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after you left
a winter sparrow fluttered
across your path–
its song too high
for the human ear

Jeanne Emrich 

in the vase
on the lavender table
two stems of iris
someone has moved them
closer together
Margaret Chula

moonlit night
in the bamboo forest
a child god
transforms into a badger
to summon his mother

Mariko Kitakubo

Welcome! Learn here about the lyric poem of Japan known as tanka (waka), now becoming one of the most popular and versatile short forms of poetry in English.

What is Tanka?

About Tanka and Its History
   by Amelia Fielden
From the Man'yoshu to Contemporary Tanka
   by Mariko Kitakubo

Learn to Write Tanka

A Quick Start Guide to Writing Tanka

   by Jeanne Emrich
Notes on Form, Techniques, and Subject Matter
   by Michael McClintock
A Tanka Repair Kit
   by Jeanne Emrich
My Tanka Path
   by Tom Clausen
Distilling Experience
   by Maggie Chula
Tanka as Diary
   by Amelia Fielden

Learn by Example

Tanka Diary Style
Travel Tanka
Tanka as Personal Reflection
Writing in a Persona
Tanka of Allusion
Tanka as Elegy or Banka
Tanka Inspired by a Poem
Minimalist Tanka

Our Tanka Gallery

Tanka Online Guest Poets--Interviews & Articles

Drops from Her Umbrella—Laura Maffei
Between Us—Beverley George
A Harvest of Words—Carol Purington
Cigarette Butts and Lilacs—Andrew Riutta
A Song in the Air—Kala Ramesh
Writing Inside Out—Kathy Kituai
Another Layer of Intimacy—Karen Cesar

A Few Good Books on Tanka Literature

The Tanka Online Archives

The Tanka Online Bookstore

About Us

halving fruit
my second husband's
way of love . . .
hard to change habits
so late in life

Amelia Fielden

wind outside the mall
and as I wait
with my eyes closed
a killdeer calls
from another life

Tom Clausen

I've this memory
riding my father's shoulders
into the ocean,
the poetry of things
before I could speak

Michael McClintock

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