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TANKA TAKE HOME - 16th November 2022 | poet of the month - Tish Davis

Updated: Nov 19, 2022

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


poet of the month: Tish Davis


16th November


Tish Davis / Tanka Prose


Sign


on wooden stilts

next to Father

I’m delicately balanced

and follow in his steps

picking peaches


The sign that bears my father’s name now dangles from the weathered arm of the post at the front gate. I take the shingle down because I am his only child, and carefully wrap it in the blanket brought from home.


new line posts

and barbed wire

razor sharp

the buyer renames

our family farm


<>


My tanka prose, “Sign” (first published in Modern Haibun and Tanka Prose, 2009) is an example of disguising one’s autobiography by utilizing research to enhance the “colors and fabric.” I wrote about this technique in my essay "Quilting Prose” first published in cho 16.2


3. TTH: How do you develop a tanka? Please guide us through the stages of a poem. It is rare for a tanka to just “appear” in my head as a final version. Usually, some event triggers its birth. I work a lot of hours in a pressure-filled environment and after work, enjoy unwinding in the solitude of the county parks and nearby woods. Sometimes the forest “speaks” to me. I’m always with some combination of our leashed dogs, so I need to remember what the woods whisper and my initial response so I can add it to the paper when I get home. Most of my tanka require multiple revisions. Some age gracefully for a few years and then I take another look. I do keep an eye on the syllable count but never let that limit me.


Bio: Tish Davis lives in Northern Ohio. Her tanka and related forms have appeared in numerous online and print publications. When she isn’t busy with work and grandchildren she enjoys exploring the local parks with her husband and three dogs.



Challenge for this week: Taking this passage from Tish's article - Quilting Prose - link is given above. The purpose of this article is not to turn writers into good liars, but to offer for consideration that one’s play-by-play autobiographical account, while meaningful to the author, isn’t always a good dance partner. When commenting on his haibun “Running with the Yaks,” cho’s former editor, Bob Lucky, notes:

. . . at some point in my haibun-writing career, I realized two things. First, as much fun as I’ve had in living, not that much of what I’ve done is terribly exciting. I get up and go to work like everyone else I know; I just do it somewhere else. Second, as I got drawn more and more into prose poetry and flash fiction, I began to understand better Amy Hempel’s line:

“I leave a lot out when I tell the truth” ~ From the story “The Harvest”


I’ve found the same thing with my tanka prose. Tanka is often referred to as a little song, and when one or more are combined with prose, the resulting composition has its own melody: not only can a writer leave out the truth or portions of it, but truth can also be rearranged or re-shaped via poetic imagination.


This would be your challenge for this week. Ponder over what is said, and give us a good tanka-prose!! ***


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 this theme too.


An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights PLEASE NOTE 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.

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83 Kommentare


Smitha Vishwanath
Smitha Vishwanath
26. Nov. 2022

My father's home


Two years, after he went away, I visited our first home- It was the only concrete way I knew of saying goodbye to him, before leaving the country. I wanted my daughter to see my father's house. We sat in the café I visited with dad as a little girl, and I ordered cold coffee, lamington cake and a chicken mayonnaise sandwich for all of us, just like the old days. I wanted her and her dad to get a taste of my childhood.


the past came flooding

it flowed without a warning

choked my voice and broke

the dam I had built

the garçon thought it was the food.


We walked to the apartment block once…


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lindalee004
lindalee004
24. Nov. 2022

my memories

adding more color

umami notes

savory depths

heartfelt


Critique welcome I’m still new to tanka

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
22. Nov. 2022

Amrutha, Please check your comp and your internet connection. Here everything is perfect. The whole TP shows with all the comments. Just check at your end. _()_

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Unknown member
22. Nov. 2022
Antwort an

Sure. Thank you for quick response.

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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
21. Nov. 2022

Hello Amrutha

Its fine here. Just refresh your system, maybe then ..

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Unknown member
22. Nov. 2022
Antwort an

I will recheck. Thank you for your quick response.

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Bonnie J Scherer
Bonnie J Scherer
21. Nov. 2022

Updated following Reid’s suggestion to improve the tanka. Thank you!


The Bakery Clerk


Reporting for duty in my finest white smock, the owner of the German Bakery didn’t expect me. “Why are you here? she snarled. “You hired me, didn’t you?” my voice faltering.


Seems my two semesters of German in high school weren’t good enough to properly understand yesterday’s interview. “Maybe I can give you a try” in my book translates to I was hired.


My trial day greeting customers in German and packaging their apfelstrudel and kuchen didn’t go well. Not only did the names of the baked goods in the display counter evade me but I mangled the delicate pastries as I squeezed them into square cardboard…


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
23. Nov. 2022
Antwort an

Nice work on your revision.


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