TANKA TAKE HOME - 26th October 2022 | poets of the month - the 4 editors!

Updated: Oct 26

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


poet of the month: the FOUR EDITORS of Tanka Take Home


26th October -

Kala Ramesh will be our featured poet this week! Instead of my bio, I'm adding this link to Poetry Pea Patricia's chat with me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mlnWOIQwZY



Here are two tanka-prose and a tanka-art Inward Flowering


My faith in religion began to waver. I often wondered, ‘What is that oneness that I’ve read about in Advaita, the Hindu philosophy that speaks of all things as one undivided whole — that blade of grass, that mountain, you and me, all one pulsating consciousness?’

in a search to know more about this life japa mala and prayer books cease to be my companions

For me, music had always been a passion from the earliest time I could remember. Now, after being a homemaker for over a decade, I turned to music to find myself, realizing that the many conflicting roles I had to play in life were blurring my persona. I first discovered Kumar Gandharva at a music shop in Mount Road. I’d never heard of him before . . . but I loved his voice and his style instantly. I bought his LP of Marathi stage songs without knowing that language and went home. That was the Chennai of 1975.

this dive again and again . . . the eagle perfecting her swoop for the nth time

After marriage, I found a perfect guru. But, as I often quipped, she was too perfect for me! Under her guidance, I began to explore ragas such as Kalyan, Bhimplasi, Lalith, and Marva, for Indian classical music is based on ragas or melodies, hundreds of them. Each day, each minute, the joy of discovery was overwhelming. For two years I practiced ‘mukha bandhi’ — singing with one’s mouth shut as an exercise to activate the resonators from the ‘nabhi’ or navel. For hours I practiced — each note, each nuance, repeating it a hundred times to get it right. I soon realized that hitting that perfect note each time is not easy. Kumar ji once said that finding the correct spot is like a razor’s edge; if you swerve either left or right, you’ll fall. But once you are on that note completely and squarely, then that note opens out for the singer to lie on — it becomes broad. He called it ‘shunyata’ — the void.

reaching Saurkundi Pass in the Himalaya — our layers stripped away until truth stands alone



Contemporary Haibun Online – 16:3

December 2020




The Artist


thirty years

just painting

lilies ...

a story behind each stroke

of Monet's white paint


Maya remembers her first concert, which she performed ten years back and which is still as fresh as the breath she inhales: She begins with a slow composition in raga Shyam Kalyan. As she unfolds each note and works around the permutations and combinations of the raga, she sees heads nodding; she’s eager to give her best. Her glides with sweeping gamaks turn out well. Her fast passages quicken the pulse of the audience. That perfect note, which when she was a student seemed like a razor’s edge, suddenly flattens out like a tabletop. Sprawling and vast is the space. Her play with the lyrics and the synchronisation of the raga with the rhythmic cycle all blend into one whole, coming together effortlessly. It is an open-air auditorium and seems as if the night has turned into an inverted stage, with stars keeping the beat. She feels each note run through her fingers, like touching good old mother earth. The warmth lends to one’s being. The expansive freedom yields more space within and without.


Maya takes a fresh, deep breath and holds a high note in perfect pitch, balance, and rhythm. The tabla player, her percussionist, nods his head. A deep surge of emotion blinds her vision. Her eyes close, disconnecting her from the world around her while she remains alive to the void that fills her being.


with feet

pushing the ground,

she takes wing . . .

the sky of a thousand ragas

draws her in like magic



Contemporary Haibun Online – 16:3

December 2020



MacQueen's Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature. May 2022


I am adding one more tanka-art Just got published recently in cattails - Oct 2022


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Challenge for this week: Write from your memory. Write about your inner struggles. Or write about some art form you pursue. What does 'silence' mean to you?

Have you ever thought of bringing 'texture' into your writing? How do we do it? Painters can easily show texture in their brush strokes. A musician, we all know, can get a texture to her voice. In drama - the actor shows texture through body language. How do you show texture in writing, in poetry? Can you try it? It is difficult.

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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 PLEASE NOTE 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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