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TANKA TAKE HOME - 24 August, 2022 Featured book: The Ink Dark Moon

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

book of the month: The Ink Dark Moon – Love Poems by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu

Hito no mi mo / koi niwa kaetsu / natsumushi no / arawa ni moyu to / mienu bakari zo

No different, really—

a summer moth’s

visible burning

and this body,

transformed by love.

— Izumi Shikibu

"A good deal more has been recorded about the life of Izumi Shikibu, who came to the Heian court at the height of its greatness to serve a former empress. Born around 974, she too was the daughter of a lord…

…When she was thirty-six Shikibu married for the second time and accompanied her new husband to his post in the provinces. She never returned to court life and is thought to have died at the age of sixty. Her reputation as a poet grew steadily after her death, and Shikibu is now recognized as the outstanding woman poet of Japanese literature."

—The Ink Dark Moon - Love poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. Women of ancient Court of Japan.

Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani.

(This book has the English translation of poems by two great Japanese women tanka poets, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. It also has the original Japanese versions and if you're interested in learning more about tanka, we highly recommend this book.)

Challenge for this week:

It's difficult to pick out only one tanka of Shikibu; I liked this one because it talks about change/transformation/metamorphosis. What a beauty! Tell us about any change you've experienced or, just be inspired by the words. Write your poems loosely around the theme. Most of all have fun!

And remember - tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story.

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 this theme too.

An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights


1. Post only one poem at a time.

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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