Book Review: January, A Tanka Diary, by M. Kei

January, A Tanka DiaryBook Name: January, A Tanka Journal

Author:  M. Kei

Genre: Poetry, Tanka

Hardcover: 300 pages

Published in 2013

ISBN 978-0615871561 (Print)

Also available for Kindle.



Short Review: Passionate expressions of extraordinary in the ordinary, of life in the inanimate and  words for the silent.

The New Year has set in, a month has gone by, and you have promised yourself many changes.  You have made resolutions you hope to fulfill. On the other hand, should you? Should you make promises that you know you might never bring to fruition? In ‘January, A Tanka Diary’, Kei poetically captures the New Year thoughts in this opening tanka …


a fresh leaf

white in the winter

of a new year;

it seems a shame

to mar it with words


January, A Tanka Diary’ is the latest poetic collection by internationally acclaimed poet, M. Kei.   In this volume, Kei creates a journal of his inspirational moments through the outlets of five-lined tanka.

From pensive to intuitive, forlorn to upbeat, this beautifully-crafted work of art voices our very thoughts aloud. Have you been wondering about the universe? Kei shares your mood when he says…


there are times

when I know

the secrets of the universe;

but never when

I am awake


With experiences from January to December of 2007, Kei takes the reader through the ins and outs of daily life, of love, of illness, of wonderment, and of genuine appreciation for the objects of beauty that we take for granted. This may be a tombstone, or a flock of cardinals, a Stradivarius or the voices of women talking into their cell phones. With skill and passion, he captures the extraordinary in an ordinary, taken-for-granted moment in this tanka … 


an afternoon

as ordinary as


but two lovers

pose forever 


I have personally loved his expression of emotion that many experience, one that nature experiences too. You feel it.  Kei writes it. 


a migraine,

a pill,

a sweltering afternoon,

clouds without rain,

days without love 


There are many tanka that speak to me on a poetic level; on the way Kei has blended metaphors and similes to create strong imageries, but it would be amiss if I did not stress on the wisdom and poignant moments he wishes to share through this year-long journal. 

I do believe you will be able to connect with one or another of the tanka in this diary. I recommend ‘January, A Tanka Diary’ for the creative, artistic and passionate book that it is.  You will enjoy it as much as I have.