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TANKA TAKE HOME: 27th December 2023 - Know Your Editors

Updated: Jan 2

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

featured editor: Firdaus Parvez December 27, 2023

This month we decided to go with the theme "Know Your Editors": The people responsible for your poems being published. We hope you enjoy their poems and a little about them and their 'tanka journey'. This week we have me, Firdaus Parvez, with my 'tanka journey' and a few of my favourite poems.

I’m a storyteller – I enjoy churning out tales. Poetry came to me by surprise and I found that I liked writing down my thoughts with line breaks. Initially, it was three-line poetry then, micropoetry, and later, lengthier free verse poems. Haiku and haibun appeared on the horizon when I stumbled across the Triveni facebook page: And then Kala happened. A serendipitous event in my life while the pandemic with lockdowns was taking a toll on the entire world. It was a little reprieve from all the turmoil. I was lucky to attend Kala’s haiku and tanka workshops with Priti and several others, it helped me immensely.

Because I like to multitask, I was also taking haiku and tanka courses on where incidentally I met Suraja. She was my teacher in the advanced haiku course. What a small world. It’s been a privilege and pleasure to work alongside all three of my talented co-editors of TTH. 

I enjoy writing tanka a little more than haiku. It gives me two extra lines to stretch my thoughts. I guess I have a lot to say. But most of all I love workshopping your poems (when I get the time, it’s been a rather busy few months and I’ve been mostly absent; sorry about that). You, my dear members and fellow writers have taught me so much. Your diverse styles have inspired me and enriched my poetic journey. I cannot thank you enough. And along the way I've made some amazing friends. It cannot get any better than this.

Below are some very kind words from my fellow editors which misted my eyes. Girls, you're the best. Thank you!

Kala:  Window of Time

Firdaus is undoubtedly a master storyteller. Blue is the colour of desire, and to me, her choice of words and images is as subjective as a shade of blue! Her "First Cry" brought tears of joy — what a start and what a finish, and "Goodnight" is imagination at its best. I could go on for each piece shared here!

Firdaus' poems are a treat, enjoy them!

Priti: Through simple yet effective words and vividly delineated sense images, Firdaus’ poems explore a wide range of themes: desolateness; hope; cherishing a precious relationship; subtle longing; an elusive fulfillment; physical hurt and emotional turmoil; infliction of pain and abuse; loss and grief; a reckless contamination of one’s environment; sweet, yet complex childhood reminiscences, a charming meeting with one’s own creative work, and so on. Her poems, which can be both endearing and jolting, comforting and unsettling, will stay with me for a long long time.

Suraja: Firdaus is that rare combination of a very gifted poet, a very hardworking person who is light-hearted and yet has an incredibly sensitive and perceptive heart. I'm sure every poet here has benefited from editorial suggestions. Her poetry is beautiful, as you will read below. In addition, her behind-the-scene efforts in keeping this site going is commendable. "She's here! she's there! she's everywhere!" is a fitting mantra for her :). The tanka editorial team enjoys a closeness that has transformed into a friendship (with a lot of humor and laughter), even if most of us haven't met in person. Firdaus is a key person in holding us all together. 

Please read and enjoy the pennings of a very talented poet!


long days

of our childless pairing -

a mango tree

in full bloom

laden with hope

Ribbons, Fall issue, 2022

she drifted away

when dementia deepened

as if memories

were the ones

weighing her down

HM, TSA Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest, 2023 

lovelorn coos

of a mourning dove —

is it just me 

that holds on to little things

like your old coffee cup

haikuKATHA issue 12, October ‘22

again, a reminder

of his passing —

subscription renewal

of another journal

he will never read

haikuKATHA issue 12, October ‘22

like a grain

          of sand

that hurts

the heart of an oyster -

you became my pearl


In Sun Snow & Rain: Tanka Anthology 2022 (BHS)

she knows the shape of his fist



splattered on the sidewalk

in fading light

blue-black shadows stretch

then bend to scale walls                                                                                               


haikuKATHA issue 22, August ‘23

she’s got a pet rock in the drawer

over the years

it slowed its beat

then hardened enough

to not feel —

this rib-caged bird

haikuKATHA issue 23, September '23


First Cry

We walked in silence, he fidgeting with his tie, clearing his throat every now and then, wanting to say something perhaps, I trying to keep up with his stride, swallowing down disappointment, the distance between the clinic and us increasing, knowing it was our last chance. 


