Friday, September 24, 2021

Tanka answers the Poetry Sisters

 It sounded fun when we first discussed it; find a poem published previously in one of our poetry challenges, and write a tanka in response. Tanka, you will remember, is a Japanese poetry form consisting of seven lines. In Japanese the syllable counts are in the pattern 5/7/5/7/7. It's like an extended haiku where the last two lines dig a little deeper or extend the emotional impact of the images contrasted in the first three lines. Amelia Fielden explains it well in her blog Tanka as Diary. Kelly has a great explanation of tanka on her blog here. I don't like the awkward constriction of forcing the images into those syllable counts, so I agree with her that it should really just be short/long/short/long/long, and keep it as brief as possible with really clear, crisp images that snap.

So, the Poetry Sister's poem, going back 13 years (REALLY. We've been writing together that long!) I spent some time relishing their blogs and admiring their gorgeous work.

Mary Lee joined us in our writing prompts this year, and has been sharing her delightful poems. She wrote this one about a day on the water, and it really struck me.

My kayak slides
skimming over the clouds
reflected on calm waters.
No answer for the loon
crying down the bay

Sara wrote about a beautiful tree with twisted limbs in this challenge. That tree has stayed with me.

Always seeking sun,
a tree's determined pursuit
twists toward light.
She bears vigorous pruning
having pushed aside old ghosts.

Kelly wrote a lovely triolet about the amber glow of sunlight in fall. My tanka:

Fall's first days still green -
sunlight emerald through the trees.
One brief chill shivers
and now autumn glow descends
making the cherry leaves gold.

Laura wrote brilliantly about Fall in the style of e. e. cummings. I grabbed her words because I love them so much, and twisted out a tanka.

Summer's abrupt end
drops golden from that blue sky -
a brittle scurry.
Our bright, waiting earth
pauses for snap and winter.

Liz wrote a pastoral poem in Fall of 2019, with sunflowers. That image captured me.

Fields of sunflowers
facing the way the sun shines;
a blaze of hope.
Even when the heads hang down
the seeds ripen, bent towards us.

Trisha wrote a tritina last year that was a revisiting of an older challenge. I was inspired by her words and the image she chose for it.

The plinth of Jackson
bears another; he's replaced
with empty air.
Hope rides a horse of blue breeze
and graffiti claims this space.

Tanita  wrote an etheree on the theme of her beloved California. I've only been there once, (I'm a Pennsylvania girl) and this is what I remember:

LA breakfasts were
a laugh; have a smoke or two
and Orange Juice picked
straight off your own tree,
but all the hills were burnt brown.

That was fun - responding to all my Poetry Sisters and looking back over their posts. Next month, for the last Friday Poetry in October we are going to meet the Challenge of writing Wordplay Poems, as invented by Nikki Grimes.Here is  a description she gives for the form, in an interview on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ lovely blog. (scroll down through the interview for the poem prompts). Give it a try, write your Wordplay Poem and post it on October 29th! Share it with #PoetryPals if you post to social media, too!

Take a look at what the Poetry Sisters have published on their blogs:







Mary Lee

and enjoy all the Friday Poetry goodness at Laura's blog this weekend!


laurasalas said...

Wow. Wowey wow wow. Andi, I can't believe you wrote ALL of I love the wistfulness pervading them. And something about the California one really catches my attention, maybe because it feels like a departure from your voice. I love all the contrasts here, too. My favorite line of all, though, is "Hope rides a horse of blue breeze." Stunning.

Sara said...

Wow, you really outdid yourself. Like Mary Lee, one for each of us, and each a beauty. I really think this way of responding to poetry---in poetic conversation with it---beats all analysis and commentary. We should talk this way more often. :)

Mary Lee said...

Kelly's, Laura's, and Liz's feel like they belong together in a picture book about fall!

I love that you and I chose the same poem by Sara, but our tanka's are way different!

And so fun that we both wrote one for each of the sisters!!

Linda B said...

Wow, so many images to love! I enjoyed reading through your post and love fall which feels like many of us do as I read all the posts. One phase sticks: "Our bright, waiting earth/pauses for snap and winter." We've had warm days then one night it dropped to the forties - yes, "snap"!

Susan T. said...

Wow, Andi. These are wonderful! I liked all of them, especially the one about the kayak, with its line "No answer for the loon/crying down the bay." For me, that image evokes a Japanese woodcut.

Ruth said...

Wow, since that's what everyone is saying, and you really deserve it!

Tabatha said...

Andi, well done! Some of my favorite lines include "She bears vigorous pruning/
having pushed aside old ghosts" and "Even when the heads hang down/the seeds ripen, bent towards us."

Heidi Mordhorst said...

DANG, Andi! Every one stands out, and you have a particularly strong way with those last two lines. Most gripping, as I read each one, to see if you might be struck by one less lovely--but no! Thank you for all these.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thank you all for these lovely comments. I had so much fun with this challenge. I agree with Sara, we should do this more often!

Jone said...

Congrats on writing together for 13 years.! I love each of these. These lines really spoke to me:
"sunlight emerald through the trees.
One brief chill shivers
and now autumn glow descends"

Elisabeth said...

Every one of these is worth of it's own post - such wonderful responses to the inspiration you found. I love how visceral the end of summer/arrival of autumn is in these lines:
"Summer's abrupt end
drops golden from that blue sky -"

tanita✿davis said...

I had to laugh at the insouciant "smoke or two" and the hills burnt brown -- such contrasts in your California experience, and yet, they're part of the whole, aren't they? You kind of mimic each of the poets in your responses.