stop

the whereness of self                                            mind (Lucille)
the whoness of other