TSA Contest

Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

In 2015 the Tanka Society of America renamed its annual contest after Sanford Goldstein, the foremost pioneer of English-language tanka, a scholar and translator of tanka, and a widely respected tanka poet. The Tanka Society of America held its first tanka contest in 2000, the year the society was founded, and has held the contest annually since then. Each year two judges are invited to select winning tanka submitted by members and nonmembers alike. The judging process is anonymous, and has resulted in honoring a fine selection of poems over many years. Starting in 2021 we made the contest free to enter. This page presents the following information: 

Dr. Sanford Goldstein was born in 1925, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, America’s oldest literary society, in 1949. He was promoted to professor of English at Purdue University in 1971, where he taught until he retired. He was also a professor at Niigata University in Japan from 1953 to 55, from 1964 to 66, from 1972 to 74, and from 1987 to 89. In 1993 he retired to Japan, where he helped to establish a new university. At Purdue he said he would still be teaching, but Japanese professors retire at 80—he was 88 when they “fired” him. Goldstein passed away in May of 2023. In addition to many books of his own tanka, his books of tanka translations include Akiko Yosano’s Tangled Hair, Takuboku Ishikawa’s Sad Toys, Mokichi Saito’s Red Lights, Shiki Masaoka’s Songs from a Bamboo Village, and Ryokan’s haiku and tanka. To learn more about Sanford Goldstein, please see “Spilling Tanka: An Interview with Sanford Goldstein,” conducted by Patricia Prime in 2004, first published by the TSA. See also “Sanford M. Goldstein Eulogy,” by Dave Goldstein. Read more about Sanford Goldstein at AHA Poetry. Also see his books on Amazon.