To Tanka or not to Tanka

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by naughty, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. naughty

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    Since we have been enjoying Haiku so much I thought it time to branch out into an older form of Japanese verse, Tanka. Here is an article about it . Try your hand at it.


    [FONT=helvetica,verdana,arial][SIZE=+1]What is Tanka?[/SIZE][/FONT] Tanka is the name of an ancient form of Japanese poetry.
    Tanka are 31-syllable poems that have been the most popular form of poetry in Japan for at least 1300 years. As a form of poetry, tanka is older than haiku, and tanka poems evoke a moment or mark an occasion with concision and musicality.
    During Japan's Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) it was considered essential for a woman or man of culture to be able to both compose beautiful poetry and to choose the most aesthetically pleasing and appropriate paper, ink, and symbolic attachment---such as a branch, a flower---to go with it. Tanka were often composed as a kind of finale to every sort of occasion; no experience was quite complete until a tanka had been written about it.

    Tanka have changed and evolved over the centuries, but the form of five syllabic units containing 31 syllables has remained the same.Topics have expanded from the traditional expressions of passion and heartache, and styles have changed to include modern language and even colloquialisms.
    In Japanese, tanka is often written in one straight line, but in English and other languages, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units: 5-7-5-7-7. Usually, each line consists of one image or idea; unlike English poetry, one does not seek to "wrap" lines in tanka, though in the best tanka the five lines often flow seamlessly into one thought.

    English is very different from Japanese, and the first-time writer of English-language tanka may find that his or her tanka are more cumbersome and contain more images than we find in translated Japanese tanka. With practice, though, you will find the form strangely suitable to our relatively nonsyllabic language. Many writers of English-language tanka use less than 31 syllables to achieve the form in English. American Tanka publishes tanka of five lines that are concise and evocative, are true to the purpose and spirit of tanka, and echo the original Japanese rhythm and structure. Please see our Tanka Bibliography for a list of books that contain excellent essays on the tanka form.
     
  2. invisibleman

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    I was wondering when the haikus were going to evolve to the tankas. I had a Writer's Digest article on the Tanka form but I haven't been able to find it. (I have so much stuff.) :smile:
     
  3. naughty

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    Ebay
    My heart races
    As I peek to see
    The thrill of victory
    Or the agony of defeat.
     
  4. invisibleman

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    Hearts of sunshine beat.
    Flickering fireflies flutter.
    Paparazzi jar
    Filled with the light of moonshine.
    Drunk in the pool of moonshine.
     
  5. IntoxicatingToxin

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    I once saw you there
    Moonlight cascading 'round you
    Designed as you were
    To make my heart beat quickly
    Anon, I knew it was love.
     
  6. naughty

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    Tomisoburu-san
    Neither east nor west, Im afraid
    Your father conquered a Shogun
    Your mother WAS Cho Cho
    You met the Atom bomb.
     
  7. invisibleman

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    She took a long, hot
    Bubble bath one Sunday night.
    Water flows in her
    from a hot spigot. She squirts
    More than a Super Soaker.
     
  8. B_Hickboy

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  9. naughty

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    Tatonka
    You were minding your business
    Roaming the plains
    When Kevin Costener
    Showed up
     
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