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TANKA TAKE HOME – 25th January 2023 | poet of the month – Debbie Strange

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: Debbie Strange

25th January

Debbie Strange/Tanka

tracks of birds

meander through snow . . .

the surgeon

marks her left breast

with a cross

(1st Place, 2016 British Haiku Society Awards)

the ocean

was in a rage last night

but today,

these peace offerings

of blue mussels and kelp

(1st Place, 2018 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest)

We are deeply grateful to you, Debbie, for taking time off to answer our questions.

Q 6 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?

DS: My husband is a sensitive reader who sees all my work prior to publication. I am especially grateful to have a second pair of eyes on the fruits of my labour, because my vision is unreliable.


Debbie Strange (Manitoba, Canada) is a chronically ill poet/artist whose creative passions connect her more closely to others, to the world, and to herself. Thousands of her poems and artworks can be accessed via her publication archive at:

Challenge for this week:

The second tanka, which lends itself beautifully to recitation, starts with moments of turbulence and ends on a note of serenity. With each quiet reading, it offers a deeper and richer experience, not just of the natural world, but of the world of people too: their tendency to disrupt relationships and then re-forge them. Sadly, not all ‘rages’ transition to ‘peace offerings’.

We invite you to write tanka where you look at a trying or challenging situation with empathy, but composed distance.


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 this theme too.

An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights


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.

5. Post your final edited version on top of your original verse.

Let it simmer for a while.

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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