WD Poetic Form Challenge: Tanka

I know it’s crazy to have a challenge in the middle of a challenge, but that’s how I roll sometimes. Why not have a challenge in which the winning poet would be featured in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine? Why not, indeed.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the challenge is to write a tanka, which is a Japanese form poem closely related to haiku. The tanka is a 5-line poem that generally contains 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second, 5 syllables in the third, 7 syllables in the fourth, and 7 syllables in the fifth, or:


Titles are not required. Neither are rhymes. As with haiku, images are welcome, but overall the rules are much more relaxed.

To participate, write your tanka and paste them in the comments below. You may enter as many tanka as you wish, though they should be previously unpublished (and no, I don’t count your blog or private forums as published if you don’t). After the deadline passes, I’ll gather up the tanka in the comments and go through them to pick a winner.

The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday (4/15/12). So you don’t have much time. Of course, the good news is that you only need to write 31 syllables per tanka.

Have fun! And leave any questions in the comments below.


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400 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Tanka

  1. Jamal Abboud


    Ah, be patient and breathe,
    Thy death will bring about bitter fears;
    Spring is masked by tears,
    How can I convince you to survive,
    My humble innocent rosy dreams.

  2. Mike Bayles

    Two Tanka

    soft light through window
    wakes with a sparrow’s calling
    gentle morning song
    eases me from the night’s dreams
    inviting morning to me

    darks skies call of night
    for the day to end in hush
    whispers evening
    reflections in the stillness
    promises more dreams to come

  3. Christod

    I realized I had a typo, and that the time is wrong but again…

    A history in
    a braille of petal-curled
    scars and a former
    wish to be touched into the
    flowers spread on out bed sheets

  4. JoAnn Jordan

    The world is not meant
    To be an easy place in
    Which to live your life;
    If it were there would be no
    Need for the promised Heaven.

    Everyone tries to
    Accomplish their fondest dreams
    In the time given
    But dreams only come true when
    People live with devotion.

  5. seingraham

    write me a poem
    one a day ought to do it
    pick some words with care
    then lay them on lines short or long
    and promise me verse singing songs
    one wee baby boy
    is a gift, a huge blessing
    two babies double
    the joy and much more sunshine
    filling your life to the brim
    tell me your truth love
    tell me how deep in your heart you
    hold the secrets I share
    with you alone, a love deep
    as the sea, tell me your truth
    petal pink cheek skin
    downy soft hair and azure blue
    eyes winking at me
    babies are gifts that never
    stop giving their love to all
    my love brings me gifts
    flowers and candies and scent
    my love brings me his
    undying affectionate
    self and that’s the best gift of all

  6. Michael Grove

    She was in dreamland.
    He knelt over her and kissed
    her cheek tenderly.
    She knew not of his trespass.
    He loved her like no other.

    by Michael Grove

      1. Michael Grove

        Thank You for your comment and Thank You for asking, I’m brand new to blogging and just getting set up at Blogger with “Reflected Light”. I’m the Wednesday prompt host at “Flashy Fiction”, a regular poetry contributer here at Poetic Asides and also Poetic Bloomings. Friend me on Facebook under Mike Grove where I have hundreds of my poems posted or follow me on twitter @MichaelGrove7


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