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Tanka Origins Editor's Introduction

 

If anyone ever finds any errata or omissions, feel free to please contact me directly at tankaanya@gmail.com

Publication certificates for the Editor's Choice tanka only will be sent to you sometime soon, via email to print out.

 

For this Tanka Origins Third Edition, again I received a multitude of fine submissions, however, this time nearly 

all of them were tanka rather than just short mainstream poems masquerading as tanka. HOW REFRESHING!

As stated in the submission guidelines, I’m only looking to publish quality over quantity, therefore I’ve chosen but a select number of 25 stellar tanka which are those that met or came close to meeting the criteria. I don't accept tanka on a first-come basis or on any particular theme, only based on merit. 

At Tanka Origins, it’s not about syllable count; it’s about the rhythm. Therefore, there’s a reason that I center the tanka because not only can the reader hear it, they actually (almost always) are able to visualize that tanka rhythm of short, long, short, long, long. This is one of the main things that separates the tanka genre from short mainstream poetry and other eratz forms.

Tanka Origins is a different publication, insofar as an editor, I have included short commentary, which of course,

is always (mho) which may differ from someone else’s, even the author's. In addition, each tanka is presented twice on its own page for readers to contemplate, absorb, and appreciate in-depth every piece equally. 

 

At the close of Tanka Origins, are also included short biographies (in no particular order) so you can get to know the poet/poetess. 

 

All rights revert to the author upon publication, and if your tanka is reprinted anywhere, Tanka Origins must be cited as the first place of publication.

See the next submission period for the August 2020 Edition here: https://www.tankaanya.com/tankaorigins

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Tanka Origins 

digital publication

April  2020

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How very difficult it was to make my Editor's Choices this time as every tanka was also good. These are just my personal favorites and I know each reader will find their own favorites as well.

 

loneliness
it gnaws at my gut. . .
riddling me
with hole after hole
until I am hollow

Stacey Dye

USA

This is an awesome tanka in my personal opinion, composed by Stacey Dye from the USA which I've chosen for an Editor's Choice. Not many poets can leave us with such a deep feeling of dokkyo (loneliness/solitary life.) Not to mention a fine song-like rhythm indicative of the best English language tanka. Plus, Stacey's use of "g" words in the second line, and her "h" sounds in the final two lines has made it a real privilege for me to be able to publish this one.

Excellent work Stacey! 

loneliness
it gnaws at my gut. . .
riddling me
with hole after hole
until I am hollow

Stacey Dye

USA

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fall sun burns

through a crown of leaves

intensely

we cool our hot feet

 in the stream’s movement

Todd Sukany

USA

Another Editor's Choice is this tanka by Todd Sukany, also from the USA. There were various reasons why I selected this one, but mainly it's the skillful way that Todd allows readers to feel intense heat, then the maximum coolness through the movement. of a stream. Nice work of presenting multiple senses in this tanka. I'm proud to publish it in Tanka Origins. Thanks to Todd!

fall sun burns

through a crown of leaves

intensely

we cool our hot feet

 in the stream’s movement

Todd Sukany

USA

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back home

after the funeral

I unpack

my clothes and things …

memories will take longer

 

Keitha Keyes

Australia

This Editor's Choice tanka is by Keitha Keyes a well known tanka poetess from Australia who writes other forms just as efficiently. I think it speaks for itself as being a very good and heartfelt tanka, no matter who is reading it. As in haiku, the subject matter should be relatable to everyone, and Keitha accomplishes this in her tanka. I'm happy to publish it for Keitha, and and thank her for submitting work to Tanka Origins!

back home

after the funeral

I unpack

my clothes and things …

memories will take longer

 

Keitha Keyes

Australia

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the grooves

on your favorite vinyl

worn out . . .

a revolving record

this intense grief of mine

Richard Kakol

Australia

It seems that Australia is on a roll in this edition of Tanka Origins. This one by Richard Kakol is really interesting with his comparison of intense grief to the grooves on a revolving record. There is such a feeling of nostalgia in this tanka as we have moved forward in time now listening to songs on our cell phones. How great to know someone still has the ability to bringing us memories from the past. Thank you for the memories Richard!

the grooves

on your favorite vinyl

worn out . . .

a revolving record

this intense grief of mine

Richard Kakol

Australia

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deep winter

& the cafe windows

steam up

i pour into my espresso       

bitter-white loneliness 

 

