hosts: Firdaus Parvez, Kala Ramesh, Priti Aisola & Suraja Menon Roychowdhury
Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!
poet of the month: Susan Burch October 18, 2023
I wish it was a trick
because it wasn’t a treat –
from my sister’s husband
hitting on me
Scryptic Halloween Contest Third Place 2017
my stained apron –
did my happiness
BHS Awards tanka section First Place 2017
a T-rex chasing me
through my day
I feel lucky
if he only takes a bite
Ribbons Fall 2018
in my shoulder blades
I’m not growing
BHS Awards tanka section Runner Up 2022
has taken so much
our mixing bowl lives
reduced to thimbles
Fleeting Words Tanka Contest Second Place 2020
I wake up from a deep sleep convinced there are aliens in my room. I grab my husband and look around but there’s no one there. Not a sound, not even a movement. I start to calm down until I realize it could all be an illusion that I’m safe at home in bed, when really I’m on a spaceship, maybe even a jail cell.
the pitying looks
of the other aliens
when I pull down
my pants and pee,
in front of everyone
Failed Haiku 2020
We are delighted to feature Susan this month. Despite being such a private person she very graciously answered all our questions and we're grateful for her time and effort. Here's the fourth with some great advice:
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?
Susan: Less is more. Think about economy of words and saying what you want to say in the simplest terms possible. Be unique. Write about the funny or weird things that happen to you. Put yourself out there. And make sure you say something in your poem. You can have dreaming room but don’t be so vague that no one knows what you’re talking about. Also, avoid I remember (because you’re the only one who remembers), I wish, and I wonder if possible. If you do use them, use them sparingly and only if you can think of no other way to say it. Also, look at your line breaks. Read your poems aloud and write them the way you want them to be read.
Susan Burch began writing tanka in April 2013 after reading winning contest poems on the Tanka Society of America website. She loved the brevity of the form and submitted to Ribbons, which published her first tanka and encouraged her to keep writing. She has placed in several tanka contests since then, and is now the First Vice President of the Tanka Society of America. Her ongoing goal is to promote the tanka form and to attract new readers and writers to tanka poetry. You can buy her book "Angry Tanka" here
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!
The challenge for this week: Susan's poems, though laced with humour, are sometimes hard-hitting. She doesn't shy away from vulnerability; at least on paper. And it's easy to relate to what she writes. The poems I've shared are a mixed bag of emotions. Things we keep under wraps. Made me chuckle and wince. What are you afraid of? That's your challenge for the week. And as always, you can write outside the prompt too. Have fun!
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. <> <>