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TANKA TAKE HOME - 22 June, 2022 | poet of the month - Ken Slaughter

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: Ken Slaughter



as I shave my beard

grandpa’s face appears

in the mirror...

all my ancestors

living in me


Gusts 35



white tips

and many shades of green—

a brighter,

deeper spring

after ten years with you


Frameless Sky 15




We had the pleasure of asking Ken a few questions, and he graciously took the time to answer them. The previous questions are in the earlier posts, here’s the fifth one.


Q5: TTH: Do you show your work in progress to anyone, or is it a solitary art that you keep close to your chest before letting it go for publishing?


Ken: Usually I do share them, but sometimes no. If I have strong feelings about a poem I may keep it to myself. I sometimes don't look for feedback on ones I plan to enter in a contest, for example. Usually, though, I post my poems in the Inkstone Poetry forum, or share them with a poet friend on Instagram. I also ask my wife for feedback sometimes. Lately, I have been posting on this Triveni website. The poets here are so gracious and kind, but they will give honest feedback if I ask.


I can get so wrapped up in a poem that I lose touch with how it sounds to someone else, or if it even makes sense. When I ask for feedback, I'm almost always glad I did.



More about Ken: Ken Slaughter is a tanka poet who also likes to write senryu. He was vice president of the Tanka Society of America for a couple of years. He won the annual TSA contest in 2015. He submits primarily to Ribbons, Gusts, Prune Juice and Failed Haiku. You will see some of Ken’s tanka here in the excellent publication haikuKATHA. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife, and is the proud servant of two one-eyed cats. Are you inspired? Challenge for this week: Think of a colour, then use it in your poem. See where that takes you. Give this idea 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 this theme too.


An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights


PLEASE NOTE: 1. Post only one poem at a time. 2. Only two 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 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly magazine.


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354 Comments


Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
Jun 28, 2022

Another revision after Kala's suggestion/edit.


at sunset

a quiet prayer

alone

an old man's rough greys

on a rough pillow


Final version after revision, suggestions by Ken. Thanks everyone for your feedback. Much appreciated.


as the sun sets

a quiet prayer

in the dark

an old man's rough greys

on a rough pillow


Original :


as the sun sets

a quiet prayer

in the darkness

the old man's rough greys

on a rough pillow


Feedback/comments/suggestions welcome

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Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
Jun 30, 2022
Replying to

Yes I agree Kala ! I did not notice the clash between sunset and darkness. Thanks for pointing out. At this stage the revision you have suggested reads the best. Thankyou again.

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Mallika Chari
Mallika Chari
Jun 27, 2022

this forum is brilliant. It gives a great learning .

the replies and suggestions by other poets are quite helpful in refining our thoughts!

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Mallika Chari
Mallika Chari
Jun 27, 2022

night sky

near the open window

the known silence

waits for no one

till it dawns again


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Replying to

How about

till the day breaks

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mona bedi
mona bedi
Jun 27, 2022

Revised:


cemetery walk

a hummingbird hovers

in mid air

I pause to breathe in

the scent of honeysuckle


Original:


cemetery walk

a hummingbird hovers

in mid air

I too remember to stop

and live in the moment

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Jun 28, 2022
Replying to

Love the revision, Kala! Makes me feel as if I was there.

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Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
Jun 27, 2022

So many beautiful tanka. Really inspiring Ken. And the interaction/edits go a long way. Thanks everyone. My offer today. Feedback is much appreciated.


as the sun sets

a quiet prayer

in darkness

the old man's rough greys

on a rough pillow


Q. Do we need darkness ? What do you feel about the repetition of the word 'rough'


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Arvinder Kaur
Arvinder Kaur
Jun 28, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much Ken ! I love this revision. In fact I felt that the two 'roughs' are the USP ( so to say ) of this tanka.Will post this as my final version.

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