Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome to the TANKA CAFÉ. Are you ready to get groovy with your poetry? Then, you’re in the right place! Pull up a chair, order some coffee or tea and let’s write some TANKA poetry.
(Please note: I changed my blog name and address to colleenchesebro.com. silverthreading.com will be discontinued in the next few months)
It’s November 1st! 2016 is almost over!
BUT FIRST! LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO CREATE THIS EXCITING POETRY FORM
I have received many questions about how to write a Tanka poem. It is worth taking a moment to check the best way to create a Tanka.
At Study.com, there is an excellent discussion on how to write a Tanka. This is part of a lesson you would have to pay for so I have quoted the best part of that site. I color coded the things for you to consider when writing your own Tanka:
“Tanka poems are a traditional Japanese style of poetry that follows a set pattern. In this lesson, you’ll learn the structure of the tanka, be introduced to its subject matter, and be presented with examples of this type of poetry.
Tanka Poetry Example
the color of the cherry blossom
has faded in vain
in the long rain
while in idle thoughts
I have spent my life.
– Ono no Komachi (circa 850) Original Japanese Tanka
You may be familiar with haiku, a traditional style of Japanese poetry containing only three lines. The poem above is a tanka, another style of Japanese poetry. Tanka poems are quite similar to haiku, and in this lesson, you’ll learn how they are structured and what you might expect to find in a tanka poem.
Tanka Structure and Content
Tanka poems, when written in Japanese, follow a pattern of syllables 5-7-5-7-7. In other words, the first and third lines contain only five syllables each, while the second, fourth, and fifth lines have seven syllables. When translated into English the syllable count is usually thrown off, which is why our example has nine syllables in the first line. There would only be five in the original Japanese version.
Additionally, each tanka is divided into two parts. The first three lines are the upper phrase, and the last two lines are the lower phrase.
The upper phrase typically contains an image, and the lower phrase presents the poet’s ideas about that image.
Many traditional poetic forms have a turn, a place where the poem shifts, and for the tanka, this happens between the upper and lower phrase. In our example, the poet presents an image of faded cherry blossoms, and after the turn, she compares her own life to the wasted beauty of those blossoms.
While haiku poems are usually about nature, tanka is often personal reflections on love and other strong emotions. Tanka also uses figurative language. In the example, above, the poet creates a metaphor connecting the wilted cherry blossoms to her life.”
Writing a Tanka is like writing a Haiku (5/7/5) and adding two more lines. See how much more of a “visual image” you get in your mind’s eye? You end up with lines of syllables totaling, 5/7/5/7/7.
Did you recognize the pivot in the third line? We start talking about my solitude, and then we switch to talking about the leaves of red and gold. The words are all connected and are talking about my response to autumn. It is important to try to join your feelings into your Tanka.
Visit Jean Emrich at tankaonline.com. She gives excellent instructions on how to write your feelings into this poetry form.
I hope this helps to explain the “TURN,” or “PIVOT.” Remember: create an image in your mind with the first three lines, and then in the last two lines give us your opinion or thoughts about that image.
Here are some great sites that will help you write your Tanka.
For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.
Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site for all my Haiku and Tanka poems. Click on the “Poetry Workshop” tab to create your Tanka. Here are the rules for the Tanka form: howmanysyllables.com
I will publish the Tanka Tuesday prompt at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Denver
Time). That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world.
How Long Do You Have and Your Deadline: You have a week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Monday at 12:00 P.M. (noon). This will give me a chance to add the links from everyone’s Tanka post from the previous week, on the new prompt I send out on Tuesday. I urge everyone to visit the blogs and comment on everyone’s Tanka poem.
The rules are simple.
I will give you two words that you need to use (in some form) in the writing of your Tanka.
The two words can be used in any way you would like to use them. Words have different definitions, and you can use the definitions you like. Feel free to use synonyms for the words.
To do a Ping Back: Copy the URL (the HTTP:// address of my post) for the current week’s Challenge and paste it into your post. You may also place a copy of your URL of your Tanka Post in the comments of the current week’s Challenge post.
People from the challenge may visit you and comment or “like” your post. I also need at least a Ping Back or a link in the comments section to know you participated and to include you in the Weekly Review section of the new prompt on Tuesday.
BE CREATIVE. Use your photos and create “Visual Tanka’s” if you wish, although it is not necessary. You can use Fotoflexer, Picmonkey, or Canva.com, or any other program that you want to make your images. Click the links to go to the programs.
I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your TANKA.
You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Tanka Tuesday Challenge Post and place it in your post:
HERE’S WHO JOINED US LAST WEEK FOR OUR 5th CHALLENGE USING THE WORDS – SHAPES & HEART: (I hope you are visiting the other participants. We learn from each other. <3)
I am thrilled with the creativity you displayed in last week’s Tanka poems. Since you did so well last week, are you ready to have another go at it?
Here are our two words for this week’s challenge: WIND & GRACE
(any forms of the words, AND don’t forget that you can use synonyms)
I got creative this week and used “serpentine” for the word wind (as in twist or coil), and I used the word, “adorned,” for grace. There are many different meanings to these words that you can tap into. Have fun and experiment.
Serpentine limbs –
adorned with bright pink blossoms
A life lived with dignity
First I created the image with the first three lines:
Serpentine limbs –
adorned with bright pink blossoms
In the last two lines, I gave my opinion or personal thoughts.
A life lived with dignity
COME ON! Join in and share your Tanka poem. ❤
Categories: Tanka Tuesday
Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles - The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017.
The book reveals the story of Abby Forrester, a 14-year-old orphaned girl who is entrusted with saving a community of fairy nymphs from certain ecological destruction. Along the way, Abby learns about friendship, love, and what it means to actually belong to a family.
Colleen’s writing explores ecological situations in the multicultural world of today. She combines real-life historical events into her writing to create experiences that will continue in the hearts and heads of her readers.
A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.
When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, children, and grandchildren. When time permits, she also loves gardening, cooking, and crocheting old fashioned doilies into works of artistry.
She lives in the United States with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar, and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her writing on her website colleenchesebro.com.