Sanford Goldstein was professor of English at Purdue University and when he retired as Professor Emeritus from Purdue, he continued as professor at Keiwa College in Japan, where he now lives. Sanford recently retired from teaching and after a brief holiday in the United States he moved into a new house he has had built in Japan. He has collaborated on books of tanka translations and continues to write tanka, poetry, and critical essays. He began writing tanka in and his first collection, This Tanka World , was published by the Purdue Poets Cooperative Press in He has long been recognised as the English-language authority on tanka and was judge of the first Mirrors International Awards in I see across a bare field.
Tanka: Japanese Poetry
A Quick Start Guide to Writing Tanka
Welcome to the MTB session! Today we are exploring the Tanka. I know many of us write tanka but do we really know how to write it and its history? Tanka is one of the earliest of Japanese poetic forms. It shows up in the early eight century!
Examples of Tanka Poetry
Tanka, the 5-line lyric poem of Japan is quickly becoming popular in the English-language poetry community. Like haiku, its shorter cousin, tanka usually is well-grounded in concrete images but also is infused with a lyric intensity and intimacy that comes from the direct expression of emotions, as well as from implication, suggestion, and nuance. If you already write haiku and have ever wanted to add commentary to your verses, tanka is the form for you!
E, and are still written and published in hundreds of groups dedicated to the study and use of the form. In the last twenty years more persons outside of Japan are discovering the marvels of tanka and trying their hand at this short form which is the grandmother of haiku. In Japanese the tanka, though written in one or two lines, is actually made up of five phrases that contain either five or seven sound units for a total of Since these sound units are much shorter than our English syllables, and to more closely approximate the look and sound of a Japanese tanka, we give each phrase one line and to keep the shape, make our lines, short, long, short, long, long. You may already recognize that beginning of a tanka looks just like a haiku and the two forms are related in many ways.