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TANKA TAKE HOME - 1 June, 2022 | poet of the month - Ken Slaughter

hosts: Firdaus Parvez, Kala Ramesh, Priti Aisola & Suraja Menon Roychowdhury

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: Ken Slaughter



pine needles

shiver in the wind

what spirit

wants to speak

through my voice


Frameless Sky 12



the morning after thunderstorms

drops of rain

on a sunlit leaf . . .

I let my anger go


A Hundred Gourds 4.1




We had the pleasure of asking Ken a few questions, and he graciously took the time to answer them. Here’re the first two.


Q1. TTH: Do you come from a literary background? What writers did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you write as a child?


Ken: My dad worked in business, but he did like to write poetry. I do not recall reading or writing poetry as a child, though. In college, I took a lot of English courses and developed an interest in poetry. My favorite poem was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Elliot, and I tried to copy that style in a poem of my own. I also liked e.e. cummings and tried to copy his style in a few poems also.


Q2. TTH: How did you get started as a poet? What was it about tanka that inspired you to embrace this ancient form of poetry? In short, why do you keep writing tanka?


Ken: I wrote a lot of longer poems in my early adult life and received a lot of rejections. As time went on I focused on writing short poems.


I looked around for a short form of poetry. I tried haiku but felt too constricted by it. Once I discovered tanka I found some success. It seemed like a natural fit for me. Since I began writing tanka, I revised a lot of my earlier poems and they are much better now. I love tanka because they give me just enough room to express something meaningful. At the same time, they impose a discipline that has helped me in my other writing.


More about Ken:


Ken Slaughter is a tanka poet who also likes to write senyru. He was vice president of the Tanka Society of America for a couple of years. He won the annual TSA contest in 2015. He submits primarily to Ribbons, Gusts, Prune Juice and Failed Haiku. You will see some of Ken’s tanka here in the excellent publication HaikuKATHA. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife, and is the proud servant of two one-eyed cats.


Are you inspired? Challenge for this week: Have you ever tried making your fifth line powerful?


Give this idea some thought and share your tanka and tanka-prose with us here. Keep your senses open, observe things that happen around you and write. You can post tanka and tanka-prose outside this theme too.

PLEASE NOTE:

1. Post only one poem at a time.

2. Only two tanka and two tanka-prose per poet per prompt.

Tanka art of course if you want to.

3. Share your best-polished pieces.

4. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written. Let it simmer for a while.

5. Post your final edited version on top of your original verse.

6. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems. We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.


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183 Comments


Tish Davis
Tish Davis
Jun 17, 2022

Edited Version:


The Loop


the chestnut mare

clip-clopping, clip-clopping

down my red brick street . . .

the apple seller stops his wagon

in front of my house

In the dream, I’m once again on the wide wooden steps of my childhood home. Our covered front porch returns an unfinished palette: the orderly rows of slate gray boards; the dandelions, undelivered; and a young girl’s muddy shoes.


Two dwellings—one up and one down— share the three black digits centered on the white weathered wood between the two front doors. Our Grandmother bought this place for her two oldest sons. How was she to know that one family would never leave this harbor town and that the children of the othe…


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Tish Davis
Tish Davis
Jun 12, 2022

Edited Version


my brain wave

once again fails

to reach

one of the red squirrels . . .

Splat!


Original Version


my brain wave

once again failing

to reach

one of the red squirrels . . .

roadkill

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Tish Davis
Tish Davis
Jun 15, 2022
Replying to

Thank you.


And thank you for sharing your wonderful tanka and background as June's Poet of the Month!

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neena singh
neena singh
Jun 12, 2022

edited basis suggestions of Joanna, Reid & Firdaus:


Edited Version

were you here

to view the sea

I wonder

how the rising seagulls

would touch me


Original Version


were you here

to view the sea together

I wonder how

the rising seagulls flapping

would touch me


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Tish Davis
Tish Davis
Jun 15, 2022
Replying to

I love your revision!


It's so interesting how a few tweaks (L2 "to view to sea" and in L4 "the rising seagulls") can create a magical moment.


Thank you for sharing.

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Jun 07, 2022

Hearty Congratulations to our Contributors! The list of poets featured in the haikuKATHA - Issue 8, June 2022 is up! https://www.trivenihaikai.in/post/celebration

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neena singh
neena singh
Jun 12, 2022
Replying to

Grateful dear Kala for the inclusion of two of my haiku. 💐🙏

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neena singh
neena singh
Jun 07, 2022

were you here

to view the sea together

I wonder how

the rising seagulls flapping

would touch me


Feedback most welcome.

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neena singh
neena singh
Jun 12, 2022
Replying to

Firdaus have tweaked it a little- please have a look!

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