TANKA TAKE HOME - 29 June, 2022 | poet of the month - Ken Slaughter

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

poet of the month: Ken Slaughter



a honk behind me

as the red light changes

to green…

I’m half a second slower

than my life


TSA Anthology 2015



he went to heaven

the boy tells his brother

both shivering

in suits and ties

beside their father’s grave


Atlas Poetica 13




We had the pleasure of asking Ken a few questions, and he graciously took the time to answer them. The previous questions are in the earlier posts, here’s the final one.


Q6: 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?


Ken: I’m not an editor, but my best advice is to stay true to your lived experience when you are writing. And then pay close attention to how the poem sounds when read aloud. Finally, try to have a strong last line that makes the reader want to reread the poem several times.


As for getting published, remember that a poem isn’t going to be published if the reader can’t understand it. At times you may even have to sacrifice layers of meaning to make your poem accessible. That can be a balancing act. Join a forum and embrace feedback. Save your more challenging poems for a contest. In a contest, you need all the layers possible.



More about Ken:


Ken Slaughter is a tanka poet who also likes to write senryu. He was vice president of the Tanka Society of America for a couple of years. He won the annual TSA contest in 2015. He submits primarily to Ribbons, Gusts, Prune Juice and Failed Haiku. You will see some of Ken’s tanka here in the excellent publication haikuKATHA. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife, and is the proud servant of two one-eyed cats.



Are you inspired?


Challenge for this week: Think of a sound, and what does it remind you of; example: musical, noise, chatter, clatter, call, sounds of nature, there's a plethora of them, open your ears, use it in your poem. See where that takes you.


Give this idea 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. 2. Only two 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 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly magazine.


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