WD Poetic Form Challenge: Somonka

It’s time for another poetic form challenge. If you’re wondering where the lai results are, don’t worry: I’m nearly finished with them, and they should be posted later this week.

As regular blog readers may have guessed, we’ll be writing the somonka this time around. It’s traditionally a collaborative poem–so I’ll be giving extra credit to poets who “buddy up” with someone to work on these. Of course, I’ll also accept solo written somonkas.

The somonka is comprised of two tankas written as love letters–each tanka from one of two lovers. Click here to read the post on somonkas (which also links to rules on the tanka).

Here are the WD Poetic Form Challenge guidelines:

  • Challenge is free. There is no entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline: 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on November 10, 2013.
  • Poets can enter as many somonkas as they wish. Feel free to pummel me with them.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, e-mail me at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new somonka.
  • I will only consider somonkas shared in the comments for this post. It gets too complicated trying to hunt them down elsewhere.
  • Speaking of posting, if it’s your first time commenting on this site, it might take a day or three for your comment to be manually approved by me (or another WD editor). So hang tight. If it starts to drag out or is super close to the deadline, just shoot me an e-mail to confirm receipt.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your screen name (which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker). WD has a healthy circulation, so be sure to make it easy for me to get your byline right.
  • Finally–and most importantly–have fun!


Workshop your poetry!

Get feedback on your poetry and connect with other poets serious about the craft. Plus, do it all online–so you don’t have to deal with traffic, being on time, or getting dressed. Click here to learn more.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and an experienced poetry collaborator who thinks the process is both fun and rewarding. Press 53 published his debut full-length collection of poetry Solving the World’s Problems (which has a pretty neat poetry remix challenge tied to it). He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of his five little poets (four boys and one princess) and with whom he’d like to write a series of somonkas someday. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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377 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Somonka

  1. BezBawni


    You may say I have
    not known life, you may say you’re
    too old or I’m young,
    you may just discard this note,
    but don’t throw my heart away.

    Your love surprised me.
    When you graduate I will
    retire. Only then
    do we have a chance for love.
    Will you still love me by then?


    Waiting can sometimes
    feel like a very long word,
    unless it’s worth it.
    My time is yours. Love does not
    age, because all ages love.

    We still have two years
    ‘till you graduate, enough time
    to know each other.
    I would not rush love, nor risk
    our friendship. I dare not lose you.

    a collaboration between Cynthia Page and Lucretia Amstell

  2. PressOn

    The Poet’s Lover
    by Cynthia Page and William Preston

    Your rhymes enchant my
    dreams; heat invades these limbs limp
    with desire. I burn
    to hear you recite once more
    those lines, flames you lit for me.

    The flame within me
    is a reflection of you;
    the lines that I write
    bear no fire, save what is yours.
    Come, that I may write again

  3. Cin5456

    Epic Vs Reality

    Delay not this love
    destined for epic poems.
    Gods and Goddesses
    have planned our souls’ union since
    the dawn of time. We Are Love.

    Are you Aeneas?
    Do you think me Dido’s twin?
    Forget the gods’ plans.
    Care for me as your children’s
    mother, and then make it true.

    by Cynthia Page

  4. Cin5456

    Song of Awakening

    The songs you sing fill
    my heart with wine. Your lyrics
    intoxicate this
    hungering forgotten soul.
    I did not know I was starved.

    Let my song remind
    you of the comfort you felt
    in the arms of the
    angels before you were born.
    I cherish you more than that.

  5. Linda.H

    A collaboration between Bruce Niedt and Linda Hofke

    I’ve seen more sunsets
    than you can ever conceive.
    Each one gets deeper
    red, each one dwindles later
    into the star-sprayed evening.

    Of sunsets I’ve seen
    few, but with my crayons I’ve
    drawn many, the red
    shades melting into the earth,
    uncovering tiny stars.

  6. Linda.H

    Nepeta cataria and Felis catus Somonka

    Come drink in my scent.
    Let me invade every breathe,
    every inch of you.
    I will unwrap all of your
    inhabitions, set you free.

    How your sweet fragrance
    intoxicates me, leaves me
    without control, wild,
    acting like a complete fool.
    Yet, I love you so, catnip.

  7. Mywordwall


    The wind calls your name
    I do not know what to say
    My eyes have run dry
    but I always sing your song
    while I tend to the flowers

    Your song is the dew
    refreshing my parched spirit
    in this lonely place
    may the heavens hear your voice,
    grant me deliverance

    ~ Imelda Santore

  8. BezBawni


    I cup my coffee
    as you cupped my face sometimes,
    I know it’s silly,
    but I miss your hands so much –
    they’d laugh at me if they knew.

    My hands are calloused
    from the years apart, but they
    still ache for your face,
    as the rough, white-capped sea longs
    to break upon the smooth shore.
    a collaboration between Amy Glamos and Lucretia Amstell

  9. Connie Inglis

    The Cost of Freedom

    Tiny, helpless babe
    born to me. Not me. Unique.
    Fully dependent.
    Yet, the antonym will grow;
    And I–will I let you go?

    Curled in Mother’s arms,
    content. Unquestioning trust
    I know, in your love.
    Yet, my inner self will fight
    for freedom. Will I survive?

  10. Mywordwall

    Here is mine –


    The overcast skies
    drive autumn away too soon
    I’ll hitch on its tail
    that I can leap towards spring
    where warmth never fades

    Don’t chase after spring.
    It will come to you. Seasons
    change. Be as you are.
    Even the coldest winter
    will thaw in your heart’s summer.

  11. Michelle Hed

    Clutched In Her Hand

    One more note
    just to remind you of my love,
    to say good-bye…
    I’m sorry I couldn’t stay longer
    my love will linger forever.

    If I could hold you
    so close, we become as one
    just one more time…
    No words, no tears, just your touch –
    oh god, how I miss you, just you.

  12. Amy

    A Venetian Affair

    Meet me in a poem,
    where our love is etched in ink;
    I’ll look for you in
    curling script and ardent lines
    that immortalize our lives.

    I compose my soul
    and offer it to you, oh
    siren of my heart;
    you came and went as a flame,
    searing poetry in me.

    Amy Glamos

  13. Amy

    Phantom Dance

    I left you a note
    between the paper and bills
    weeks ago, or so
    it seems. Has it really been
    so long since we danced as one?

    Sifting through the mail,
    your note brought phantom kisses
    to my lips; I tried
    to remember the last time
    I felt your hand on my waist.

    Amy Glamos

  14. Margie Fuston

    Looking for Home

    I can see your face
    in the contours of our sheets,
    the cream in my tea,
    on every soldier running
    into their family’s arms.

    I try to see yours
    in the swirls of desert sand,
    behind my closed eyes,
    but not in the dead faces.
    Sometimes I cannot see you.


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