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Tanka Sunday a Great Success

posted Aug 27, 2013, 11:26 AM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Aug 27, 2013, 11:27 AM ]
More than 30 people attended the Tanka Society of America's "Tanka Sunday" event on August 18, 2013 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Margaret Chula welcomed everyone, and Michael Dylan Welch gave a short history of the society, focusing primarily on its founding and early days. David Rice then led a tanka-writing workshop, inviting poems written at the workshop to be considered for the next issue of Ribbons. Michael then chaired the "International Views of Tanka" panel discussion, which began with Steve Carter talking about the HNA tanka program in Japan. Amelia Fielden discussed tanka activity in Australia, where this poetry seems to have more active writing groups than in the United States. Marilyn Hazelton then described the U.S. tanka scene, observing that American tanka seemed to focus on instances of transformation. Next was Kozue Uzawa, who summarized the tanka scene in Canada. After this we all gathered on the ship's deck outside our meeting room for a group photo taken by Michael (photo coming soon), then we had a short TSA business meeting and discussion of future directions, led by Maggie. Our keynote presentation from Professor Carter came next, with his focus on the engaging poems of 17th-century poet Kinoshita Choshoshi, complete with handouts of Carter's new translations of this negelected tanka iconoclast. After a dinner break, we reconvened for an evening of tanka readings by Kathabela Wilson and Tanka Poets on Site, Terry Ann Carter, Amelia Fielden, Peggy Heinrich, and Kozue Uzawa. Margaret Chula and Mariko Kitakubo performed their tanka in both Japanese and English, and Michael Dylan Welch and Steven D. Carter read their translations of Japanese tanka. Maggie also read the results of the 2013 TSA tanka contest (results will be posted here soon), and the top three poems were interpreted in a dance by Genie Nakano. After this festive reading, many participants headed to one of the Queen Mary's bars for continued socializing. It was a superb event, and we hope we can do it again soon.