the wooden crib

piece by piece

I try to glue together

my broken heart

Years later, the jigsaw puzzle is missing a piece. I’m sprawled on the living room carpet searching for it. His presence fills the doorway, the white crescent of his smile lighting up the room. Our eyes meet and I just know.

a guava tree

lit up with jasmine blossoms

fragrant dawn

as I hold another’s baby close

its breath mingling with mine

CHO, issue 18.2 August, 2022

The Art of Extinction

I fold the square sheet of paper diagonally, pressing in the crease with my thumbnail. This is my first attempt at making a swan. Following the instructions on the origami YouTube video, I must have missed a step because the bird-like thing in my hand has its head facing the wrong way. The paper is too wilted to start over again so I put it aside, deciding it’s a dead swan.

nothing stirs

on the swamp water

for miles

an expanse of dirty green

and patterns of white plastic

CHO, issue 18.1, April 2022

Of Daughters

This time she’s coloured her hair bright blue. She sends me a picture, I wince. It’ll take time to get used to it. I tell her I love it. So she sends it to my mother.

evening breeze

rustles through

another day

gradually turns

into yesterday

CHO, issue 18.1, April 2022

age of time

like a little brook we giggled over smooth rocks, fresh in the woods not aware of the river we’d become or the turbulent seas we’d spill into, brimming with life, drunk on laughter, so careless, so carefree . . . but then, we were young

where are you now

my dearest friend

gone too soon

do you soar galaxies

bathing in stardust 

CHO, issue 19.2, August 2023


I spill some sugar into the sky. It mingles with the stars. Scoops of vanilla clouds gather and strong winds blow sugar dust into our eyes. It doesn't rain, just oozes syrup for weeks, dripping languidly down windowpanes and salty cheeks. 

reading fairytales

in the paediatric ward


all is well and sweet

in the land of dreams                                                                                                    


haikuKATHA issue 23, September ‘23

Magical Places


As a child I had this habit of hiding. Under the bed, in the laundry hamper, inside any nook or corner I could squeeze myself. And I would fall asleep while hiding. My mother spent the better part of the day looking for me. I didn't know why she never liked the game. 


inside the closet

I wander

through my mind

looking for Narnia                                                                                                          


haikuKATHA issue 24, October ‘23


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!

Please also, in case of tanka-art, tell us if it's your own picture or someone else's. We will be unable to accept it otherwise.

Challenge for the week:

Thank you for reading, I'd love to know your thoughts. Each month I look forward to the editor's zoom meeting to discuss the poems collected over the previous month. It's so much fun! Suraja with her quick wit, Priti the ever sweet and gentle presence, and Kala with her wisdom (and she's also very very funny). We've bonded so well over these couple of years that I feel we've become good friends. So, this week's challenge is 'friendship', interpret is as you want or write outside the challenge. Most of all, 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 

Hope you all had a lovely festive season. Wishing you a very Happy New Year from our team. Keep shining. Keep writing.


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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336 komentarzy

Nieznany użytkownik
03 sty

Dearest Firdaus, I only got richer reading your tanka leaves. Thank you for sharing them!

Odpowiada osobie:

Thank you Amrutha:)


Revised ,Thank you so much @Firdaus Parvez

christmas crash —

her memories still alive

in a booklet

the printed whisper

of her boundless love



christmas crash fright

her memories still alive

this printed whisper

of boundless love

forever in each one of us

Feedback welcome

Pradnya Joshi,UK


Hi friends, I’m trying to give feedback on all the poems on this post. It’s quite a few so it’ll take some time. Since the new post is up you can post your fresh poems there now. You have until the 4th of January to edit your poems on this post before I pick them up on the 5th. Thank you for the lovely response to this post. I’m having a great time reading. Hope the new year is a wonderful one for you and yours. ❤️


mona bedi
mona bedi
01 sty

Post #2


Revised thanks to Susan:

from my first love

to the last break up —

always lending an ear

I miss the friend

         my dad was

Feedback appreciated:)

first boyfriend

and the last break up —

always lending a ear

I miss the friend

my dad was

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


mona bedi
mona bedi
03 sty
Odpowiada osobie:

Thanks 😊


Happy 2024!!!!

Odpowiada osobie:

A happy 2024 to all!

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