April 12, 2019
April is National Poetry Month
“Write a Tanka: Part 1”
You CAN write a Japanese Tanka
Writing Assignment #4
Photo: Zen Meditation Garden – designed and created by Bob and Lynda Lambert in The Village of Wurtemburg, in western Pennsylvania. Photo by Lynda McKinney Lambert.
Are you doing anything special for National Poetry Month?
I would love to hear about it.
Do you want to learn about the Japanese tanka?
I never wrote a TANKA poem until April 2015 when I decided to find out what a TANKA is and to write one.
TANKA dates back about 1200 years in Japan.
I had to dig into some research on the Japanese Poetry Form.
What is a TANKA poem?
_originated in Japan.
_ Themes are nature, seasons, romance, sadness, love, strong human emotions.
_ no titles and not numbered!
_should not read like a sentence
_writer uses personification, metaphor, and other allusions
_lyrical intensity gives a sense of a personal and intimate world
_ no capitalization or punctuation
_Fragmentation is highly desirable
What does TANKA look like?
_syllable count. is 5,7,5,7, 7
What else do I need to know to write a TANKA poem?
The 5 lines will be like this:
_Line 1: 5 syllables – Line 1 is one or two concrete personal images. Keep it simple and write from personal experiences.
_Line 2: 7 syllables – Line 2, write a reflection on how you felt or what you were doing or thinking about in the first line’s experiences.
_Line 3: 5 syllables – Line 3 describes thoughts or feelings This is the PIVOT LINE of the poem! It refers back to lines 1 and 2; and ahead to lines 4 and 5. You may have to switch and move lines around to get this working in the poem’s format.
_ Line 4: 7 syllables that combine all five lines of the poem’s images and ideas
_Line 5: 7 syllables that continue to carry out your themes and imagery. This last line is probably the most important line in the poem, and here is where you surprise your reader.
_ IMPORTANT: Lines 4 and 5 must show a REFLECTION but not repeat the first 2 lines of the poem
Remember this: You are NOT WRITING A SENTENCE!
Serious reflection is established with your last 2 lines.
Here is a Tanka poem I wrote in April 2015. It’s my FIRST tanka!
I walked outside in the early morning with my dog.
Rain dampened the earth before we departed on our walk. As we walked through the soft gray mists, rain once again started falling down on us. I put up my red umbrella, and my dog and I continued walking together.
Later, we were home again and I wrote this tanka.
MY FIRST TANKA – in April 2015.
wet red umbrella
cool morning rain and grey mists
tiny lilac buds
we step into soggy grass
rain water soaks our bodies
NOW it is YOUR TURN to WRITE A TANKA!
Writing by Inner Vision Journal – Assignment #4
Using the directions above, create your own Tanka poem!
I would love to read your poem – send it to me or post it in the comments below.
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Copyright, April 2019. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.
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