Pamela A Babusci

USA

Not an Editor's Choice this time, albeit this one came very close and I don't believe I've ever read a tanka by Pamela that I didn't like. Per her usual unique way of expressing the feel of tanka, she skillfully shows us just how deep the winter" is by allowing us to see the cafe windows steaming up. Her final line is the best though "bitter-white loneliness" is wonderful and leaves this tanka up to reader interpretation. Thumbs up Pamela!

deep winter

& the cafe windows

steam up

i pour into my espresso       

bitter-white loneliness 

 

Pamela A Babusci

USA

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he gave his girl

the gift of a silk scarf

picked just for her

and she blushed as pink

as an early apple

 

Richard He

China

Yet another fine tanka by Richard He from China. His comparison of an early apple is a striking way to describe the color of the girl's blushed cheeks. Excellent rhythm and exceptional content. The "g" and "s" sounds are a plus, and there was no question in my mind about publishing this one. Thank you Richard for sharing it with readers!

he gave his girl

the gift of a silk scarf

picked just for her

and she blushed as pink

as an early apple

 

Richard He

China

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a fawn

trailing the doe

spring snow

          there was a time          

when you followed

 

Marilyn Fleming

USA

A well written tanka by Marilyn Fleming from the USA, which firstly paints a nature picture of doe and fawn in the snow, and then in her final two lines brings in the human comparison. This is the kind of tanka that has "self" nicely embedded in it, and one that everyone can also relate to in their own lives. Thank you to Marilyn! 

a fawn

trailing the doe

spring snow

          there was a time          

when you followed

 

Marilyn Fleming

USA

 

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the autumn wind

whispers a lament

of longing

I wonder again

why you let me go

 

Debbie Strange

Canada

Ah, another excellent tanka by a well liked popular poetess, Debbie Strange in Canada. Again an example of how to start with nature and end with a human element. This one is also an example of a "question tanka" which leaves the reader wondering. The word "longing" and "lament" make this tanka flow smoothly as well, Fine work as usual Debbie!

 

the autumn wind

whispers a lament

of longing

I wonder again

why you let me go

 

Debbie Strange

Canada

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morning wakes

to every bird singing

its own song

and yet … my lone voice

unheard in the crowd

 

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

i chose to publish this one by Marilyn Humbert for several reasons. The main one being her reference in the first two lines of "morning wakes/to every bird singing". She doesn't say that she awoke, it's the morning that woke, very clever wording. Then in the final two lines, she switches the tanka to give us a human perspective. Nice write Marilyn!

morning wakes

to every bird singing

its own song

and yet … my lone voice

unheard in the crowd

 

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

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the sob and wail
of a lone violin
liquid sadness
riding the night air
of our suburban street

Jan Foster

Australia

As you can already see, and as I mentioned above, just how many really excellent tanka were received this time with this tanka by Jan Foster from Australia. What a wonderful third line "with the phrase liquid sadness" that sets this tanka apart from the other 335 I received. All the "l" sounds are notable, and the metaphor is outstanding; the whole tanka is just plain GOOD. Thanks Jan for this one of yours!

the sob and wail
of a lone violin
liquid sadness
riding the night air
of our suburban street

Jan Foster

Australia

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at the end

of a white tulip row

a black one -

that day in February 

when I came home without you...

Lavana Kray

Romania

As always, another stellar tanka by Lavana Kray of Romania. A very personal tanka but one that is easily understood by others who have come home without someone whether it be another person or perhaps a beloved pet. Leaving it open to interpretation for readers is a bonus. I'm pleased to publish this tanka too for Lavana!

at the end

of a white tulip row

a black one -

that day in February 

when I came home without you...

Lavana Kray

Romania

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jasmine 

filling the garden…

lights off

each with a dream we

fall asleep back to back

Steliana Cristina Voicu

Romania

Some tanka are just downright pretty and poignant at the same time like this one that Steliana Cristina Voicu from Romania has composed. First, there is the beauty and smell of jasmine in the garden at night, and then in the final lines, a couple turned back to back each with their own dream. Each reader's conclusion of this tanka will be taken differently. Thank you Steliana for leaving it open-ended so we can dream too!

jasmine 

filling the garden…

lights off

each with a dream we

fall asleep back to back

Steliana Cristina Voicu

Romania

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dissipating clouds
over the distant mountains-
thinking to myself
people would be at home
I yearn to chase the light


