Winners of the Annual Tanka Contest 2016

My heartiest congratulations to the winners who made it to the top at this year's Annual Tanka Contest at Mandy's Pages. My gratitude goes out to all the contestants who participated and to the excellent judge, Christine L. Villa,  who helped complete this tanka contest. Extra thanks goes out to Pamela and Debbie who have contributed towards the prizes.  


The First Place winner receives USD 100.00 along with a certificate and the various books / journals listed here.

Poet Pamela A. Babusci awards the first prize winner a copy each of Moonbathing #13 and A Solitary Woman

Blue Butterfly Bags sponsors a personalized tanka bag for the first prize winner. 

Christine L. Villa, judge at this tanka contest, awards the First Place winner with a copy of her newest release, The Bluebird's Cry, a collection of Japanese short form poetry.

Debbie Strange, (with a surprising twist of events) has contributed copies of Bright Stars 1 Tanka Anthology, and also her book, Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads, published by M. Kei in 2015.

The Second Place Winner receives USD 50 + a certificate.

The Third Place Winner receives a certificate.

Winners of the Annual Tanka Contest 2016




each moment

here on earth is numbered . . .

so why not

fly too close to the moon,

and hang our hats on stars?


Debbie Strange

Winnipeg, Canada 



I chose this as the winner because I wanted to base my decision on originality, freshness, and  authenticity. The poet’s writing style is utterly captivating! The serious tone of the first two lines pivots in the phrase, “so why not.” The mood that follows is somewhat childlike, evoking a sense of adventure and imagination. Isn’t that how we should enjoy life? We should take risks, dream big, have fun! With the use of the s/l/s/l/l form, this tanka gives you a heartwarming ending with some dreaming space.




the verdant hills

of his childhood

he scratches

his growing

bald spot


Billy Antonio

Laoac, Philippines


The poet’s perfect choice of metaphor proves that humor can be used effectively in tanka. The verdant hills implies lushness which is in contrast to his growing bald spot. To emphasize the decreasing loss of hair, words are placed in descending order. A hint of annoyance about the poet’s aging is implied with the word “scratch”, but using humor in this tanka shows us his/her acceptance of this human condition. I enjoyed the surprise ending. Brilliant tanka!




after tea

I linger in the garden

this summer day

held tight by sunlight

and the scent of honeysuckle


Barbara Kaufmann



This breathtaking tanka has a lasting effect on me because of the lovely choice of words. The “s” sounds in “summer,” “sunlight,” “scent of honeysuckle” has a soft, soothing effect. It makes me “linger” longer to feel the “sunlight” and smell the “scent of honeysuckle.” The use of the phrase “held tight” elevates the tanka. For a moment, I feel like I am entranced, absorbed in the present, and in one with nature. I also wonder what the poet is thinking as he/she lingers in the garden. A well-crafted tanka that naturally falls into the s/l/s/l/l structure.

(Christine L. Villa)