Where Tanka Prose Grows - September 8 to September 30 2014
Welcome to the first round of the tanka prose challenge, 'Where Tanka Prose Grows: 2014'. Susan Burch and I are very excited to kick start this friendly, informal challenge. Before I proceed with details of this challenge, I'd like to welcome veteran tanka poet and guide Ms. Kala Ramesh to write the foreword. Thank you Kala for honoring me with your support and thoughts on tanka prose.
When Amanda requested me to write a brief foreword to her Tanka Prose Challenge, I readily agreed. Not that I’m an expert in tanka prose, just as a mark of appreciation for Amanda and Susan; for their brilliant ideas to encourage tanka and tanka prose.
Now tanka prose is nothing but haibun. It has all the sensibilities and nuances you’ll find in haibun. Hai is taken from haikai no renga, a composition of linked verses in haikai style and bun means sentences. So haibun is prose embedded with haiku. In English, haikai has now come to signify the whole genre of composition that includes haiku, senryu, haibun, and haiga. When poets started to experiment haibun with tanka, there were many serious discussions and talk about how to refer to haibun with a tanka. Soon it became known as Tanka Prose – a nomenclature that gave prose with tanka a distinct flavour and identity. There are some who call it tankabun!
So now we get to: Tanka prose.
It’s tight prose, and follows haikai language to a great extent. I would go so far as to say, that it needs *karumi* [a lightness and transparency] that Basho advised his students to use in haiku. I see things changing now. Poets use forceful, complicated language when writing a haibun or a tanka prose. If you are a student of haiku, you’ll know, it’s easy to be complex, but tough indeed to be simple — a great challenge constantly before us, when we attempt any of the Japanese short form poetry.
The second important point to remember is the relation between prose and tanka. The poem should not be a continuation of the prose passage, but should link yet shift away from the prose. This creates the juxtaposition and a certain void between the two. It is this space between the prose and the poem -- that creates the spark, that connection, which makes the tanka prose a rich experience for your reader.
Have fun! Enjoy this beautiful art form!
Claire Everett, tanka poet, editor of Skylark (An English-language tanka journal dedicated to tanka in all its forms) and tanka prose editor at Haibun Today, has made a generous contribution toward this current round of 'Where Tanka Prose Grows: 2014'. This is what she says:
To show my support I will send a copy of the forthcoming winter 2014 issue of Skylark to the winner and offer publication of their winning piece in the summer 2015 issue of Skylark.
Thank you Claire for your wonderful and generous contribution towards this tanka prose challenge.
Claire recommends potential participants new to tanka prose to read the essays (specific to form, style and composition) by Jeffrey Woodward (the leading expert on English language tanka prose) that are readily available online.
Guidelines for Submission
Distribution of 7 points by participant.
Entry #1 - -
Entry #2 - 3
Entry #3 - -
Entry #4 - 2
Entry #5 - 1
Entry #6 - No rates: Participant's own submission
Entry #7 - 1
For those interested in commenting on the entries, please read 'How to Write a Constructive Review' before commenting.
For more details, contact
Mandy’s Pages Tanka Resources