TANKA TAKE HOME - 2 February, 2022

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: an'ya


on this final voyage

of our lives

so much more we know now

we knew not before love

(Songs of the Winter Sea Opera)

We had the pleasure of asking an'ya a few questions, and she graciously took the time out to answer them. Here are the first two:

TTH: Do you come from a literary background? What writers did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you write as a child?

an’ya: First thank you for having me, and yes, my family literary background is that I’m a distant descendant of the poet Francis Scott Key (author of The Star-Spangled Banner), as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby), and Science Fiction writer Alexander Hill Key (author of Escape to Witch Mountain.)

American born poetess Emily Dickinson was a favorite of mine, and Miloš Crnjanski, a Serbian poet and translator of haiku also inspired me.

I was a total poetry bookworm from an early age and grew up happy with a tree to climb, a book, and a pencil and paper.

TTH: How did you get started as a poet? What was it about tanka that inspired you to embrace this ancient form of poetry?

an’ya: I began to write about the age of 13 when my Uncle gave me a leather-bound book of One Hundred and One Poems and I was especially awed by Alfred Noyes The Highwayman. There’s a great reading of it on YouTube here

My first award was in high school when I was honored to have written our graduation poem.

Before tanka, I started with mainstream poetry, then moved through haiku and ended up considering myself a tanka poetess because it was between the two forms, not too short and not too long. Also, I am a romantic at heart and a lover of nature.

More about an'ya:

In 2011, an’ya was voted one of the top ten living haiku poets in the world, albeit she considers herself to be a tanka poetess. She’s the Founder/First Editor of cattails online collected works for the United Haiku and Tanka Society, Founding/First Editor of Ribbons Journal for the Tanka Society of America, Past Editor of TSA Newsletter, Founder/Editor of moonset literary newspaper and journal, Founder of Oregon Haiku and Tanka Society, Past Editor of Tanka Origins, kernels online, and second Editor of haigaonline. an’ya’s nom de plume was christened her by David McMurray Editor of Asahi Haikuist Network for the International Herald Tribune-Asahi Shimbun Japan in 1999 when she moved from mainstream poetry to writing strictly Japanese short forms. The haigo (Japanese pen name, an’ya) loosely translates to “an” (peace) and “ya” (night) linking it with the analogy of “a surprise light that brings peace to the moonless night”... an’ya has numerous published books to her credit, and has been published in many journals, magazines, newspapers, and places online. Her art has been featured in various galleries, and her works published on wind chimes, read on the radio, displayed at libraries in the USA, Canada, and Australia. Her tanka was also published on Vancouver buses for their “Poetry Moves” project. Besides winning literally hundreds of awards and contests, she is a seven time Winner of the British Haiku/Tanka Society Competitions.

Do take some time and read this essay: https://www.trivenihaikai.in/post/learning-31-poetic-senses-an-ya ....

Are you inspired!

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.

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