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TANKA TAKE HOME - 7 Sept, 2022 | poet of the month - Autumn Noelle Hall

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


poet of the month: Autumn Noelle Hall



entanglement the small talk of particles . . .

sticks and stones flesh and bone—all star stuff

all in communion

each caesura in the owls’ elegy a pause to reflect on the wisdom

of forgiveness


(All tanka excerpted (in order of appearance) from Tanka Quartets, a collaborative collection co-authored with David C. Rice (available here)


We had the pleasure of asking Autumn Noelle Hall a few questions, and she graciously took the time to answer them.


Q2: TTH: How did you get started as a poet? What was it about tanka that inspired you to embrace this ancient form of poetry? In short, why do you keep writing tanka.


Autumn: I have a digital copy of a reel-to-reel tape my mom recorded of me singing Puff the Magic Dragon when I was two. Tanka means “short song,” which to me implies that music—at least the kind with words—is essentially pitched poetry. But if you mean page poetry, that Book of Fun and Nonsense I mentioned had me parodying the limerick early on—you know, that long/long/short/short/long five-line poem? Ha! I remember learning about haiku in 5th grade—I liked that it had 17 syllables (another ha!), as 17 was my birthdate and favorite number. In high school, I endeavored, unabashed, to write in the style of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and my favorite, Edgar Allen Poe. One poem I wrote about snow followed the rhythm and rhyme scheme Poe uses in The Bells. Mimicking poets I admired taught me more about writing—and life—than any classroom curriculum. I didn’t discover tanka until I was about 40, and I came to it only circuitously through haibun. But it was definitely love at first sight. After writing free verse poetry for years, the confinement of tanka presented precisely the challenge and discipline I needed. The ability of tanka to simultaneously paint a picture and tell a story, all while capturing and holding emotional content makes it a powerhouse of a poem. As a seasoned cook, I would put forth that writing tanka is much like creating a rich reduction—it is the Bordelaise of poetry. I find that deliciously addictive.


More about Autumn:

For over a decade, Colorado writer Autumn Noelle Hall’s short form poetry has appeared internationally in distinguished literary journals and anthologies, garnering her a reputation for self-aware autobiography, unsparing socio-political commentary, and environmental activism. Living and writing in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, she draws on her natural surroundings and daily interactions with the native flora and fauna—columbine, ponderosa pine, black bears, and mountain lions have all found their way into her poems. From 2016-2018, Hall served as the inaugural Tanka Prose Editor for the Tanka Society of America’s print journal, Ribbons. In 2019, Atlas Poetica published her Special Feature, Turn the Other Cheek: Nonviolent Resistance and Peaceful Protest Tanka. In 2020, her tanka observing the global Covid crisis won first place in Japan’s Fujisan Taisho competition. Her collaborative book, Tanka Quartets, co-authored with long-time Ribbons Editor, David C. Rice, debuted in August of 2020. In 2021, she was honored to serve as co-judge with Don Miller for the annual Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest. Hall currently serves as editor of Ribbons’ Tanka Studio, a member-only-feature following in the 20-year-long tradition of Michael McClintock’s Tanka Cafe, where she places the highest value on authentic, inventive, empowering work.


Challenge for this week:

Such gorgeous tanka by Autumn Hall. Both exquisite; I especially liked the one about forgiveness. How about we write about forgiveness this week?


And remember – tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story.


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.



679 views278 comments

278 Comments


Barbara  Olmtak
Barbara Olmtak
Sep 13, 2022

revised (thank you Reid) :


a gentle wind blows

through the bamboo forest

moving with grace

I bend

but do not break


original :


a gentle wind blows

through the bamboo forest

waves of grace

I bend

but do not break


barbara olmtak, September 13th, 2022

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Barbara  Olmtak
Barbara Olmtak
Sep 14, 2022
Replying to

Wonderful feedback and thank you Reid🌹 That would be a beautiful pivot line describing the bamboo in the wind! which I tried to describe by waves🙃 I'll happily add your suggestion in a revised version.

Thank you very much🌹🌹

II

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Revised with Reid's suggestion:


meandering through the brown lands a dry riverbed what remains in the morning after I have cried all my tears


Original


meandering through the brown lands a dried riverbed what remains in the morning after I have cried all my tears Feedback

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Replying to

Thanks Ken :)

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Sep 13, 2022

Please tell me if this works.

A Braided Tanka prose!


Thanks, Firdaus.

I've taken your suggestion to tighten the prose - but changed Tashi to a girl - you had made her into a boy!!! Is it reading ok now?


Braided tanka prose

Kaala

thoughts


By the time Nandita's dog, Tashi, was diagnosed with cancer, it had spread everywhere.


rough riding on thoughts

The vet gave Tashi between two weeks and six months to live.

a jerky awakening

In less than a month, Tashi stopped eating and took a turn for the worse.

with friends across the border

When Nandita took Tashi to be put down, her pulse was so low that the vet said her dog was holding on just…


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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Sep 14, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, ken. Why don't you try one?

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Revised


the morning edges out of a thrush's song into the chaffinch what I cannot hear is your heart merging with mine


Original:


this morning edges

out of a thrush's song

merging into the chaffinch

but what I cannot hear

is your heart merged with mine


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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Sep 13, 2022
Replying to

Beautiful! I love it all, but your L4/5 really pulls at the heartstrings! Gorgeous!

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the eyes

of grandpa in the mirror

asking me

to forgive myself—

do it for me

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Sep 13, 2022
Replying to

We could all do with a grandpa or grandma in the mirror, championing us on. This is terrific, Ken!

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