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New Form? Linked Tanka and Haiku!

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  • New Form? Linked Tanka and Haiku!

    I was happy to publish this sequence by Mariko Kitakubo and Deborah Kolodji in the linked forms section of Under the Basho, hopefully they won't mind my posting it here, I was hoping we could have some discussion on it. I think it really works well and is an excellent example of strong tanka in English, and an interesting experiment with what could be a new form if other people pick it up and try to play around with it. Mariko is a tanka poet predominantly, and Deborah a haijin, so them sticking to their respective strengths gives the sequence a nice call and response feel. It's unique and appealing to me. I hope some of you are inspired to try doing linked sequences between tanka and haiku, it has a very different feel from normal linked verse, but a lot of possibilities, I would say.

    Distance 2020

    of Tokyo appear
    in my dream . . .
    a storm coming through
    verdant freshness

    heat lightning
    the faces of those
    I love

    for my favorite
    earring . . .
    voices in
    an empty shell

    volunteer tomatoes
    the way my life
    used to be

    sun whispers
    to my wings
    is the rainbow
    after green showers

    darker skies
    and yet . . . tadpoles
    in the puddles

    of unfinished lives
    we were
    born from water
    undying melody

    distant galaxies
    the infinite music
    of stars

    a comet
    brought me
    the memory
    of blue inlet
    before my birth

    shaky first steps
    a baby’s
    mine after surgery

    when and
    how many times
    reborn anew
    in the Milky Way

    a ray of dawn
    across my pillow. . .

    the long darkness
    are falling—
    resurrection horizon

    empty churches
    we hold virtual hands
    in online meetings

    Mariko Kitakubo
    Deborah P Kolodji
    ghost cave i brush aside the dharma of a lobster god

  • #2
    Interesting - there’s kind of an asynchronous rhythm going on which adds to the content. I agree that this would be an interesting form to explore. Extrapolating - perhaps also one-line tanka alternating with monoku? I wonder if that would keep the unique rhythm?


    • #3
      This is good. I wonder if a rengay structure would suit like tanka haiku tanka tanka haiku tanka.


      • Clayton Beach
        Clayton Beach commented
        Editing a comment
        I was thinking that, actually. Send me a tanka starter and we’ll try it out. 😅