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TANKA TAKE HOME: 21st February, 2024 David Rice - poet of the month

Updated: Feb 21

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

February 21, 2024

poet of the month: David Rice

Bio note:

David Rice has been writing tanka for about thirty-five years and continues to write a tanka most days.

He was the editor of the Tanka Society of America's journal, Ribbons, from 2012-2019. His poems have appeared in many tanka journals and anthologies, and he has written seven tanka books, including three with other poets (Cheri Hunter Day, Autumn Noelle Hall, and Lynne Leach.) He is donating all the proceeds from his latest book, Sequelae (2023), tanka prose, to the Climate Emergency Fund.

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?

As the editor of Ribbons for eight years, I had the privilege of reading a lot of tanka. Advice? The usual: read, write, edit. I think many poets often don't edit their tanka enough. I also think it's really hard to write a good, meaningful tanka. As M. Kei famously wrote, “If you think writing tanka is easy, try it.” I have read a lot of tanka that, though technically adequate, haven't touched me. My own experience is that if I write one hundred tanka and then look back at them after they have simmered, I might find ten that shimmer. With respect to getting published, one editor's rejection may be another editor's acceptance, but that rejected tanka might, indeed, need more editing.


Poem Medicine Helps

“Be here now”or, with more nuance, “you have to let go of the life you have to accept the life you're been given.” Yup. Got it. Then my fifty-three-year-old daughter died suddenly.

mid-summer heat

flowers and grasses

going to seed

next spring

sh'e'll still be gone

The phone call, the hospital, the “there's nothing we can do:” I hadn't understood at all.

if you need anything . . .

I need to wake up

by a river

with her asleep

in her tent . . .

Even empathy doesn't comfort for long.

she said she'd scatter

my ashes

at that mountain lake

now I'm going to hike there

with hers


a barn swallow

hovers at eye level

we both say that's her

I wonder

when she'll visit next

The Tanka Society of America's Member Anthology, 2022

We are deeply grateful to David for sharing his beautiful work and thoughts with us.

Challenge for this week:

These two heart-rending pieces of poetry need no discussion...

Inspired by these extremely poignant pieces, please write tanka or tanka prose on the theme of absence, missing. This week and then next please try writing in the classical tanka format of SLSLL - but not 5-7-5-7-7 (unless you're really moved to).

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.

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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self revised: №1 27/2/24

as spring tiptoes

white neem blooms fill

the air with sweet scent

founders to make up

for a glimpse of worldly you

Nalini Shetty


original version :


as spring tiptoes in

clusters of white neem blooms fill

the air with sweet scent

founders badly to make up

for a glimpse of wordly you

Nalini Shetty


feedback welcome

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Contestando a

I don't understand L4-5 either

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Miembro desconocido
27 feb



***revised*** thanks to Suraja

he writes

and we translate --

i miss all that

      i miss putting

on my scale


he writes

and we translate

i miss all that

i miss putting

on my scale

Amrutha V Prabhu


Feedback is most welcome :)

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Contestando a

Thank you for explaining:). I think maybe you need to revise the just 3 lines, because I'm not able to see your intent. What does 'putting on my scale' mean?

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#2 26/2/24

thumb hovering

over your contact

as if leaving your name

fills the absence

of your departure

Joanna Ashwell


Feedback welcome

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Contestando a

Thank you Susan.

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sun and friendship

so scarce these days

I turn on a light

just for the company

of my shadow

Susan Yavaniski NY, USA

Feedback Welcome

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Miembro desconocido
27 feb
Contestando a


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mona bedi
mona bedi
25 feb

Tanka art:


old love

a dried rose petal

on each page --

I stay up all night

writing love poems

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