Bluestreak: a new Canadji !

During the Christmas break in 2008 my uOttawa colleague Seymour Mayne ( and I set ourselves the project of writing linked haiku as a way of keeping in touch. The result was Bluestreak: a new Canadji (

Ours was not a classic renga ( which consists of linked verse all right, but of stanzas of 5-7-5 mora or sound units, which we shall here call syllables or beats (if the latter the rhythm should be 3-4-3). These were to be  followed by two lines of 7-7. We were happy enough to write standard haiku without the intervening 7-7’s. 

“Canadji” was his invention, playing off,  if memory serves, my mention of a verse form  I had imagined twenty years before with another poet friend, Richard Haly. He and I had thought of combining renga with terza rima and baptised our fantasy with the name of his late dog, Benji. I am still trying to write a complete hundred-line Benji. I’ll be reporting on that here soon.

In the meantime, here is a Blueprint for a Benji; here is the original Benji sketch.

Seymour and I did write Blue Streak, of which I’ve grown even fonder over the years, not only for “its own sake” – a definition as good as any for poetry – but for the memories of Ottawa and of the camaraderie they evoke.