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TANKA TAKE HOME - 10 August, 2022 Featured book: The Ink Dark Moon

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

book of the month: The Ink Dark Moon – Love Poems by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu

"Natsu no yo wa / maki no to tataki / kado tataki / hito tanome naru / kuina nari keri"

Summer night,

a rap at the gate,

a rap at the door…

how hope answers

the water rail’s knock.

— Izumi Shikibu

"Tataki—“knock” or “rap”—is wonderfully onomatopoetic in the original."

"Izumi Shikibu (974?–1034?) wrote during the time of the court culture’s greatest flowering; a woman committed to a life of both religious consciousness and erotic intensity, Shikibu explored her experience in language that is precise in observation, intimate, lyrical, and deeply moving."

—The Ink Dark Moon - Love poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. Women of ancient Court of Japan.

Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani.

(This book has the English translation of poems by two great Japanese women tanka poets, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. It also has the original Japanese versions and if you're interested in learning more about tanka, we highly recommend this book.)

Challenge for this week:

Shikibu is one of my favourite tanka poets. Over 1300 years, and I can still relate to the feeling this tanka evokes. Waiting and hoping. That is the power of poetry that is timeless. Let's write about hope. What does this word inspire in you? Maybe experiment with repetition of words or lines. Have fun!

And remember - tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story.

Give these ideas 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.

An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights


1. Post only one poem at a time.

2. Only 2 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We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 250 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly magazine.

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