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TANKA TAKE HOME: 25th October 2023 Susan Burch - 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: Susan Burch October 25, 2023

a paper towel

absorbing a spill –

the days I can’t write

but just take in


Colorado Boulevard Sept 2018

after your death,

only grief

holds me down –

if I let go,

will I evaporate…

Fleeting Words Tanka Contest Honorable Mention 2019

a Rubik’s cube twisted

into a colorful mix –

what if we could

love ourselves

just the way we are?

World Tanka Love Contest Honorable Mention 2019

Not Enough

A loon needs 200 yards of water to take off, so if it lands in a small pond with only 100 yards of water, it’s stuck. It can’t walk & it will keep trying to leave.

an S.O.S.

written in sand …

this year

the suicide hotline


haikuKATHA issue 19

My Collapsing Nose

My ENT explains that just like some people have floppy ears, others have floppy nose cartilage.

“You’re just

made that way”

instead of getting help

I get another

anatomy lesson

Failed Haiku Nov 2022

A Gift from God-zilla

Too much food, I throw my half of a sandwich into the forest.

they’ll be

talking about it

for years

the ant feast

of 2021

Ribbons Fall 2021

It was a delight featuring Susan this month. Thank you Susan for an inspiring month and for giving some great feedback to our members.

Despite being such a private person, Susan very graciously answered all our questions and we're grateful for her time and effort. Here're the last two:


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?

Susan: It used to be solitary but now I have several friends I can run poems by, and one I annoy almost daily! But I don’t have to feel guilty about it because they send me poems too. It’s a give and take.

I’m also in several online groups and I post here on Triveni too.


TTH: Who are your favourite tanka poets? In addition to tanka what other genres of poetry do you write or read? Tell us about some of the books you've enjoyed.

Susan: I’m bound to leave someone I love out, and you’ve featured a bunch of them, but some of the ones I don’t think you have are: Janet Lynn Davis, Bryan Rickert, Vandana Parashar, Mary Kendall, and Carole MacRury. I do read some free verse, but I find it hard to write a long poem. I love science fiction and fantasy novels and my favorite authors are Sarah Maas and VE Schwab.

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Susan Burch began writing tanka in April 2013 after reading winning contest poems on the Tanka Society of America website. She loved the brevity of the form and submitted to Ribbons, which published her first tanka and encouraged her to keep writing. She has placed in several tanka contests since then, and is now the First Vice President of the Tanka Society of America. Her ongoing goal is to promote the tanka form and to attract new readers and writers to tanka poetry. You can buy her book "Angry Tanka" here <>

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:  

Beautiful writing yet again from Susan. She uses humour and satire quite effectively and handles serious topics so well too. "Not Enough" is one of my favourites of hers. Her strength lies in brevity. Short and sharp. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts on her poems. This week there is no challenge. Feel free to write whatever Susan's poems inspire. 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 


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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