I’ve said it before: If you write tanka–or have been considering writing tanka–the Tanka Society of America is a great resource. Not only does this membership group publish a tri-annual journal (Ribbons) it also provides a sense of community and support for writers of this five-line form. In addition to its journal and annual contest, for example, the society recently announced the resumption of a members’ anthology set to be published in the fall of this year. (The last members’ anthology was published in 2009.)
M. Kei, editor and publisher of Atlas Poetica, has agreed to edit the 2014 anthology–with a complimentary copy to be mailed to current TSA members, who (between now and April 30) may send from 5-10 unpublished tanka to be considered for inclusion in the book. For more information–on both joining the Society and submitting to the members’ anthology–visit TSA’s website.
Ah, February . . . the shortest month but not the cruelest. This year, once again, I’m joining other haiku enthusiasts in the online challenge to create 28 (hopefully halfway decent) haiku from prompts provided by National Haiku Writing Month founder Michael Dylan Welch. And, once again, I’ll be trying my hand (with the help of online translators and my pocket Cassell’s) at translating my daily haiku into French for the NaHaiWriMo en français Facebook site led by the inimitable bilingual poet and artist Jessica Tremblay. (This year there’s even a new site for Bulgarian poets to share in the month-l0ng haiku frenzy.)
As many already know, the NaHaiWriMo site went viral a few years ago when participants decided they wanted to keep the daily prompts going year-round. But the site really soars in February when slackers (like me) return to the fold that has become a tight-knit group of writers willing to whet their haiku skills on the prompts MDW provides his fold. All month long, the prompts will, appropriately, center on words that start with the alphabet’s second letter “B”. Today’s word: “Banjo.” And here’s my first (of 28) responses:
bound for glory . . . lié pour la gloire . . .
one last time he strums the strings une dernière fois, il gratte les cordes
of his old banjo de son vieux banjo
for “Pete” pour “Pete”
the cherry master
nurtures each tree like a child
one by one without question
to the wind, to the world
red lights 10:1, January 2014
This week I, along with other members of the haiku community, learned of the sudden, unexpected death of Kat Creighton. Kat was a photographer as well as a poet, combining words and images to create the poetic form known as haiga; her work, which often focused on the landscape of the Jersey Shore that she knew and loved, was featured in online journals like haiga online and A Hundred Gourds during the past several years. (Click on links for examples; or visit Kirsten Cliff’s blog Swimming in Lines of Haiku to read the beautiful, collaborative tanka sequence the two of them wrote called “Uncharted Depths.”)
Like others who knew Kat only through the virtual world, I’ve found some of her poems particularly haunting in light of her recent passing. (The day before her death, for example, she posted a haiku about the “three quarter moon” and the impossibility of distinguishing “what is/from what isn’t”.) And, like others who knew Kat far better, I too will miss her voice, her vision, and her presence in this world.
so many empty chairs
touched by moonlight
A Hundred Gourds 1:1, December 2011
Posted in A Hundred Gourds, Haiga, Haigaonline, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Kat Creighton, Moon
Tagged A Hundred Gourds, Haiga, haigaonline, Haiku, Kat Creighton, Kirsten Cliff, Moonlight, Tanka
I lie awake listening
for the sound
of your footsteps, your breath . . .
the heavy stillness of life
Fire Pearls 2: Short Masterpieces of Love and Passion
In tribute to the first new moon of the New Year, and all the loved ones we also may briefly have lost sight of:
. . . Camera-in-hand, I stand, watching, waiting, thinking I might capture some long-lost image; that through some magic transformation of the eye, my lens might transpose the house I see before me for the house my father, his father, his father’s father and mother once filled with sound and life. I close my eyes and try to imagine the swell of stringed instruments rising and falling under rosined bows that covered the parlor’s chairs with the fine, soft dust of music. . . .
ghost moon . . .
the three-quarter time
of a lost generation
(from ”Three-quarter Time,” A Hundred Gourds 3:1, December 2013)
Posted in A Hundred Gourds, Family, Haibun, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Moon, New Year
Tagged A Hundred Gourds, Family, Haibun, Haiku, Moon, Night sky
dark of the moon . . .
she resolves to take a walk
on the wild side
Today marks not just the first day of a new year but also a new “super” moon (the first of two this month) that has the distinction of revealing the moon’s “dark side.” With that in mind, I’ve resolved to let my wild side loose a little more often than I did in 2013. I think that’s a good thing, and I’m looking forward to where it might take me in the year ahead.
Happy New Year 2014! May it be filled with hope and joy . . . and more than a little wildness!
the visiting cat comes
out of hiding
A Hundred Gourds 3:1, December 2013
he calls it poignant
when I hang ornaments
on our front porch . . .
looking for company
long days after Christmas
Fire Pearls 2: Short Masterpieces of Love and Passion
long night moon
he traces figure eights
on my shoulders
the sorrows of yesterday
. . . light as a swan’s feather
Skylark 1:1, Spring 2013
Posted in Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Moon, Skylark, Tanka
Tagged Birds, Haiku, Love, Moon, Skylark: A Tanka Journal, Solstice, Tanka, Winter