Tanka Hangout Submission Guidelines

Welcome to the Tanka Hangout

A meet-up place for members to share tanka.

Submissions are open to all members of the Tanka Society of America. If you’re not currently a member, and would like to participate, please see How to Join or Renew. Ken Slaughter, the editor of the Tanka Hangout, will select sixty to ninety of the best poems to be published in each issue of TSA’s journal, Ribbons.


Each edition of Tanka Hangout seeks tanka inspired by a prompt, presented here and in Ribbons.

For the Fall/Winter 2024 issue

(submissions due by June 30, 2024)

Poetry: If you love writing about poetry, and about the process of writing, this prompt is for you. Think about your own creative journey, or about poems written by others. You might write a tanka about a poetic song or even about a songwriter, such as Bob Dylan.

For the Spring/Summer 2024 issue

(submissions due by January 31, 2024)

Relationships: Write a tanka about a human relationship of any kind: love, marriage, divorce. It could be a relationship with a sibling, a parent, or a friend. You could even write about someone you have worked or volunteered with.

For the Fall 2023 issue

(submissions due by August 31, 2023)

Tribute poems: The leading pioneer of English-language tanka, Sanford Goldstein, passed away May 5, 2023, at the age of 97. Dr. Goldstein, or Sandy (as he was called by most who knew him), was influential as both a tanka poet and as a translator of modernist Japanese poets. For this issues theme, we invite members to submit tribute poems honoring Sanford Goldstein. Or, if you prefer, write a tribute tanka to someone who was a seminal influence in your personal life. As Tanka Hangout will be presented in two sections, please indicate which option you’ve chosen.

For the Spring/Summer 2023 issue

(submissions due by April 30, 2023)

her row veering off,

the peasant woman plants

toward her crying child


Compassion: Issa is known for his poems about insects, but here we see his compassion for a poor peasant woman and her child. Please consider how this poem moves you to reflect on your own experiences. You might focus on an encounter with a stranger, on a mother–child relationship, or on any experience that moves you with compassion for another sentient being.

For the Winter 2023 issue

(submissions due by December 31, 2022):

Music: Few experiences in life can evoke such strong emotions as hearing a favorite song or melody. Sometimes just a snippet of an old song can trigger a long-buried memory. Tanka itself has musical qualities—as we know, in Japanese “tanka” means “short song.” For the next issue, write about an experience you have had with music—any music you choose. Can you make the poem itself sing?


Members are invited to send one original, unpublished tanka on the assigned prompt for each edition of the Tanka Hangout. Restrictions are few, and almost any treatment of the tanka form is acceptable, but please submit your very best effort. The tanka will be read for thematic content, the depth and layering of meaning (often called “dreaming room”), vivid imagery, and suggested emotion. Any comments that accompany your submission may also be considered, in part or in full, for publication, but please be sure your tanka does not rely on these comments.

Send your single tanka submission, in the body of an email, to Ken Slaughter at tsahangout@outlook.com with the subject heading “Tanka Hangout.” He will acknowledge receipt of all email submissions, and if your poem is selected for publication in Tanka Hangout, he will notify you within a month after the submission deadline.

We prefer email submissions, but you may also submit by postal mail:

Ken Slaughter, Tanka Hangout Editor

24 Briarwood Circle

Worcester, MA 01606 USA

Please, include your full name as you wish it to appear beneath the poem, followed by your town or city of residence and its location (state/province and country).

In-hand submission deadlines are as follows:

Member’s Choice Tanka

In each issue, the Tanka Hangout honors one poet with the Member’s Choice Tanka award of $25, chosen from tanka published in the previous issue. The winner is invited to select the next Member’s Choice Tanka and commend another two or three, offering comments on the tanka and the reasons for choosing them.