top of page

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.

<> <>

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. <> <>

734 views265 comments


Unknown member
Nov 02, 2023

Susan, Fridaus and team, had a wonderful time laughing yet knowing the pain it carried. Thank you for a wonderful month of learning. :)


Unknown member
Oct 31, 2023



***revised*** thanks Lakshmi

The guide

just when i sit saying

enough of this poem-writing

someone else's song

fills me with wine

to begin the party

“We give each other enough space”, said one lover to the other staring into the eyes for approval. I leave the park with a smile, to get into my space.

Yes! There are spaces in ourselves we constantly keep negotiating with. We must die several times to live fully in what is left.


of dust in the light

through this window

neither you nor i can escape

this dance in madhushala

This is why it is wisely said that between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and…

Unknown member
Oct 31, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!

Yes, many layers. Hard to get in ☺ That's life I guess... I will see if I can simplify it for you.

Could you please tell me what are the things you find to be many? I really need to know. For me the flow is straight forward. May be I am not able see to what you are seeing. That would greatly help me to modify.


Oct 30, 2023




there's always

somebody above you

somebody below you

all are equals

in the eyes of god

~Sreenath, India


Feedback Welcome


Pic : Megha KN



#1 gembun


My boss ignores my email about feeling like a sitting duck

the receptionist desk

right by the door -

if there’s

a workplace shooter,

I’ll be the first to die

comments welcome

Susan Burch, USA

mona bedi
mona bedi
Dec 07, 2023
Replying to



Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
Oct 30, 2023

#2 31/10/23

revision 2 another self-edit. Could this be a Gembun? Please advice 😊 Thanks


All’s well when it’s a matter of morning amusements

village lodge

the nocturnal calls

of a house gecko

and the many times I wake up

to peer through the peephole

Sumitra Kumar


feedback welcome

#2 31/10/23 revision 1 self-edit after feedback from Reid. Thanks! Could this be a Gembun? Please advice 😊 also wondering if ‘at the’ in L3 is needed.


All’s well when it’s a matter of morning amusements

nocturnal calls

of a house lizard

at the village lodge

I wake up twice to peer

through the peephole

Sumitra Kumar


feedback welcome

#2 30/10/23

nocturnal calls

of a house…

Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
Oct 31, 2023
Replying to

Haha! Have edited again Amrutha. Hope it works now

bottom of page