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TANKA TAKE HOME: 27th March, 2024 Kathabela Wilson - poet of the month

Updated: Mar 31

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


March 27, 2024


poet of the month: Kathabela Wilson



a long time

for love

at first sight

Mt Fuji


Bright Stars, Vol 5, 2014


fuji fuji

at first sight the sound

of a small bird

for me it is the voice

of this mountain


First Prize in the 2017 Fujisan Taisho contest.


clear summer evening

getting ready for

the great ball

Mt. Fuji

puts on her red dress


Ekphrastia Gone Wild, Rick Lupert ed., 2013


taking off my robe

a little shyly first time

at the hotsprings

I try to think

like Mt Fuji


Bright Stars, Vol 5, 2014


my cup half-full

is broken

like the moon

I seal it with the gold ink

of my poems


Moonbathing 15, 2016

(Winner) moonbathing contest 2016


We are deeply grateful to Kathabela for sharing her beautiful poems and thoughts with us.


Bio-note: Kathabela Wilson was born into a poetic family. Her father a poet and writer, journalist, read her The Great Poems of the English Language as bedtime stories. Her Maltese mother, born in Cairo in an international community, spoke 5 languages was a creative artist. Her first poem at 5 years old is memorable, and carries her sense of wonder: ‘Oh the moon, oh the sun oh the stars’. She found Asian poems in her childhood books, fell in love, and later traveled to Japan and other Asian countries about 10 times, with her mathematician flute player husband Rick Wilson,  developing strong ties and inspiration. He continues to accompany her in all performances, in the spirit of tanka as a little song. She "realized" she was writing tanka in about 2010, and has been deeply in love ever since. She has published a tanka chapbook, and shared tanka over the years in many international journals. She traveled to Japan in 2018 to receive the First Place Fujisan Taisho award in person.  She is Secretary for Tanka Society of America for 8 years, loving the community of poets. She founded and leads her own group of "Poets on Site" since 2008.



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?


Kathabela: I created the group Poets on Site. As a way for poets to share experiences and responses poetically. For me, sharing is primary and generative.  By going to a place together and writing, and sharing our tanka, we enter together inside the kaleidoscope.  I do this virtually every day, hosting meetings of poets and many poets begin to write tanka by exposure and recognize their own genuine voice.


I have shared this way for years, hosting live meetings. The pandemic led us to zoom, sharing virtually but still informally. So all our voices remain vital. For me this community sharing is essential. Triveni does this too!


We also constantly write and publish collaboratively! The joining of voices takes both beyond and deeper into ourselves! And yet within that context I feel the pull within, while I write … to touch the place where silence turns to song.


Tanka is a little song, and we must sing it. Each in our own genuine earnest voice.


I also love the music of life. My husband plays flutes from his extensive collection at our meetings and during every performance. Ours is a primary, essential collaboration.


My book Figures of Humor and Strange Beauty is an exploration of this experience,  search and discovery, with others and in nature and alone. It is in free verse, as I originally wrote it. But it has the songfulness of tanka and all of the poems can be presented and some have been published in tanka prose form.

Prompt for this week: Mt. Fuji is at the center of four of Kathabela’s tanka. Enjoy her intensely personal, unique response to the mountain expressed in simple, yet evocative words.


We invite you to write tanka about your memorable experience of, and response to, any form in nature and, as you do so, move within yourself ‘to touch the place where silence turns to song’. (Kathabela’s lovely words.)


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.


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502 comentarios

Dear Kathabela, I enjoyed my travel this month. Despite mostly being indoors, I was outdoors. Thank you for guiding us into the beauty of nature.

Team Triveni, thank you for sharing Kathabela. :)

Me gusta



a landscape

with paddy sprouts

besides a tile-thatched hut

beneath cloud's soft shower

i tiptoe into heart's beats

Feedback most welcome :)

Me gusta
Contestando a

A beautiful, rich tanka, with wonderful imagery Amrutha. Would you consider some slight changes:

a landscape

with paddy sprouts

the tile thatched hut

beneath cloud's soft shower

I tiptoe into heartbeats

Me gusta

mule deer

gather as themeadow

fills with smoke

by the radio we wait

for word on evacuation

Linda Papanicolaou, US

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Contestando a

The nuances shift and emerge in interesting ways as I read and re-read... "gather as the meadow" on one line, "smoke / by the radio" without an overt kireji... the parallel of the people and the mule deer so strong that it seems the mule deer are waiting for instructions. Very nice.

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the first sunrise

after leaving

my country 

twittering birds

instead of gunfire

Susan Burch, USA

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Contestando a

Powerful and beautiful Susan, L5 leaves so much room for thought.

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mona bedi
mona bedi
01 abr



Revised thanks to Shawn:

Once a Princess

After tossing and turning in bed I finally get up. Each part of my body aches. I shiver with fever. Popping a pill I go back to bed, slowly drifting off to sleep. Time and again throughout the night I call out to mom. I long for her soft hands to gently caress me.

rainstorm —

slowly murmuring

the lullabies

from my childhood

I soothe myself to sleep

Feedback appreciated:)

Mona Bedi


Once a Princess

After tossing and turning in bed I finally get up. Each part of my body aches. I shiver with fever. Popping a pill I slowly drift into sleep. Time and again throughout the night I…

Me gusta
mona bedi
mona bedi
02 abr
Contestando a