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TANKA TAKE HOME: 10th April, 2024 Andrew Riutta - poet of the month

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


April 10, 2024


poet of the month: Andrew Riutta

Andrew Riutta was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. He is a father, chef, and Catholic school custodian. His essay, "The Myths of Manhood," from the collection, This I BelieveOn Fatherhood (Jossey-Bass) was featured on Public Radio International's Bob Edwards Show in 2012. His latest book, Blessed: Modern Haibun on Almost Every Despair (Red Moon Press, 2022), was shortlisted for the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award and won the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award for best haibun collection. 



TTH: How do you develop a tanka? Please guide us through the stages of a poem. 

AR: For me, the expression of the poetic moment matters more than how a tanka is developed technically. After all, that's the aim---to recognize these poetic moments and distill them to the best of my ability into language. Some of my most successful tanka are a single sentence without a break or juxtaposition. Sometimes the moment itself is enough. 


TTH: Who are your favorite tanka poets? In addition to tanka what other genres of poetry do you write or read? Tell us about some of the books you've enjoyed. 

AR: Because tanka hasn't been a primary focus of mine in 15 or so years, I'm not very up to date on who's who. But over the years I've certainly come across a good number of folks whose tanka I admire and am inspired by. Sanford Goldstein, Dave Bacharach, Michael McClintock, Tom Clausen, Kala Ramesh, Janet Lynn Davis, Susan Birch, Margaret Chula, Penny Harter, Jim Kacian to name just a few. 

In recent years my love and poetic devotion has been to contemporary haibun. I released one collection, Blessed: Modern Haibun on Almost Every Despair in 2022, and, as we speak, I am putting together another. 

I read much haibun these days. There are too many great haibun authors to name. Truly. As for books I'm reading outside contemporary haibun, 

here are a few I deem sacred. Dead Man's Float - Jim Harrison; A Drifting Boat - Chinese Zen Poetry; Beyond Self - Ko Un (Korean Zen Poems). And one that's been with me through the trenches, Japanese Death Poems


Only after                  

we settled down into

what is apparently life 

could I smell the sunshine

in our clean clothes. 

The Pie in Pieces

Rain to snow.          

Just like that

she turns 

last night's leftovers

into casserole.

The Pie in Pieces


Some thoughts on Andrew’s poems:

Contrasting with the grittiness of last week's poems, this week we have some gentle and tender tanka. Here are my thoughts as I read them.

The first one appears to continue in the theme of someone who has returned from a long journey, and has finally settled into some peace and domesticity. Perhaps a returning vet- the references to Vietnam in his previous tanka brings this to mind. 'The sunshine in our clean clothes'- what a wholesome image of normalcy, good health, contentment...

The second tanka continues with the theme of domesticity. L1 is cold- the transformation of rain to snow. But what a wonderful contrast to the first line in L2-5! In a minor miracle, she transforms leftovers into something new and delicious! The warmth and genuine appreciation for this homely life shines through.

Prompt for the week: Write about finding joy in the ordinary. Have fun :)


Important: Since we're swamped with submissions, and our editors are only human, mistakes can happen. Please, please, remember to put your name, followed by your country, below each poem, even after revisions. It really helps our editors; they won't have to type it in, saving them from potential typos. Thanks a ton!




And remember – tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story. And tanka prose is storytelling.


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 these themes too.


An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights here --




1. Post only one poem at a time, only one per day.

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.

7. haikuKATHA will only consider haiga that showcase original artwork or photos. Post details re: the source of the visual image. If you team up with an artist or photographer, make sure that it’s their original work and that they are not restricted by other publications to share it. We won't be responsible for any copyright issues.

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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878 views382 comments

382 comentários

Jennifer Gurney
Jennifer Gurney
16 de abr.

#2 4-15-24


my cats beg

to go outside --

eating grass

as their salad

Jennifer Gurney, US

Respondendo a

That's cute. I thought cats ate grass when they have upset stomachs...



buttered toasts

at our breakfast table

with marmalade …

the news resounding

in dad’s voice

Dipankar Dasgupta India

(Feedback welcome.)

Respondendo a

Very relatable


lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
15 de abr.

#2, revised, 16/4


a nursery rhyme

four and twenty blackbirds . . .

i wonder where they hide

in monsoon and dark winters

Lakshmi Iyer, India

15/4, original

continuing to read

a nursery rhyme

four and twenty blackbirds . . .

i wonder where they hid

in wet monsoon and dark winters

Lakshmi Iyer, India

feedback please

lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
16 de abr.
Respondendo a

Thanks so much!


Jennifer Gurney
Jennifer Gurney
14 de abr.

#1 4-24-24

piano floats

alongside flute

weaving together

counterpart and melody

sublimely Jethro Tull

Jennifer Gurney, US


nalini shetty
nalini shetty
14 de abr.

№2....14/4/24 ( self–edited)

flutter of dogeared pages

the hero's journey ends

on the subway

I sway with others

reveling the subtle aroma of ink

Nalini Shetty


feedback welcome

16 de abr.
Respondendo a

Totally agree with the first expression. I remember the amount of reference books we studied to understand classics delving deep into use of colour, smell along with other expressions. And then I remember another expression by a Japanese poet (sorry, forgot the name), that 'Poetry unfolds like a lily giving new dimension and colour every new day, so it is with poetry, with each consecutive read the meaning deepens', although haiku, senryu, tanka have different criteria. And I'm still trying to get the hang of it. 😊😊

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