Poetic Form: Tanka

The tanka (or waka) is a classical Japanese poetic form, typically consisting of five lines or units (lines in the Romanized forms). Each line or unit has a specific number of syllables, creating a total pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.

Much like a haiku, the form appears simple. However, brevity is often easier to digest than it is to create. Moreover, the goal of any tanka is to create a specific picture and mood within the reader’s mindscape. The previous poem I wrote for the blog was a tanka. If you feel up to it, give it a try in the comments or link me to your own tankas. I’d love to read my reader’s works.

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