Neelam Dadhwal

India

This tanka by Neelam Dadhwal of India is all about yearning and she describes that yearning in a magical way with the closing line "I yearn to chase the light. She lets us know her feelings for home and her people and that she thinks of those feelings as "light". I'm sure many of us have been homesick at one time or another in our own lives and travels. Thanks for sharing Neelam!

dissipating clouds
over the distant mountains-
thinking to myself
people would be at home
I yearn to chase the light


Neelam Dadhwal

India

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a slow descent
of his butterfly kite
toward the ground
I see in my nephew's eyes
the ten-year-old me

Chen-ou Liu

Canada

Chen-ou-Liu, what can I say but another wonderful tanka by a poet I've always admired. He has a great way of putting words together in five lines to make a complete story for his readers, and this one is no exception. He has very skillfully incorporated himself into the tanka, but as a 10 year old boy via his nephew. As i said, a wonderful tanka Chen-ou!

a slow descent
of his butterfly kite
toward the ground
I see in my nephew's eyes
the ten-year-old me

Chen-ou Liu

Canada

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leaving

the forest I know

my home

a tender sapling

reaching for new skies

Kat Lehmann

USA

How easily this lovely tanka by Kat Lehmann in the USA combines nature with a human element. To feel at home in the forest is one thing, and then to actually feel like "a tender sapling reaching for new skies" is what makes this such a special tanka to me. Being one with something in nature is such a blessing. Thank you Kat for this fine tanka!

leaving

the forest I know

my home

a tender sapling

reaching for new skies

Kat Lehmann

USA

------

mid-way journey

she wipes away the tears

and reconciles 
the joy of living 
is a tree full of nests

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

I never put tanka into a "themed" sequence, and this one by Pravat Kumar Padhy of India, just happened to follow Kat's "forest" tanka. Both are alive with nature and yet human in their concepts. We don't know what the reference to "mid-way journey" is specifically, and it could mean either a mid-life crisis or just mid-way through a journey as-in traveling. Nevertheless, definitely a worthy and publishable tanka. Thank you Pravat!

mid-way journey

she wipes away the tears

and reconciles 
the joy of living 
is a tree full of nests

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

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a woodland stream  

on the winter solstice

trickling slowly 

over sand and stone

the tears I cannot shed

Jenny  Ward Angyal

USA

It seems that poets are combining nature and human nature together in their tanka more often nowadays which is very refreshing to me. Again Jenny Ward Angyal from the USA has managed to include both nature and a human element in this superb tanka of hers. I get a distinct feeling of wabi/sabi from this tanka in the transient nature of a stream slowly trickling over sand and stone. Tears the author cannot shed but the stream will carry them on and on. Love it Jenny!

a woodland stream  

on the winter solstice

trickling slowly 

over sand and stone

the tears I cannot shed

Jenny  Ward Angyal

USA

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mango juice 

dripping down your chin

the golden tinge 

of an evening sky 

we shared together

Kala Ramesh

India

Kala Ramesh from India, a familiar name in numerous Japanese genre. She has brought to Tanka Origins readers a most  exceptional visual of a sky the color of "mango juice" in this tanka, An image we can share and store in our memory banks for anytime or anywhere we also are privileged to see "the golden tinge of an evening sky." Thanks for sharing this beautiful picture with us Kala!

mango juice 

dripping down your chin

the golden tinge 

of an evening sky 

we shared together

 

Kala Ramesh

India

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healing chant -

my Sakura tree comes

back to life

with a little love

and an old lullaby

Susan Burch

USA

A straightforward, simple tanka by Susan Burch of the USA that says so much. It has been said that plants will grow better if they are touched and talked to, in this case, sung to. This is a nurturing tanka that tweaks my senses as I'm sure it will yours, most especially in this time of crisis in our world. Thank you ever so much Susan for submitting!

healing chant -

my Sakura tree comes

back to life

with a little love

and an old lullaby

Susan Burch

USA

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autumn wind
shredding the hibiscuses
to rags –
in the yard wondering
how our affair turned dire

Taofeek Ayeyemi
Nigeria

This tanka by Taofeek Ayeyemi from Nigeria really allowed me to envision the flowers being torn to rags, and imagine an "affair turned dire". Hibiscus are beautiful flowers but paper thin so it was easy to see this visual, and connect the two together, affairs also easily tearing people apart . Good work Taofeek! 

autumn wind

shredding the hibiscuses

to rags –

in the yard wondering

how our affair turned dire

Taofeek Ayeyemi
Nigeria

 

