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What Is Rubricku?


Rubricku is a nine stanza, three-by-three interlocking renku. Each corner is a seasonal hokku (haiku), the stanzas between the corners are two-line verses, and the cenral three-line stanza links to all the other stanzas:


Winter Hokku2-line stanzaSpring Hokku
2-line stanzaCentral stanza2-line stanza
Autumn Hokku2-line stanzaSummer Hokku



The Spring Thaw Rubricku is the first Rubricku I created and is an example of how the stanzas interlock. Three of the two-line stanzas also allude to the traditional renku topics: Blossom, Love, and Moon.

Why Rubricku?


Rubricku is one form of Renku. Renku is described in Higginson's Renku Home web site and in one place there is a discussion about how short a renku could be. Although a 12-stanza linear renku is at the fringes of practical limits, the 9-stanza interlocking form of the Rubricku facilitates all the seasons, contains the three traditional topics (blossom, love, moon), and retains the 2-line / 3-line alternating verse format. It does deviate from the standard form in that it has four hokku as opposed to one. If desired, three of the corners could be written as three-line verses. However, by treating them all as hokku a 3x3 interlocking symmetry is sustained.

How to Write a Rubricku?


Writing a Rubricku is a little more of a challenge than regular Renku as each stanza requires three links and the central stanza requires eight. All the other requirements of renku linking must also be adhered to.


The approach I took with the Spring Thaw Rubricku is as follows:


  1. Choose the four seasonal hokku corners. I decided to use haiku I had written that on-line "publications" had already chosen. I think it works better to use existing haiku you have written rather than compose them specifically for the Rubricku.

  2. Write the central stanza. At this stage you need to come up with four links, one for each of the four seasonal hokku. To assist with this I used a mindmap and went through each hokku and noted their nouns, adjectives, verbs, and essence. I then chose one noun that I liked from the four hokku, an adjective from the remaining three, and so on. I then had a noun, adjective, verb, and an essence from which to write a verse containing all four elements.

  3. Write the two-line stanzas. You now have four 2-line stanzas left, each with three links to be accomodated (two hokku and the one central stanza). For this I used a similar approach as to writing the central stanza. You have one less link to be concerned with but in three of the two-line stanzas you need to work in an allusion to Blossom (between Spring and Summer), Romance (between Summer and Autumn), and Moon (between Autumn and Winter).

Rubricku Template


The following is a PDF file of a Rubricku template that you can print out and use in writing the various interlocking stanzas in your poem:


Rubricku Template PDF

Group Rubricku


Up to five individuals can be involved in writing a Rubricku:


  • One Individual: One person does it all. Preferably, he gets someone else to pick the four corner hokku from haiku the one person has previously written.


  • Two Individuals: Each person provides two hokku (from opposite corners). Preferably each person picks a hokku from a selection of the other person's seasonal haiku. The central stanza is written as a team effort and two 2-liners are written by each person.


  • Three Individuals: One person is designated as the "Master" who choses four hokku from selections of the other two individuals, two from each (in opposite corners). The "Master" writes the central stanza and the other two each write two 2-line stanzas.


  • Four Individuals: Each person contributes a hokku, preferably chosen from a selection of the others. The central stanza is written as a team effort and each person then writes one of the 2-line stanzas, preferably in the opposite corner from the hokku they contributed.


  • Five Indivduals: One person is designated as the "Master" who choses four hokku from selections of the other four individuals. The Master writes the central stanza and the other four individuals write a two-line stanza, preferably in the opposite corner from the hokku they contributed.