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TANKA TAKE HOME: 3rd July 2024 - Jenny Ward Angyal- poet of the month

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


July 3, 2024


poet of the month: Jenny Ward Angyal

We were thrilled to feature Jenny in May, 2022 and it is with pleasure we welcome her back on TTH this month. She recently published a book of tanka, we asked her to share more about it. I'm sure you'll be 'spellbound'!


My newest book of tanka, Spellbound, came about because of my dear friend and fellow tanka poet, Joy McCall. (Joy was the Featured Poet on Tanka Take Home in August of 2023, so you can read her story and some of her own poems beginning here.) When Joy was going through one of many challenging times, I told her I wished I could do something to help.  In reply, she asked me to “wave my wand and say a spell.” So I sent her this tanka:

I send you

a honeyberry spell

for healing—

stirred with a hazel wand

and seasoned with love

Joy (who has about 20 books to her credit—she likes books) immediately suggested that I should write a whole book of tanka-spells. I demurred, saying I didn’t think I could come up with enough for an entire book. But over the next several weeks or months, I sent her about a dozen more.  I also began digging through my files and uncovered half a dozen or so suitable tanka and also seven uncollected tanka sequences that seemed to fit the theme. I wove them all together and the result is Spellbound: Tanka Spells and Blessings.

The book begins with this tanka:


an old crone’s book

of spells

to keep a broken world

from being bled of magic

~from ‘A Widening Gyre,’

 red lights 14:1, Jan. 2018


The old crone is an alter ego of mine who sometimes turns up in my tanka, and the poem itself is a sort of credo. We certainly do live in a broken world, but ever since I was a small child I have had an unreasoning, intuitive sense that an unnameable mystery lies at the heart of things. Call it ‘magic,’ if you will, for want of a better word. I firmly believe that one function of poetry is to help us stay in touch with that unspeakable mystery, no matter how things fall to pieces around us.


So Spellbound is a small collection of spells & blessings, dreams & flights of fancy—and just plain fun. I hope it will help keep the magic alive for readers.


Here are a few tanka from the book:


moss grows green

where the stream cuts deep

I seek

a blessing from the roots

that bind it all together


~Wild Voices Anthology # 2, 2018


the echo

of a shaman’s drumming

deep in the forest

the woodpecker working

his magic spell

crowded parchment

on a chestnut twig—

just the place

to scribble runes

and wildwood incantations


between the wings

of a sparrow

and the old oak’s root

. . .  the way home

all night long

the mockingbird shaman


his endless spell . . .

the silver tongue of mystery

a painted turtle

laying her eggs

on the pond bank

I ask her to bless

all the world’s children

the old crone

in her mushroom disguise


from a stump of willow

. . . follow, follow

picking cherries—

what magic did the bees weave


in and out among

these honeyed branches

blackberry blossoms

casting a snow-white spell

over the hedgerow . . .

and over the white-footed mice

                        who wait

white magic—

the daisy / day’s-eye


into the meeting place

of time and eternity

be still and know

the golden-crowned kinglet

that I am . . .

chickadee, titmouse

and gilt-edged leaf

~from ‘Inklings’

Ribbons 20:1, spring/summer 2024

the god

of little green things


down a cattail spike

early morning sun

~Self-Portrait: TSA Members’ Anthology 2021


the river murmurs

an endless song

birthing and blessing

the eddy, the mayfly

            . . . and thee


About Jenny:

Jenny Ward Angyal spent her childhood wandering the woods and fields of rural Connecticut, where she attended a one-room schoolhouse and composed her first poem at the age of five. She spent many years studying and writing about biology, and many more teaching nonverbal children how to communicate. She now lives with her husband and one Abyssinian cat on a small organic farm in central North Carolina. She has two sons and three grandchildren.

Jenny has written tanka since 2008. Her tanka, haiku, tanka-prose and haibun have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. She is the author of five tanka collections: Moonlight on Water, Only the Dance, Earthbound, The Wind Harp, and Spellbound. She is also co-author (with Joy McCall & Claire Everett) of Beetles & Stars: Tanka Triptychs.  All her books are available on Amazon.

Jenny co-edited (with Susan Constable) the Tanka Society of America’s 2016 Members’ Anthology, Ripples in the Sand. She served for over five years as Reviews and Features Editor of Skylark: A Tanka Journal and for two years as Tanka Editor of Under the Bashō. She is currently a Global Moderator of Inkstone Poetry Forum.

Prompt for this week:

It's indeed a book of spells. I've read it several times and each time I was enthralled by the magic Jenny has woven with her words. Do check it out, it's available on amazon for free (kindle). Let us know your thoughts about the tanka shared. Your prompt word is MAGIC! You may write outside the prompt too. 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

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!



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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9/7/24 tanka-prose



Somewhere a song thrush sits in the sunlit woodland. Its repeating melody shapes this misty morning into one of reminiscence. The long grasses tickle my bare legs as bumblebees appear and disappear along the path. I sense the quiet gaze of a muntjac deer, until something makes it run. In dappled shade, the enchanted tapestry of a forest floor…


under a spell

a piece of parchment


the first full moon

of spring

C.X. Turner, UK

(feedback welcome)

Replying to

Enchanting, such beautiful imagery.


mona bedi
mona bedi
Jul 09

Tanka Prose ( a bit off prompt)


The Journey

I never thought we would laugh on the trip to Haridwaar to immerse our mother’s ashes. It’s just us three sisters. We recall how we played hide and seek I dozed off in the closet.

Sometimes it is good not to have the glaring dominance of a brother in the family.

Our driver carries an expression of surprise and disgust. What kind of people laugh on such an occasion”? his thoughts speak to me from across the drivers seat. Little does he know that we haven’t eaten for the past so many days. He is unaware of the fact that our tears have dried. He cannot imagine that the thre…

Jul 11
Replying to



#! (Tanka Prose)




I am stuck.

Lost in the deep jungle.

All around me are tangles of thick, dense foliage, mocking at me and making it difficult for me to move forward. I hear growls and bays coming from a distance.


From every sinew of my body, fear oozes—a feeling of being trapped in this unexpectedly deep wilderness. I walk in circles around the same places, just to come back to the spot where I was trapped initially. I finally let go of all my resistance to wherever I was, sit down and listen to the night forest, and watch the fireflies dance between the shrubs and trees. 

in the silence

of a dark night


Replying to

Thank you so much Joanna. Glad that you liked it.


Loved reading Jenny's tanka. Thank you, dear hosts. Trying one after a long, long time. Do share your feedback.


crystal bracelets

spread out on the terrace waiting ...

will the moon

ever sprinkle that magic potion

to heal my body and soul ?


Wow! This first tanka is so lovely, in fact all of these are so amazing that I am already under their spell. Thank you so much, tanka hosts for featuring Jenny Angyal here. Will try to find this book in Amazon

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