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a life

of flickering flames…

as geese  

fly north I google

flameless cremation   

John Han

USA

An unusual tanka by John Han that I like very much. Life described as "flickering flames" leads the reader right into the tanka wanting more. Then in line 3, "as geese" will make you want to read even further. Then of course John's closing line "flameless cremation" just puts this tanka over the top. Modern, yet written in a traditional fashion. in a perfect rhythm. Wow to this one John!

a life   

of flickering flames…

as geese  

fly north I google

flameless cremation   

John Han

USA

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swirling 

in the back current

autumn leaves

the memories of her

I just can’t let go

Bryan Rickert

USA

Another tanka i like very much composed by Bryan Rickert of the USA. I can just see those memories swirling like autumn leaves do in a current. The way memories swirl about in the back of our minds, the ones we can never let go of as Bryan put it in this tanka. Thank you for submitting your work to grace the pages of Tanka Origins Bryan!

swirling 

in the back current

autumn leaves

the memories of her

I just can’t let go

Bryan Rickert

USA

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sunrise  

a pathway across

the ocean

I step inside

a new horizon

 

Joanna Ashwell

UK

A mystical tanka that grabbed me immediately.To be able to allow your reader to step inside the horizon, not just any horizon, but "a new horizon'" by way of "a pathway across the ocean" is a true gift. These are the kind of tanka that editors look for, something fresh and new , the kind that leaves me alive with wonder. Wonderful write Joanna!

sunrise  

a pathway across

the ocean

I step inside

a new horizon

 

Joanna Ashwell

UK

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ebb tide

I walk along the beach

alone

my footsteps linger

even waves are forlorn

Terrie Jacks

USA

A tide/beach/wave tanka written by long-time and well established poetess Terrie Jacks from the USA. The word forlorn in Terrie's tanka, in my reading it, crosses over to mean "a forlorn force" which would be her mention of the waves in the final line. This final line really establishes even a deeper meaning. Thanks to you Terrie, and I hope to see more of your work come my way!

ebb tide

I walk along the beach

alone

my footsteps linger

even waves are forlorn

Terrie Jacks

USA

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I was young

hesitant to leave home

until you came;

I grew into certainty

and the boldness of love

Adelaide B Shaw

USA

One of my personal favorite tanka poetesses is Adelaide B. Shaw. Over the years, she has been consistent at composing excellent tanka, and is especially good at writing human elements into her works, as seen here. I chose to print this one last because to me, this is an uplifting tanka attributing a person giving another person confidence through love. We all need more of this in our own lives. Well done Adelaide!

I was young

hesitant to leave home

until you came;

I grew into certainty

and the boldness of love

Adelaide B Shaw

USA

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Author's Bios

Stacey Dye has had a love affair with words forever. She is moved by music, inspirational quotes and even keeps rocks with words engraved on them in her pockets. She has written everything from ad copy to poetry. Her primary focus is the human condition. Stacey lives with her husband Dennis, and her critters Elly and  Izzy. She's been featured in Moonbathing, Mused, red lights and Atlas Poetica.

David He Zhuanglang No. 1 High School Gansu Province China.

Todd Sukany, a Pushcart nominee, lives in Pleasant Hope, Missouri, with his wife of over 37 years. His work recently appears in The Christian Century and Fireflies’ Light. A native of Michigan, Sukany stays busy running, playing music, and caring for four rescue dogs, a kitten, and one old-lady cat.

Joanna Ashwell, a writer from the north-east of England.  Is affiliated with various writing associations such as The British Haiku Society, The American Haiku Society and Tanka societies. Enjoys reading and writing haiku, tanka, cherita and other related forms.

Marilyn Fleming: I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Perhaps, it was this small slice of life where the love of nature and simple things took root and were nourished. Thus, my special interest in Asian forms of poetry. I live with my husband, Keith and my beta fish, Picasso, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Jan Foster, a former English teacher, lives in Geelong, in country Victoria, Australia. Her tanka, tanka prose, haiku, haibun and responsive sequences have been published in several international journals, as well as online. She is a member of the Bottlebrush Tanka Group (Sydney) and the Phoenix tanka group (Geelong). Her favourite things include family, her garden, writing, a good book to read and a cryptic crossword to conquer.

