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