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TANKA TAKE HOME: 12th June 2024 - Sue Colpitts - poet of the month

Updated: 2 days ago

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


June12, 2024


poet of the month: Sue Colpitts

Biography: Sue came late to writing poetry.  While surfing the web, she read some haiku poetry, dabbled in it and became hooked.  Later she discovered tanka on the All Poetry site ( and took its tanka courses online.  The instructors and fellow poets continue to offer helpful feedback and guidance. She finds inspiration in the poetry from Inuit songs to the Hyakunin Isshu to the poems by contemporary Canadian poets, and from nature.  Her favourite tanka poets include Ono No Komachi and Michael Mclintock.  After reading a great poem like one written by an’ya, she tries different themes and ways to write a tanka.  She feels that experimenting with the form keeps her writing fresh and challenging, and needs to be emotionally inspired to write poetry.  

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

SC: I must be emotionally inspired to write poetry.  Nature has always played a large part in my life. For me it plants a seed of a haiku that may grow into a tanka. The first three lines of the draft tanka are usually haiku-like.  Then I relate it to a human relationship, experience or emotion for the next two lines. The next step involves writing and rewriting it over and over again until the two parts flow together and become one tanka, one song.


soon the snow falls

with days piled up on days

and long, lonely nights

oh, how I’ll miss you

in the winter between us

-Atlas Poetica 26

melting snow

and voilà

a purple crocus

like the new friend

I didn’t know I needed

We are deeply grateful to Sue Colpitts for sharing her beautiful poems with us.


Some thoughts on Sue's tanka: These tanka showcase the seamless transition from nature to human relationships. The first one has such a classic feel - like it was written by Ono no Komachi, or Izumi Shikibu. An endless winter, with the snow and days both piling up with no end in sight. The winter between us is an unusual turn of phrase, giving the reader pause, room to think and react. Contrast that with the second tanka filled with hope and the unexpected pleasure of finding something that fills a void ...

Prompt for this week: Write about something unexpected, that surprised you- either pleasantly or unpleasantly.

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.


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.


Please check out the LEARNING Archives.

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449 views317 comments


#2 14/06

calm sea

with every deep breath

I feel at peace

boldness shakes my body

all I need is warmth again

Fatma Zohra Habis/Algeria

feedback welcome 🌺


10 hours ago



far back

i find a cache

bottled emotions

dare to unbox

or keep it in

Mohua Maulik, India

Feedback appreciated.


Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
17 hours ago


always there

in the skeleton of a leaf

a sense of autumn

on your translucent skin

the blueness of veins

Arvinder Kaur

Chandigarh India

Feedback most welcome

Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
12 hours ago
Replying to

Thanks Mahua. Value each word.


Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
a day ago

#2 - 14/06/24

carrot tops

all lush and showy

do not always reveal

what lies beneath --

the hardships we endure

Kanjini Devi, NZ

feedback appreciated

Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
4 hours ago
Replying to

Thank you for your appreciation, Padma!



birthday ribbon

opening the box

to a hattrick of sky

this skylark’s feather

unexpectedly mine


Joanna Ashwell


Feedback welcome

joanna ashwell
joanna ashwell
10 hours ago
Replying to

Thank you Fatma.

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