Kat Lehmann is a Best of the Net nominee whose poems have appeared in Frogpond, Human/Kind, Mayfly, Rattle, The Heron’s Nest, tinywords, and elsewhere. She leaves her books in public spaces through her Ripples of Kindness project. Her third book is Stumbling Toward Happiness: Haibun and Hybrid Poems.

https://www.Twitter/IG:@SongsOfKat

 

Poet, editor, anthologist, festival director, Kala Ramesh was the editor-in-chief of the award winning ‘Naad Anunaad: an Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku’, co-authored the e-book ‘one-line twos’ with Marlene Mountain, winner of the Snapshot Press Tanka e-Chapbook ‘Unseen Arc’. Her book ‘Beyond the Horizon Beyond’, was awarded a Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize Certificate for ‘excellent contribution to literature’ 2019.

 

bio susan burch, a good egg...

Adelaide B. Shaw has been creating tanka, tanka prose, haiku, haibun, and photo haiga for 50- years. Her haiku book, An Unknown Road, won third place in the HSA Kanterman Merit Book Awards. Her second book of haiku, The Distance I’ve Come, is due to be out soon.

Jenny Ward Angyal lives with her husband and one Abyssinian cat on a small organic farm in Gibsonville, NC, USA.  Her tanka have appeared in many journals and may also be found on her blog, The Grass Minstrel. Her tanka collection, Moonlight on Water,  appeared in 2016.

Taofeek Ayeyemi is a Nigerian lawyer and writer whose works have appeared or forthcoming in Lucent Dreaming, The Quills, The Pangolin Review, Minute Magazine, Haibun Today, Modern Haiku, Tanka Origin... He won the Honorable Mention Prize in the 2019 Soka Matsubara International Haiku Contest among others.

John J. Han (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is Professor of English and Creative Writing and Chair of the Humanities Division at Missouri Baptist University. Han is the author, editor, co-editor, or translator of twenty-three books. He has published numerous poems, as well as hundreds of critical essays and book reviews, worldwide.

Bryan Rickert is from Belleville, Illinois. He has been published in a number of fine journals and anthologies. His haiku collection “Fish Kite” is available through Cyberwit Publishing. He is also the editor at The Living Senryu Anthology.

Terrie Jacks, from the USA, started writing poetry back in the 1990’s, mostly humorous verse. She took up haiku, senryu and tanka around 2015, then added haiga and has had some success with it. She never knows where her inspiration will come for any of her writing.

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern suburbs of Sydney NSW Australia. Her tanka and haiku appear in international and Australian journals, anthologies and online. Her free verse poems have been awarded prizes in competitions and some have been published.

Lavana Kray is from Iasi, Romania. She is passionate about photography and poetry and has won several awards, including the status of Master Haiga Artist, from the World Haiku Association. Her work has been published in many print and online journals. She is the haiga editor for the UHTS journal Cattails. Vist Lavana's Blog:

photohaikuforyou.blogspot.ro

Chen-ou Liu lives in Ajax, Ontario, Canada.  He is the author of five books, including Following the Moon to the Maple Land (first prize, 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest) and A Life in Transition and Translation (honorable mention, 2014 Turtle Light Press Biennial Haiku Chapbook Competition). His haiku and tanka have been honored with many awards.

Pamela A Babusci is an internationally award-winning haiku/tanka & haiga artist. Some of her awards include: Museum of Haiku Literature Award & numerous international first place awards for tanka. Pamela is the founder and editor of: moonbathing: a journal of women's tanka, the first all-women's international tanka journal. She has published two tanka collections, A Thousand Reasons and A Solitary Woman. Pamela can be reached at: moongate44@gmail.com

Steliana Cristina Voicu lives in Ploieşti, Romania and loves painting, poetry, Japanese culture, photography and astronomy. She has won the 3rd prize in the 2017 Le Prix Jocelyne Villeneuve, first prize in the 2015 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest and other prizes. Her works have been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

Scientist and Poet. Pravat Kumar Padhy, PhD hails from Odisha, India. His poems have been featured in anthologies and periodicals of repute. He is a recipient of Editor’s Choice awards, Citations, Special and Honourable Mentions.

Debbie Strange is an internationally published short form poet, haiga artist and photographer, whose creative passions connect her more closely to the world and to herself. She maintains a publication and awards archive on her blog at debbiemstrange.blogspot.com, which also includes hundreds of haiga and reviews of her books. Please visit her on https://www.twitter.com/DebbieStrange.

Ms. Neelam Dadhwal is from Chandigarh, India. She spends her leisure time writing haiku, tanka, haibun and painting haiga. Her previous works can be found at The Living Haiku Anthology. She maintains online profiles at https://www.twitter.com/neelamdadhwal and https://www.instagram.com/neelamdadhwal

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