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TANKA TAKE HOME: 20th September 2023 Kathy Kituai - poet of the month

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: Kathy Kituai

Kathy Kituai, thanks a million for sharing your poetry and thoughts this month. This is going to be a rich experience for all our members.

Biography: Kathy Kituai has published a four-part radio documentary for NBC, seven poetry collections, five anthologies, a children’s picture book, and received two Canberra Critic Awards for her teaching in Scotland, South Australia, New South Wales, and the ACT since 1990, and foundered and facilitated Limestone Tanka Poets (2011 – 2021). She has also been a tanka editor for Cattails, creative editor for Muse magazine (twice) and assistant editor for the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, her poetry has been published in Japan, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and has won international awards. Her last tanka collection, Deep in the Valley of Tea Bowls, won the 2016 ACT Writing and Publisher Award. She has co-judged poetry competitions, including two for Manning Clark House (Canberra, ACT) and the 2022 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Competition.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ September 20, 2023

And now, Kate's responses to our question.

5. 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?

Be encouraged no matter how much you fail. I wrote 30-40 of what I thought were tanka before I understood the difference between 5 lined poems and tanka. Read and read and read what colleagues are writing. Sit with each poem. Ask yourself what gifts it brings. Utilize and experiment with what is learnt. I copy poems by hand (yes! tanka as well), let them keep me company as I seek something different in them for five days or more. Study how to write in such a way, the reader is not looking over your shoulder watching at a distance. Look for ways to shorten the vastness between you and them through the five senses. In other words, learn your own way how show-and-tell in detailed writing that take others into your experience so that what you describe, is felt by others. Always offer the unsaid. That is where the essence of a poem resides.

As editor --- Tell me something new … explore possibilities not investigated yet --- is always uppermost in my mind. I relish poets who understand dreaming room and gift readers with tanka that is layered with meaning, this along with what I expressed thus far.

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a gift

within a gift


holding the silence

in the shape of petals

Second place,

Sanford Goldstein international tanka Competition

to think

I almost blinked

just then …

sudden sunlight

centres each fuchsia

Front Page Eucalypt / Issue 35, 2022

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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: 

  How simple and fascinating are Kathy's tanka. They root you in a moment of wonder. So we ask you to write about a moment of wonder; it can be about flowers or any other thing, whatever has stopped you in your tracks. Take us there. That is your challenge for the week. But like always you can write outside the prompt. 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 


Starting with our October issue (issue 24), haikuKATHA will only consider haiga and tanka-art submissions that showcase your original artwork or photos. No more using stuff from free sites or AI-generated images, because we want you to boost your creativity!

But don't worry, we're all about collaboration. Because we know not everyone can draw or take great pictures. If you team up with an artist or photographer and we accept your work for publication, both of you will get credit for the masterpiece you've created. Make sure it’s their original work as well and they are not restricted by other publications to share them.

Just remember, it's on you to get permission from the artist/photographer before posting their stuff. We won't be responsible for any copyright issues. So, please keep these changes in mind.


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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Adelaide Shaw
Adelaide Shaw
Sep 26, 2023

my perfect garden

till a deer and her fawn

nibble on the hosta;

the flush of anger gone

when they turn and look at me

Adelaide B. Shaw




revised based on Susan Burch's suggestion:

the twilight nest

brims over with chatter

how loud

the emptiness

inside my home

sanjuktaa asopa, India

(Susan, I'm keeping the twilight, but changed the rest)

#1 26.9.23

the bulbul's nest

brims over with chatter

at twilight

how loud

the emptiness inside my home

-sanjuktaa asopa, India

Suggestions welcome.

Replying to

Thanks a lot for your suggestion, Susan! I also was not comfortable with the last line and tried it in various ways, but since I wanted to keep the L3, (being true to experience), nothing worked out. Maybe I should do away with that line after all. Let me see.


Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
Sep 25, 2023

#1 26/9/23 self-edit

my eyes glued

to the cradle all night

cat’s cries

from the street corner


Sumitra Kumar


(Feedback welcome)

#1 25/9/23

all night

a restless eye

on the cradle

street cat’s cries


Sumitra Kumar


(Feedback welcome)


mona bedi
mona bedi
Sep 25, 2023

Tanka art


light footedly

I step into

cool waters

a night warbler’s song

displaces the moon

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


mona bedi
mona bedi
Sep 28, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Billie!


Unknown member
Sep 25, 2023



tangled earphones

from my pocket

my heart stops

on its track

this unfurling music

Photo: Amrutha V. Prabhu

Feedback most welcome.

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