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TANKA TAKE HOME: 26th July 2023 Chen-ou Liu - 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: Chen-ou Liu

Biography: Chen-ou Liu is currently the editor and translator of NeverEnding Story (, and the author of two award-winning books, Following the Moon to the Maple Land (First Prize, 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest) and A Life in Transition and Translation (Honorable Mention, 2014 Turtle Light Press Biennial Haiku Chapbook Competition). His tanka and haiku have been honored with many awards. Visit his blog, Poetry in the Moment (, to read more of his poetry.

Chen-ou, thank you very much for taking the time to respond to our questions. Our readers will gain so much from your experiences. We look forward to reading your comments on the submissions here.

July 26, 2023


TTH: Can you give any advice to someone wanting to write and publish tanka? As an editor what are you looking for in a tanka that makes it most likely to get published?

Just write, get better, keep writing, keep getting better. It's the only thing you can control. -- Roger Ebert

And I'm looking for something wrestling with how we live, something "dangerous," and something honest.


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?

I seldom show my work in progress to anyone. Writing is a lonely business ...

Many thanks for your support of my writing.

All the best,


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on the way home

after the first day of class

the clatter

of a latchkey boy’s stick

against a row of picket fences

Honorable Mention, Tanka Section, British Haiku Society Awards, 2021

It is always three o'clock in the morning

day after day.

the ghostly past

lurking around the corner

of my mind ...

with a scalpel of words

I stab into its heart

However, my immigrant past is never ...dead -- gone and forgotten. It is not even past.

Distressed and alone by the bedroom window, in the wake of a dream about a Taiwan blue magpie disappearing into the dark forest, I hear Time passing in the sound of snow.

Ribbons 19:1, Winter 2023

The challenge for this week:  openHALL - no prompt this week.

Give your muse free rein!                               


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.


455 views202 comments



a retroactive wish

ripples through

my soul…

all my past lives

changed for the better

Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Aug 01, 2023
Replying to

A beauty, Susan!


mona bedi
mona bedi
Jul 31, 2023

TP #1

Revised thanks to Firdaus:

Fatal Attraction

I am watching a mosquito buzz around me. It's long proboscis is protruding from the head and it is several times longer than the head itself. As soon as it rests on my arm, I quickly try a fatal swat. It knows my murderous intentions and flies off. As soon as it rests on the wall I smash it with a book. Blood is splattered on my favourite wallpaper. Ah, another bites the dust.

spring tide

my footprints on the sand

get washed away

the tickle of sand lingers

between my toes

Feedback appreciated:)

Fatal Attraction

I am watching a mosquito buzz around me. It's long proboscis is protruding from the head…

mona bedi
mona bedi
Aug 01, 2023
Replying to

Thanks 😊


Billie Dee
Billie Dee
Jul 31, 2023


since diabetes

ate the spindles of your legs

and blindness shuttered

what was left of your mind—why

do I love you all the more


feedback welsome

Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Aug 01, 2023
Replying to

Hi Billie

I really like the feelings this one evokes. I wonder if you might consider this for your L2:

ate your spindly legs

It may not be what you were meaning though.


Unknown member
Jul 31, 2023


love's touch

between bees

and flowers - on a pathless path

the gathering of honey

for unknown users

Feedback most welcome :)

Unknown member
Aug 02, 2023
Replying to

Sure, I would wait for others to weigh-in. ☺

I am glad you like the background image. Thank you.

I can give the intent though. Usually the association of bee and flower is with sex, mostly the Indian thoughts dont see it that way. Ofcourse, globalization is influencing the thoughts now.

The connect between the image and poem is pathless path. Do you think its too far?


Priti Aisola
Priti Aisola
Jul 30, 2023


the moringa tree branches

bend low ...

shaken by his ire

yet she will not cower

Feedback is welcome.

Priti Aisola
Priti Aisola
Aug 01, 2023
Replying to

Thanks a lot, Reid!

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