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TANKA TAKE HOME: 17th 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 17, 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: Can you give any advice to someone wanting to write and publish tanka? As an editor what are you looking for in a tanka that makes it most likely to get published?

AR: I personally believe that every writer has to excavate his or her own way into the particular genre they pursue. Utilizing tools from their own toolbox. Write about what's around you and what you know. This will give the poems your own distinct voice and tone. Color and texture. Pay attention and seize the poetic moments. And don't be afraid to take risks. Don't be afraid. Always aim to exceed your expectations of yourself.



due by tomorrow.


all at once,

the wind.

The Pie in Pieces

Harsh words

have ground his teeth down

to tiny daggers,

this man who picks lilacs

for his dying mother.

Cigarette Butts and Lilacs


Some thoughts on Andrew’s poems:

These two tanka show so many emotions...despair, frustration, rage and then tenderness. Everywhere, all at once, the wind. Everywhere, all at once, human feelings- the human condition. So gut-wrenching.

Prompt for the week: Pick an emotion. Insert it into your tanka and see where it takes you. 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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23/4/24. #1

your hands hold

an ocean of desire…

I trace

the lines of my fate

etched upon your palm

Neena Singh


Feedback welcome.


Great tanka Andrew, thanks for sharing dear Suraja alongwith the advice to poets.




A Special School

In the beginning, everything is bright and beautiful.

in the park

squirrels jumping

from one bough

to another, another ...

this delicacy of colours

Gradually, it becomes clear that somewhere, something is wrong.

a zillion

leaves and branches

shivering and swaying ...

in my mind

a night begins

"Why me?", "Why my child?", creeps in.

It is hard for anyone to accept that their child has a problem.

thought moths

unfolding filmy wings

over time

in my cave

a bizarre flight

Amrutha V. Prabhu


Feedback is most welcome :)

Replying to

Thank you Neena.


mona bedi
mona bedi
Apr 23

Post #2 TP

Self edit:

A gembun

when words don’t mean anything

sitting across

you seem oblivious

to the cacophony

of burning emotions

inside of me

A gembun

is verbal communication the best

sitting across

you seem oblivious

to the cacophony

of burning emotions

inside of me

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


Replying to

I can feel the frustration and anguish expressed in this gembun. However, in the absence of any strong or clear images, it stays at the level of an emotional outpouring. Best wishes, Mona.


Post 1


A gembun:

through the valley of no words

distant caws

from the dried riverbed

as it curls

around a hill

and disappears

Firdaus Parvez, India

Comments welcome :)

Replying to

Thank you so much Priti. Means a lot coming from you :)

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