Word map tracing the route of the Grow Sheffield / Off The Shelf Renga Ramble from Mushroom Lane (Weston Park Museum) to organic gardening guru Richard Clare’s allotment on Crookes Quarry Allottments.
The piece was conceived and led by artist / poets Anne-Marie Culhane and Paul Conneally and explores what happens when the renga process is taken from its normal ‘one space’ setting to travelling through an area stopping at various points to write, read and select the poems that go to form what became the ‘A Circle of Fire’ renga.
This renga combined the walking/writing process with the one space process - the first 6 stanzas being written during the walk to the allotments where the last 6 stanzas were then written in situ. The renga form used is an adapted Junicho form - a 12 stanza renku form with the schema with its seasonal, moon and love positions written by Culhane & Conneally.
The experience of writing a renga, keeping to schema, linking and shifting and walking through ‘this place’ from here to there is a very different experience to writing in one space one place and highlights how the environment the surroundings and people influence the writing process and how the writing - the renga process itself - transforms the space the place in which - and when renga rambling across - that the poem is written.
The walking through public space - in this case from a central city location through residential areas to Sheffields urban edge - and the stopping to write, read out loud and the master poet selecting the next stanza before moving on again - highlighted the performative aspect of the process of renga perhaps differently to when in one space where the process is still performative but different.
A Circle of Fire embraced both with the last 6 stanzas written in a greenhouse on Richard Clare’s allotment.
Nine poets performed / made A Circle of Fire: Paul Conneally (master poet) Anne-Marie Culhane (host poet) Felicity Stout Nadine Wills Joseph Conneally Vanessa Senger Jenny Laird Andrea Allsopp Su Walker