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TANKA TAKE HOME: 26th June 2024 - Sue Colpitts - poet of the month

Updated: Jun 26

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


June 19, 2024


poet of the month: Sue Colpitts

Biography: Sue came late to writing poetry.  While surfing the web, she read some haiku poetry, dabbled in it and became hooked.  Later she discovered tanka on the All Poetry site ( and took its tanka courses online.  The instructors and fellow poets continue to offer helpful feedback and guidance. She finds inspiration in the poetry from Inuit songs to the Hyakunin Isshu to the poems by contemporary Canadian poets, and from nature.  Her favourite tanka poets include Ono No Komachi and Michael Mclintock.  After reading a great poem like one written by an’ya, she tries different themes and ways to write a tanka.  She feels that experimenting with the form keeps her writing fresh and challenging, and needs to be emotionally inspired to write poetry. In 2011 her first haiku was published in Frogpond.  Since then she has had a variety of oriental poetry published, including haibun, tanka and rengay, in journals and anthologies as well as having haiku chosen to be displayed at the Tucson Haiku Hike and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.  Once an avid country gardener, Sue now lives in a city condo. She has learned to enjoy winter again by writing about snow and not having to shovel. 

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? 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?

SC: After reading a great tanka like one written by an’ya or by another that is different than your usual style or theme, try writing like it . Experimenting with the tanka form keeps your writing fresh and challenging.

Find reputable journals whose tanka resonate with you. Read what the tanka editors of those journals are looking for. Then if you still like what you’ve learned, submit your work to them. And take their advice how to edit your piece. I have done this many times and the feedback is invaluable. Except for the tanka that I post to AllPoetry and receive feedback, writing tanka is a solitary activity. When I feel it is ready, I let it go for publishing.




on the full open mouth

of the river

hard rain

 -Atlas Poetica 26

'round the marsh

willow buds

begin to open

softly, softly

my winter heart

just enough breeze

to ripple the water

cat's paw

- tanka with haiku

Oriental Prism- Yellow Moon Poets

We are deeply grateful to Sue Colpitts for sharing her beautiful poems with us this month. Sue (aka karyl) on has been an important influence in my personal growth as a poet on that site- serving as inspiration as well as being a gentle voice of support and encouragement.


The tanka shared this week are a study in contrasts. The first one is passionate - and it is difficult to separate out nature's passion from human desire, as the two are so intertwined. And the second tanka, paired with a haiku, is a study in delicacy. It almost makes me afraid to breathe in case I disturb the images.

Prompt for this week: Write about passion! Or write about restraint ...

But please, DO NOT write a haiku to follow a tanka, because this page is only for tanka. I happen to love this particular pairing that Sue has shared for its sheer delicacy.

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!




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.


Please check out the LEARNING Archives.

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919 views388 comments


mona bedi
mona bedi
Jul 02

Post #2


creeping sepia —

the pink trumpet vines cling

to worn out walls

I hold close to my heart

warm memories of us

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
Jul 02
Replying to

How beautiful!




she doesn't see

the rabbit holes anymore

I wonder

when the little girl

stopped being Alice

Padma Priya


feedback welcome

(The reference I made was to Alice in the book 'Alice in Wonderland' and I hope it fits the theme)

Replying to

Thank you so much, Kanji. Your words mean a lot to me.


Truly gutted to be saying that I am leaving triveni. It was fun why it lasted, and there truly are some amazing poets here in what I thought was a safe place to workshop; .but to find yet another of my lines from one of mine workshopped here in May 23 published under a members name is somewhat beguiling. Have fun everyone, but watch out for your our stuff being ripped.

Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
Jul 02
Replying to

Dear Kala, I had workshopped a haibun "Wormhole" here on Triveni a while back, and was surprised to see a haibun also titled "Wormhole" recently published in haikuKATHA. I wasn't sure what to make of it except that I don't own said word. So I let it go, and am happy to announce that my haibun has just been accepted for publication elsewhere...


a twisted thigh muscle

brought two months

of suffering ...

the healing made me realise

what kintsugi is all about

Kala Ramesh


feedback welcome

Replying to

Thank you, Suraja.

Feels good


Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
Jun 30

#2 - 1/07/24

pelicans at a lagoon 

lifting off . . .

I soar on the currents 

of warmth you have left 

in your wake

Kanjini Devi, NZ

feedback welcomed

Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
Jul 02
Replying to

Thank you!

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